Department of Health and
Administration on Aging
AoA's National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month Message
American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians
What Programs and Services are Available for older American Indians,
Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians? The AoA Office for American Indian,
Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Programs is charged with serving as
an advocate on behalf of Native American elders with all departments
and agencies of the Federal Government on all Federal policies affecting
elders and an advocate with the States to promote the enhanced delivery
of services and implementation of programs to older Native Americans.
Other functions of the Office include administering and evaluating grants to
Tribes, chairing the Interagency Task Force on Older Indians, developing research
plans and conducting research on Native American aging, and collect and disseminating
information on problems experienced by Native American elders. This includes
elder abuse, long-term care, health, and other issues unique to Native Americans.
Under Title VI of the OAA, AoA awards grants directly to Tribes and Tribal
organizations and native organizations for nutrition services (including congregate
and home delivered meals), information and assistance, transportation, and
in-home supportive services. Most sites provide hot congregate meals four to
five times a week. Home-delivered meals are available for elders who are in
poorer health, are more functionally impaired, are more apt to be homebound
and in need of transportation services, or in need of in-home supportive services.
Additionally, Title VI programs are important sources for social interaction
and supportive services. Many programs provide traditional craft activities
and health promotion activities, including aerobic exercise classes, fitness
walking, and line dancing.
In 2000, as part of an amendment to the Older Americans Act, the Native American
Caregiver Support Program was established to assist caregivers of Native American
elders who are chronically ill or have disabilities.
Native American Resource Centers
The AoA is currently funding three Resource Centers for Older Indians, Alaska
Natives, and Native Hawaiians. These 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 organizations, Native American communities, educational
institutions, and professionals working with elders.
University of North Dakota: Since 1994 the AoA has funded the National Resource Center on Native American Aging, University of North Dakota. A culturally sensitive staff and national steering committee govern the Resource Center. 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. A major project of this Resource Center has been the development of an elderly needs assessment tool to assist Tribes in planning for elder care services.
University of Alaska-Anchorage: AoA funded the National Resource Center on Native American Aging at the University of Alaska-Anchorage in 2003. Initially, this Center will: 1) empower Native communities to incorporate traditional and contemporary health practices that have the potential to effectively support and treat elders within community health care systems; 2) provide technical information to promote culturally sensitive and functionally appropriate services to maintain social well-being; and 3) provide an arena for discussions about the increasing problems of elder abuse to help Native communities in developing their own plans to reduce and control occurrences.
University of Hawaii: The National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders was established in 2006 under a grant from the Administration on Aging to the University of Hawaii School of Social Work. With the nation’s largest enrollment of Native Hawaiian students, the University of Hawaii has as its mission the development and transmission of knowledge for the betterment of all Native Hawaiians. The National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders seeks to continue this commitment with a focus on improving the well-being of Native Hawaiian elders by forging stronger collaborative relationships between the University, Native Hawaiian and gerontology communities.