The National Indian Council on Aging’s (NICOA) Technical Assistance and Resource Center (TARC) provides outreach and education on the unique needs of American Indian and Alaska Native elders and caregivers to Native elders, the Aging Network, and Native focused organizations and other diverse aging groups.
The older American Indian and Alaska Native population is growing as is the increased number of Natives with disabilities. As a result, there is an increased need for services to support the population. Currently services and supports for Native elders are fragmented, disjointed, and disorganized.
Many of the services are provided by organizations outside of the tribal community and require state approvals. Federal/state program options are dependent on the state/tribal relationship. State systems and plans do not always prioritize cultural sensitivity and providers have limited understanding of cultural norms and preferences.
In 2020, the Administration for Community Living / Administration on Aging funded the TARC to provide targeted technical assistance to the aging services network, and other relevant stakeholders and consumers, so as to better meet the needs of elders from diverse communities. The objectives were:
- To educate national, regional, state, and local service providers on the protocol for collaborating with tribes.
- To increase the skill level of service providers on needs, services, and resources for Native elders with disabilities.
- To expand NICOA’s existing electronic resources available to tribes, Native and other service organizations, caregivers, and volunteers on service provisions for Native elders.
The goal of this project is to increase services to American Indian people by increasing the awareness and sensitivity of elder service providers and by providing training and technical assistance on the needs of Native elders.
We offer electronic and direct contact training modules for non-Native service providers on working with tribes and Native elders. Our trainings focus on:
- Understanding the history and traditions of American Indian and Alaska Native elders
- Best practices for success in Indian Country
- Finding creative ways to support and advocate alongside our elders
- Learning more about Native people living with disabilities and the resources available to them
If you are interested in receiving one of our trainings, please contact us to discuss your training needs.
“Caring for Our Wisdom-Keepers: Supporting Native Elders” lists the barriers to elder wellness and includes personal quotes from elders themselves. It discusses the importance of cultural competency and gives community and traditional solutions to advocate and support our elders. This training will deepen one’s understanding of the needs of our elders and help participants learn how to meet those needs and advocate by their side.
In “Caring for Native Elders: Best Practices,” participants will learn about the history of Native communities post-colonization and how it impacts health outcomes. In this training, participants will gain the skills to identify, affirm, and effectively serve Native elders with a focus on building long-term relationships. It offers the opportunity to review successful community models, role play and apply your learning through discussion.
In “Caring for Native Elders: History & Cultural Traditions,” participants will learn to identify Native cultural traditions, as well as how to utilize key resources to incorporate Native traditions into your practice or organizational approach. They will gain an understanding of the history of Native peoples of the North American continent. Contact us to learn the skills and best practices to serve Native elders more effectively in your community.
NICOA’s TARC houses new materials and resources on the NICOA website. This clearinghouse offers reliable information for Native elders and those interested in supporting them.