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:
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 that.... 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 to.... Read More
Paiute Tribe Elders Navigate a Faltering Health Care System
Dennis and Betty Smartt live in a neatly painted white-and-blue home on the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Reservation, on the Nevada-Oregon border. They’ve spent their entire lives here, in this small tribal community of 600 people.
The Smartts, members of the Paiute Tribe, exemplify the challenges Native elders face as they get older in remote communities with poor health care access.
At their home, Dennis’ handcrafted eagle feather headdress adorns a stand in the living room. He recently returned from a trip to Fort Bidwell, Calif., where he spoke at a traditional gathering of elders for prayer and cultural talks. That trip illustrated some of the challenges the Smartts and.... Read More