From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Beware of Scams Targeting Older Adults - December 8, 2015

Scams that target older people occur every day, but you can count on scammers to ramp up their efforts to prey on people’s generosity during the holiday season. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Older Americans is working to provide older consumers and their families with the tools and information they need to protect themselves from frauds and scams. Read their blog on scams that target older adults during the holidays.

Make it Local: Recipes for Alaska’s Children - December 1, 2015

Alaska Child Nutrition Programs just completed the development of a new cookbook for schools, child care centers, and Head Start agencies called Make It Local: Recipes for Alaska’s Children (PDF). The recipes all use locally grown or harvested foods, meet USDA nutritional requirements for the federal programs, and have been standardized. You may request a printed copy by contacting office assistant Jan Mays at jan.mays@alaska.gov or 907-465-8708.

New Processing Plant Prepares Traditional Alaska Native food - November 24, 2015

First it was musk ox stew. Then the Alaska nursing home served up musk ox meatloaf to its elderly Inupiat residents and their visiting family members.

The reaction at the long-term residential senior care facility was immediate. "'It was the bomb!'" is how home administrator Val Kreil recalled one young relative describing it. "You don't hear that every day about meatloaf."

The facility in Kotzebue, a commercial hub of 3,100 people in northwest Alaska, is incorporating traditional foods donated by hunters into the regular menu — a practice that's gaining interest nationally under a new federal law.  Read More.

Nursing Home Praised for Putting Native Food on Menu - November 24, 2015

Maniilaq Association’s nursing home in Alaska is earning praise from residents and their families for a new partnership that brings a taste of traditional native foods to the facility.

ACL Blog: Recognizing the Value of Respite for Caregivers - November 23, 2015

By Greg Link, Aging Services Program Specialist, Administration for Community Living

Each November, we recognize family caregivers for all they do to ensure the health, safety, and dignity of the people they care for. Family caregivers are the social and economic underpinning of America’s long-term care system. Without them, the burden of providing care likely would fall upon the formal, more costly healthcare delivery system, and many people who otherwise could remain in their homes and communities would  have to live in institutional settings. Supporting caregivers is critical—and a key part of ACL’s mission. Read more.

Alaska Dispatch News: Traditional Alaska Thanksgiving Recipes - November 21, 2015

Food writer and cookbook author John Hadamuscin once wrote the following: "There are four unbroken rules when it comes to Thanksgiving -- there must be turkey and dressing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie."

Apparently Hadamuscin has never spent a Thanksgiving in Alaska, where instead of turkey, polar bear, whale steak and pickled maktak might well be the table centerpiece.  Read more and get the recipes.

What the ACA Means for Me - November 19, 2015

A new infographic from the HHS Office of Minority Health provides important information about the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, defines eligibility for the Health Insurance Marketplace and the benefits of enrolling, and identifies where to get more information. American Indians or Alaska Natives must take certain steps to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. There are also benefits that may be available to if you’re a member of a federally recognized tribe or Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act shareholder.

Helping Clients with Medicare Open Enrollment Questions - November 9, 2015

From Justice in Aging:

Medicare’s annual open enrollment period closes on December 7. The Open Enrollment Period is the only time all year when every Medicare beneficiary can change coverage, and the options can be confusing.

Justice in Aging has created a short, easy-to-use resource (PDF) for advocates that will help even those advocates who don't know much about Medicare. It provides a list of five steps you can take and questions you can ask to best serve your low-income Medicare-eligible clients.

Justice in Aging also have a fact sheet for consumers (PDF) you can give to your clients who have Medicare, put in your waiting room, or use for outreach.

CMS Issues Final Rule for EOL Conversation Reimbursement - November 4, 2015

Excerpted from The Conversation Project November 3, 2015, e-newsletter:

On October 30, the Obama administration issued a final rule that allows Medicare to reimburse physicians for having end-of-life care conversations with patients. The final rule creates new billing codes for advance care planning as part of Medicare’s physician fee schedule. The rule will go into effect on January 1, 2016.

“We received overwhelmingly positive comments about the importance of these conversations between physicians and patients,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, the Chief Medical Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). “We know that many patients and families want to have these discussions.”

In a letter submitted to CMS as a public comment on the regulation, Harriet Warshaw, The Conversation Project’s Executive Director, emphasized why the reimbursement changes are critical for promoting end-of-life conversations and patient-centered care:

“As we speak to clinicians all over the country three reasons are given for the limited number of end of life conversations taking place: Training, Time and Payment. In our experience training will take place and time will be found IF there is payment for these critical conversations. It is for this reason that CMS’s proposed payment to clinicians is critical for moving the needle on advance care planning.”

Read more about the final rule in the NY Times.

New Mexico Tribes Meet with U.S. Administrator Greenlee to Advance Aging in Indian Country - November 3, 2015

October 21, 2015 was a remarkable day for the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA). Despite the cold and rainy weather, NICOA hosted a very important meeting to discuss New Mexico Aging in Indian country. Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging, and Cynthia LaCounte, Director of the Office of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Programs, and representing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Community Living, listened to several testimonials presented by Tribal leaders as well as Tribal and State aging services program administrators. Learn more and see photos of the visit.

National Diabetes Month Resources from CDC Division of Diabetes Translation - October 30, 2015

November is National Diabetes Month, a perfect time to remember that if you have diabetes, what you do every day has a big impact on your health and quality of life. Good blood sugar control can help prevent or delay complications, and early detection and treatment of complications can keep them from getting worse.

