Aging in Place
New project will help Native elders stay in their homes and communities. By NIkki Massman
The tribe will own this idea, and it is built on their own identification of a need in their community.
On the last Monday of each month on the Spirit Lake Reservation near Devils Lake, North Dakota, the community hosts an Elders’ Day Out. Elders and others come together to visit, eat, and play a little bingo, all in an effort to celebrate and enhance the quality of life for their treasured elders. The Native Aging in Place Project (NAPP) follows closely that same effort of enhancing the quality of life for the Spirit Lake elders through a mission of assisting them to “age in place.” Aging in place refers to the idea that elders can stay in their homes and communities longer as they age. Often the option of moving to a long-term care (LTC) facility is not feasible because of many factors, including cost and distance to the facility from home. The need for healthcare workers, family members, and friends to train in caregiving for the elders still living at home becomes crucial. 20
NORTH DAKOTA MEDICINE Spring 2017
The newly funded Native Aging in Place Project is helping to ﬁll that need. By engaging community resources and the National Resource Center on Native American Aging’s (NRCNAA) Native Elder Caregiver Curriculum, the NAPP has launched a pilot project on the Spirit Lake reservation to build local capacity to care for the community’s elders while they remain in their homes. The Native Elder Caregiver Curriculum was developed through a collaboration with the Cankdeska Cikana Community College and input from elders and community members of the Spirit Lake Nation, and is a tool to assist family and community members in learning to care for their elders. “You often hear that it takes a village to raise a child,” said Paula Morin-Carter, PhD, program director for the NAPP and NRCNAA. “It also takes a village to care