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

             

Intergenerational Programs Thrive in Rural Minnesota

by Beth Baker. This post originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Rick Ramey, 82, has always loved monarch butterflies. So when his community of Moose Lake, Minn., built a new public pavilion, he floated the idea of establishing butterfly gardens there.

“I thought this was an ideal spot, down by the river,” he said. The community embraced the idea, and before long Ramey was organizing children to plant marsh milkweed, a food source for monarchs. He now is invited to local schools to teach students about the butterfly life cycle.

Among those working alongside Ramey in planting the gardens was Sebastien Blondo, 11. “I’ve always loved butterflies and the monarch,” he said. He’s learned a lot volunteering with.... Read More

             

A Culturally Relative Approach to Outreach in Rural & Frontier Communities

by Clarissa Durán, Program Manager for the Rio Arriba County – Northern NM BEC. This article originally appeared on the website of the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

The Northern New Mexico Benefits Enrollment Center (NNM BEC) is a partnership of entities in North Central New Mexico comprised of Rio Arriba County Health and Human Services (RAC HHS) Department Senior Care Services Division, Santa Fe County Human Services Department, Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, and North Central Community Based Services (a non-profits agency in the northern frontier area of Rio Arriba County) as well as many nonprofit supporting partners.

Covering an 8,000 square mile tri-county area, the NNM BEC serves many rural.... Read More

             

Paiute Tribe Elders Navigate a Faltering Health Care System

By Debra Utacia Krol, High Country News

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

             

Native American Heritage Month – Digital Storytelling

National Native American Heritage Month pays tribute to the rich traditions of Native Americans, and one of those traditions is storytelling. For the past month, the National Indian Council On Aging (NICOA) has been sharing the most recent stories from the Native Elder Storytelling Project to help celebrate that tradition.

Click above to watch our latest videos. They can also be found on NICOA’s YouTube channel along with our first round of videos.

Native Storytelling Importance

Shannon Smith from the Native Daughters Project beautifully paints the picture of the importance of Native storytelling:

Storytelling is a diverse and powerful medium of imagery and.... 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

             

A Nursing Home for American Indian Elders Fills Cultural Needs

by Kevyn Burger. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Kathy Janis was taught to revere the elders in her Oglala Sioux Tribe.

“I was raised to consider every one of them to be a relative. Respect is instilled in us,” she said. “My parents didn’t tell it, they lived it and showed us.”

That’s why Janis prioritized the needs of her older relatives while serving on the Tribal Council. More than a decade ago, the governing body began laying the groundwork to build a nursing home specifically for the tribe’s members. An early step was visiting tribal elders who were scattered in facilities around the country.... Read More

             

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and Social Health

This post originally appeared on the NICOA blog.

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

This post originally appeared on the NICOA blog.

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 people.... Read More

             

Your Money, Your Goals – Overcoming Barriers Through Financial Empowerment

This post originally appeared on the NICOA blog.

Finances can be overwhelming for many people, and a variety of factors can increase financial challenges, especially for Elders.

Economic Barriers

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. Low-income.... Read More

             

Serving Diverse Populations: Strengthening the Aging Network’s Cultural Competency

The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) is a member of both the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) and the Elder Equity Consortium. Both entities work to provide education and outreach to the Aging Network and other stakeholders. As a result of discussions initiated by Heather Chun of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) with Amy Gotwals and Rebecca Levine from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), our Consortium partners were invited to participate in a webinar series titled Serving Diverse Populations: Strengthening the Aging Network’s Cultural Competency. Not only did we appreciate.... Read More

             

ACA Repeal Would Send Native American Uninsured Rate Soaring

by Jim McLean

The number of Native Americans without health insurance would increase sharply if Republicans in Congress succeed in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report.

The report, from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says that proposed cuts to Medicaid and to the subsidies that reduce out-of-pockets costs for low-income individuals purchasing private insurance in the ACA marketplace would jeopardize the coverage of more than 300,000 Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

The uninsured rate among Native Americans would climb by 27.4 percent in Kansas and 36.2 percent in Missouri, according to the report. Kansas is home to approximately 60,000 people who self-identify as either.... Read More

             
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