In 2013, American Indians and Alaska Natives had the highest poverty rate of any group — 29.2 percent as opposed to the nation as a whole at 15.9 percent — according to the United States Census Bureau. Projected poverty rates for American Indians and Alaska Native elders in 2030 are 10.9 percent, more than twice the rest of the total population, which is projected to be 4.7 percent.
The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) is grant funded to serve as a partner in the National Consortium on Aging Resources for Seniors’ Equity. The goals of the Elder Equity program are to financially empower American Indian and Alaska Native elders by raising awareness of elder abuse, financial exploitation, scams and fraud, as well as bringing American Indian and Alaska Native elder concerns to the aging network and other interested stakeholders.
The consortium was established by the Administration for Community Living in 2012 and is composed of five national minority aging organization partners, each of whom represents a major racial and ethnic minority elder population: the National Association for Hispanic Elderly, the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA), the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging and NICOA. The consortium works as an interconnected resource center to decrease the prevalence of disparities among racial and ethnic minority and LGBTQ elders, their families and caregivers, by providing technical assistance to the Aging Network.
The consortium body provide insights and techniques to the Aging Network about effective outreach and meaningful involvement with a person-centered approach in serving diverse elders. The consortium is developing a comprehensive body of culturally relevant technical assistance that can be tailored to meet the service delivery needs of Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander, African American, LGBTQ and American Indian and Alaska Native elders.
NICOA is also a member of the Diverse Elders Coalition; partnering with four other national aging organizations — NAPCA, National Hispanic Council on Aging, Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center — to advocate for policies and programs that improve aging in our communities as racially and ethnically diverse people. NICOA works in partnership with National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) to ensure that the voices and concerns of elders are represented and supported at the national level. The NICOA board chairman serves as the chairman of the NCAI Elder Committee.
NICOA integrates culturally relevant training and technical assistance. This training and technical assistance highlights barriers to services that all American Indian and Alaska Native elders face and strategies and tools for overcoming those barriers.