To bring together our members, aging advocates, caregivers, and tribal representatives working in the aging field, the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) hosts a biennial conference to offer support, resources, the latest research, tools and camaraderie for Native elders across the United States.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the biennial conference was postponed in 2020 but a convening of more than 968 paid conference registrants attended the 23rd conference on aging in Indian Country in August 2021. To embody these difficult times, “Resilience for Tomorrow…Together” was chosen as the theme of the American Indian Elders Conference, held in Reno, Nevada.
Keynote speakers from federal, state and tribal programs and agencies were present to provide program updates and listen to the aging needs of American Indian and Alaska Native elders. Symposium topics included “Role of Tribal Leaders in Reaffirming the Value of Elders In Preserving Tribal Cultures,” “Becoming an Elder: Tribal Perspective on Aging in Indian Country,” “Native American Veterans: Issues and Concerns as They Age,” “Future Elders: Perspectives on Aging from the Youth,” and “The Aging Network: Challenges & Opportunities in the Next Decade.”
Informational workshops were provided by service providers and aging network professionals with experience in providing services to Native elders. Workshop sessions included caregiver support, elder abuse prevention, health, nutrition, transportation, disease prevention, long-term services and supports, employment and training, financial assistance and more.
Our partner, IA2, the International Association for Indigenous Aging, was a prominent presence at our conference. They estimate to have reached more than 296 folks and talked with 49 elders, caregivers, and advocates during multiple listening sessions. They officially announced and debuted their new “Dementia Friends for American Indians and Alaska Native Communities”, and trained nine new “champions” from eight different tribes with the pilot content.
Check out some of our fashion show from the American Indian Elders Conference in Reno, Nevada, August 2021.
Thank you to everyone who attended NICOA’s 2021 American Indian Elders Conference!
All photographs are the property of the National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. They are not to be used in any way without the written permission of National Indian Council on Aging, Inc.