This article originally appeared on the NICOA blog.
Every year, August 21st is celebrated as National Senior Citizens’ Day, a day where we recognize our Elders and the contributions they have made throughout their lives. The day was created in 1988 and President Ronald Reagan stated, “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to.... Read More
July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and as we have previously shared mental illness affects one in five adults in America and is a leading cause of disability. Unfortunately, almost two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek help, and racial and ethnic groups are even less likely to get help.
Furthermore, studies have shown that mental health is a major concern for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Specifically, AI/ANs have a higher prevalence of a variety of mental health conditions, experience PTSD twice as often as the general population, and are known to experience serious psychological distress 1.5 times more than the general population.
June is LGBT Pride Month and although there are Two Spirit and LGBT members within Native communities, they are often apprehensive to come out. As the Indigenous Ways of Knowing Program at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling notes, family is important within Tribal communities, and “too often, rejection of Two Spirit / LGBT community members by families, peers, and the community breaks families apart and tears at the social fabric of our community.”
May is Older Americans Month! This year, the theme is Engage at Every Age, which emphasizes that you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.
How to Participate in Older Americans Month:
Join the ACL and AoA in the Older Americans Month Selfie Challenge! They want to see how you’re engaging. Simply take a selfie (or have someone take your photo) and tweet it with the hashtag #OAM18.... Read More
During April and early May, the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) will be sharing a variety of financial information and resources to celebrate Money Smart Week. One very important part of being money smart, especially for our Elders, is making sure financial needs for retirement are addressed. Fortunately, this week is the perfect time to evaluate your retirement plan, as it is National Retirement Planning Week.
National Retirement Planning Week is a national effort to help consumers focus on their financial needs in retirement. The goal is to promote the importance of comprehensive retirement planning. For many,.... Read More
Every year, March 20th is designated as National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. As the US Department of Health and Human Services states, the day is “a time to recognize the impact of HIV/AIDS on American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.”
What are HIV and AIDS? HIV is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. Opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal.... Read More
Valentine’s Day is often known as a consumer holiday focused on couples. However, at the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA), we want to reinvent the holiday and use it as a way to celebrate the love everyone has for their Elders.
“Native American values and cultures believe that everything and everyone is connected. What we do to others and to the planet we do to ourselves. Practicing love, honor, gratitude and respect daily will unify us with the planet, its creatures and the Great Spirit.” Today, we encourage everyone to practice love, honor, and gratitude for our Elders, and continue to practice it daily.
How Can You Show Love, Honor, and Gratitude for.... Read More
The Importance of Sleep for Our Elders – Winter Edition
The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) Executive Director Randella Bluehouse states, “NICOA encourages our Elders to sleep well and be healthy this winter season, and throughout the year.” Learning the causes of sleep deprivation, especially in the winter, and how to overcome them are important steps for our Elders to take in order to get a good night’s rest and increase their overall physical wellbeing.
Why Sleep Is Important
Sleep deprivation, a lack of sleep that affects a person’s performance when awake, includes symptoms such as having trouble staying awake during daily activities and the need for caffeine.... Read More
NEW Your Money, Your Goals Train the Trainer Webinars
In November, the National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. (NICOA) is hosting two FREE online webinars that will teach attendees how to become trainers of a financial empowerment program called Your Money, Your Goals. The program is from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and focuses on helping people to reach their financial goals, bring cash flow budgets into balance, order and fix credit reports, reduce debt, and avoid financial tricks and traps.
NICOA will bring a unique perspective to this program by providing Your Money, Your Goals through the lens of Native culture and traditions, focusing specifically on how to reach and provide culturally appropriate examples and training for American Indian and Alaska Natives. Attendees will also get PDFs.... Read More
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and Social Health
One aspect of healthy aging that may be overlooked is social health. Although the importance of friends and family to our health is well understood by American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), in today’s culture many Elders are separated from their communities and therefore from some of this tradition. These connections with our families and friends are incredibly important to our health and wellbeing as Elders.
As the Center for Advancing Health states, “Staying connected to other people through a wide variety of social activities can yield important health consequences as you age… a new study that found that older adults who maintain high levels of.... Read More
Celebrating NICOA American Indian and Alaska Native Elders’ Day
The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) is closed today, September 21st, in observance and celebration of NICOA American Indian and Alaska Native Elders’ Day. This day is important to Indian Country because September 21, 1976 is recognized as the day that NICOA was founded by Tribal Leaders, community advocates, and American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Elders.
How It All Started
The first National Indian Conference on Aging was sponsored by the National Tribal Chairman’s Association (NTCA) in Phoenix, Arizona on June 15-17, 1976. Close to 1,500 AI/AN.... Read More
Your Money, Your Goals – Overcoming Barriers Through Financial Empowerment
Finances can be overwhelming for many people, and a variety of factors can increase financial challenges, especially for Elders.
Economic barriers are a significant challenge for many who already feel that finances are overwhelming, and these barriers in turn can create additional challenges, often related to health.
Low-income households, especially people that live and work in areas where there is a lack of employment or educational resources (which disproportionately include racial and ethnic minorities), often experience a lack of access to healthy lifestyle options. Read More