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American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Program
The Administration on Aging (AoA) advocates for older American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. AoA coordinates activities with other federal departments and agencies, administers grants, and collects and disseminates information related to the problems of older Native Americans.
Grants to Native Americans
Under Title VI of the Older Americans Act, grant awards are made directly to tribal and native organizations representing Native American Indian, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian organizations to provide supportive and nutrition services, including congregate and home-delivered meals. In 1999, a total of $18,475,000 was awarded to 225 tribal organizations.
Nutrition services are a major component of tribal Title VI programs. Native elders receive nearly three million congregate and home-delivered meals annually. Most sites provide hot congregate meals four to five times a week. Home-delivered meals are delivered five times a week for elders who generally are in poorer health, are more functionally impaired, get out of their homes less often, and need in-home supportive services.
Most programs provide modified diets for diabetics, or others who might be on low-fat, low-cholesterol, and low-sodium diets. Several programs provide special nutrition services such as meals for homeless older persons, an evening meal option for home-delivered meal participants, and weekend home-delivered meals.
In addition to providing meals, nutrition education, screening, and counseling, Title VI programs are important resources for social interaction and supportive services. For example, congregate meal programs provide Native elders with important opportunities to meet with friends, participate in recreation and other activities, and take trips to other elder programs or state and national meetings. Other vital supportive services can include outreach, family support, legal assistance, and transportation to meal sites, doctor’s appointments, and grocery shopping. Most programs offer health-related services, such as podiatry screening and blood pressure monitoring.
National Resource Center
Since 1994 AoA has awarded grants to two universities to establish National Resource Centers for Older Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. These Resource Centers provide culturally competent health care, community-based long term care, and related services. They serve as the focal points for developing and sharing technical information and expertise for Native American Indian organizations, Native American communities, educational institutions, and professionals working with elders.
Native Elder Health Care Resource Center, University of Colorado
The Native Elder Health Care Resource Center at the University of Colorado is developing a series of educational modules addressing some of the most prevalent and disabling illnesses which afflict elders. Each module emphasizes the social and cultural context related to the epidemiology, etiology, assessment, treatment, and prevention of a specific health problem. Completed modules include, “Diabetes Mellitus (Type II) in American Indian/Alaska Native Elders: Cultural Aspects of Care” and “Cancer Among Elder Native Americans.” Other modules being developed include depression and alcohol abuse and dependence. More information about the Center is available on the web at http://www.uchsc.edu/sm/nehcrc.
National Resource Center on Native American Aging, University of North Dakota
A culturally sensitive staff and national steering committee govern the National Resource Center on Native American Aging at the University of North Dakota. The resource center provides education, training, technical assistance, and research. It also assists in developing community-based solutions to improve the quality of life and the delivery of related support services to the Native elderly population. More information about the Center is available on the web at: http://www.und.nodak.edu/dept/nrcnaa.
The Federal Interagency Task Force on Older Indians
The Federal Interagency Task Force on Older Indians includes representatives of federal departments and agencies who work to improve services to older American Indians. Task Force members focus on three areas of concern: health, transportation, and data. The Task Force recommends ways to improve interagency collaboration, enhance services, and identify problems or barriers that prevent or diminish collaboration. Members include:
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration on Aging
Administration for Native Americans
Health Resources and Services Administration
Health Care Financing Administration
Indian Health Service
Office of Minority Health
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Education
Department of Housing
Department of the Interior
Department of Labor
Department of Transportation
Department of Veterans Affairs
Social Security Administration
Working in close partnership with its sister agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration on Aging provides leadership, technical assistance, and support to the national aging network of 57 State Units on Aging, 655 Area Agencies on Aging, 225 Tribal and native organizations representing 300 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal organizations and 2 organizations serving Native Hawaiians, plus thousands of service providers, adult care centers, caregivers, and volunteers.
For more information about the Administration on Aging, please contact:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC 20201
Fax: (202) 401-7620
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Hypertext by Saadia Greenberg