American Indian and Alaska Native Elders are the heart and soul of Native communities across the United States, and indigenous traditions of dance, food, cuisine and language around the world continue to thrive. We join our member organization, the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA), in celebrating the rich heritage of the more than 500 unique tribal nations across the United States and the Elders who are preserving and passing those traditions down to future generations.This Native American Heritage Month, we’re sharing highlights from the Diverse Elders Coalition blog throughout 2018, including:
New York, NY – The Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) is the recipient of a $549,679 planning grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation to identify and address the unique needs of family caregivers in racially and ethnically diverse communities, American Indian and Alaska Native communities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) communities. “Addressing Unmet Family Caregiving Needs in Diverse Older Communities” will provide funding to the DEC to research disparities in access to linguistically and culturally competent health care and social services among those served by the coalition and develop programs that will meet those caregivers’ unique needs.
This week, the Diverse Elders Coalition will be participating in the 2018 NICOA Conference on Aging in Indian Country, learning and teaching alongside Tribal Elders, advocates, and service organizations at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, CA. The 2018 Conference — NICOA’s 21st conference since the organization was founded in 1976 — will be the second that I’ve been a part of after traveling to Niagara Falls for the 2016 event. I’m looking forward to connecting with our friends and partners at NICOA as well the 1000+ other advocates and Elders who will be in attendance.
NICOA’s conferences tend to be really special events, with a Tribal fashion show, traditional foods served at.... Read More
Advocating for Diverse Elders on Senior Citizens’ Day
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.
The 2018 National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. (NICOA) Conference on Aging in Indian Country is just two months away, and it is the only conference which focuses exclusively on American Indian and Alaska Native Elders. The biennial conference, which will bring in 1,500 to 2,000 American Indian and Alaska Native Elders from all over the country, will be held at the stunning Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California from September 10-13, 2018.
The conference is a one-of-a-kind experience for attendees, especially for American Indian and Alaska Native Elders and those in aging organizations and communities. At the conference, attendees will learn about policy issues that are critical for Elders; learn about new programs and services.... Read More
Two Spirit and LGBT Natives Are Making a Difference in Their Communities
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 Connect.... 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, retirement.... Read More
Promoting Advocacy, Collaboration, and the Value of Diverse Elders at the 2018 Aging in America Conference
This past week, all five members of the Diverse Elders Coalition attended the American Society on Aging’s annual Aging in America Conference in San Francisco, California. Staff from our member organizations were featured on dozens of panel discussions, workshops, and at events throughout the week, including our Thursday morning Symposium, “Fighting For Our Lives: Advocacy and Diverse Elders.” This powerful session highlighted the advocacy efforts of each of the Diverse Elders Coalition members, many of which were inspired by the DEC’s groundbreaking 2016 #TellACL civic engagement campaign. From that template, our member organizations developed nuanced and successful advocacy campaigns that centered the voices of their constituencies, including: