“Resilience for Tomorrow… Together,” the American Indian Elders Conference hosted by the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) will unfold in Reno, Nevada, at the Nugget Casino and Resort August 1-6, 2021.
“This theme couldn’t be more fitting given the challenges that Indian Country has faced this past year. Particularly the devastating loss of so many elders,” said Dave Baldridge, International Association for Indigenous Aging’s (IA2) executive director and board member.
“IA2 is excited to announce partnerships with Dr. J. Neil Henderson, the National Resource Center for Native American Aging (NRCNAA), and Dr. Jennifer Carson from the University of Nevada, Reno, to bring multiple training opportunities for elder advocates, community health representatives, and elders to the conference.”
NICOA hopes to bring nearly 1,000 American Indian and Alaska Native elders, caregivers, stakeholders, aging network providers, elected tribal representatives, and various community organizations together at the event. As one of the nation’s first conferences to meet in person since COVID-19, “we heard loud and clear from our members that it is time to pick up and move forward. They told us it is critical for this gathering to take place. Now more than ever, we need to highlight the needs and work to address issues facing Native elders,” said NICOA Executive Director Larry Curley.
IA2 will host multiple trainings and listening sessions with the support of grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation. In addition, IA2 will offer up to 25 travel scholarships to help staff who would otherwise be unable to afford to attend the trainings. Sessions include:
- Savvy Caregiver for Indian Country Program Leader Training (3-day training; dementia-specific)
- Native Elder Caregiver Curriculum Training for Professionals (1-day training; not dementia-specific)
- Dementia Friends Champion workshop (4-hour trainings on new culturally adapted content)
- Dementia wandering session
- Daily listening sessions for participants to discuss community needs for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia information resources
“I am so excited to work with IA2 as the training lead on the cultural adaptation and update to the Dementia Friends USA community session training content,” said Dr. Jennifer Carson of the University of Nevada Reno. “We have had the honor of offering community information sessions using the original Dementia Friends training materials to more than 1,300 people across Nevada. We have also trained several Nevada tribal members as Champions who are offering information sessions in their communities. Dementia Friends is a program that gets the word out, and it works,” according to Carson.
IA2 has signed on as a national licensee for the Dementia Friends program. This license allows tribes, urban Indian health organizations, and Alaska Native communities to receive training and affiliate with IA2 versus non-Native leads in their state.
The NICOA conference will also include sessions on American Indian politics and legislation, health, safety, elder abuse, caregiving, financial management, employment, retirement, and the Older Americans Act. The conference offers workshops and training for elders, caregivers, and professionals working with elders. Favorite conference events include the Native elder’s fashion show, Veteran’s luncheon, and the closing banquet. NICOA also gathers input from voting members to help resolve various aging policy agendas in Washington, D.C.
“This conference provides a great opportunity for us to lift up the voices of Native elders from across the nation. It will help address our goal of increasing awareness and education about Alzheimer’s and dementia and the needs of caregivers,” says Baldridge, “and work towards growth and positive change for American Indian and Alaska Native communities.”
Click here to register for the conference’s IA2 training sessions and apply for training scholarships for the Native Elder Caregiver Curriculum or Savvy Caregiver for Indian Country Program Leader Training.