To help take charge of your diabetes, take these actions every day:

•  Follow a healthy eating plan by eating more fruits and vegetables and less sugar and salt.
•  Get physically active – 10 to 20 minutes a day is better than an hour once a week.
•  Take diabetes medicine as prescribed by your doctor.
•  Check your blood sugar regularly to understand and track how food, activity, and medicine affect your blood sugar levels.

And make sure you know your diabetes ABCs. By managing your ABCs, you can help lower your risk for heart attack, stroke, and other complications:

A – the AIC test, which measures average blood sugar over 2 to 3 months

B blood pressure, the force of blood flow inside blood vessels

C cholesterol, a group of blood fats that affect the risk of heart attack or stroke

S– stop smoking or don’t start

Living with diabetes is challenging, but taking good care of yourself makes a big difference in feeling your best and being your healthiest now and in the future.

For more information:

•  Take Charge of Your Diabetes (PDF)

•  Caring for Yourself with Diabetes

•  Healthy Eating and Great Recipes

•  Prevent Complications

Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Board on Helping Financial Caregivers - October 23, 2015

Millions of Americans are managing money or property for a family member or friend who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. We’ve heard from these financial caregivers about how tough it can be. So we created guides for caregivers all over the country. Read about how we are helping financial caregivers.

Because people’s powers and duties overseeing another person’s finances vary from state to state, we’ve learned that people need more than a one-size-fits-all guide. So we’re creating state-specific guides for Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Oregon and Virginia (check out the Florida and Virginia guides now). And for the other 44 states, we just released tools (PDF) to make it easy for state experts to adapt our guides for financial caregivers in their states.

Tribal Health News Items - October 7, 2015

Cynthia says, “Are you involved in discussions about the ICDBG Program for your Tribe? Funds can be used towards senior facilities, long-term care facilities, housing construction. Get involved!”

Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) Program for Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages
Grants for the development of Indian and Alaska Native communities, including new housing construction; housing rehabilitation; land acquisition to support new housing; green energy projects; mold remediation; homeownership assistance; public service facilities such as healthcare entities, child care facilities, and employment-related agencies; economic development; and microenterprise programs.

Cynthia says, “Advocate for oral health care for our tribal Elders! These statistics are horrible. Total health care is directly affected by poor oral health. No one should not be able to chew or eat because of poor teeth or no teeth!”

The Oral Health Crisis Among Native Americans
Describes use of dental health aide therapists to help alleviate the lack of access to dental services among American Indian and Alaska Native populations.

OAIANNHP Director Cynthia LaCounte Represents Tribal Aging Programs on the Surgeon General's Go4Life Walk - September 18, 2015

Justice in Aging: New 50 State Survey of Dementia Training Requirements - August 26, 2015

With more than 5 million people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, there’s a growing need for robust training  standards for health care professionals in the special needs of people with cognitive impairment. For example, though 64% of nursing home residents have dementia, only 23 states have laws prescribing training requirements for direct care staff in nursing homes and, of those, only one state requires staff to pass competency examinations. Only ten states require dementia training for law enforcement.

These are among the findings of an in-depth 50-state survey of statutes and regulations that Justice in Aging conducted with the support of the Alzheimer’s Association. We looked at dementia training requirements for professionals in a variety of health care and community settings and found wide variation among states in both the amount and the content of required training. We compiled our findings in a five-paper series, Training to Serve People with Dementia: Is our Health Care System Ready? We also presented a webinar outlining the major findings of the study and offering an initial roadmap for advocates working to address training gaps. You can view it on Justice in Aging’s Vimeo channel after August 26.

National Center on Elder Abuse New Blog Series - August 10, 2015

The National Center on Elder Abuse is proud to be producing a new series of blogs featuring expert opinions and diverse views in the field. Each month, the blogs will focus on topics brought to us by the Elder Justice Roadmap. Themes will concentrate on practice improvement, education, policy and research. The blogs will also address trending topics based on technical assistance inquiries and social media conversations. News and resources surrounding our monthly themes will be disseminated on our Facebook and Twitter pages. In addition, join us the third Thursday of every month for our Twitter chat series featuring national experts! Read the blog now!

Guidance Update on Eligibility for Title VI Services Under Title VI, Parts A and C - July 29, 2015

Title VI grantees have the option of using their Title VI, Part A and Part C funds to provide services to older eligible Indians who are not members of their Tribe but live in the proposed service area. It is the grantee’s responsibility to ensure that these individuals are not counted by more than one grantee in their application(s) and there is no duplication of services or reporting.

Federal Transit Administration Information - May 29, 2015

For fixed route service supported with Federal Transit Administration formula funds, older adults and people with disabilities who present a Medicare card get half price fares. If a Medicare card is presented during off peak hours, these individuals will not be charged more than half the peak hour fare. Learn more. (PDF)

NCEA WEAAD Blog Series (Week 7) Expanding Knowledge - May 22, 2015

Why is support of research important to the field of elder abuse? Would not scarce available resources be better spent on programs and services to address this problem?

In truth, support for both research and practice is essential to advance understanding of and response to elder abuse as a health and social problem, human rights issue, and sometimes a crime. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine thoughtfully undertaking practice without the contributions of research and vice versa. Read the full newsletter.

FEMA Mobile App Updated with New Features - May 1, 2015

FEMA launched a new feature to its free app that will enable users to receive weather alerts on severe weather happening anywhere they select in the country, even if the phone is not located in the area, making it easy to follow severe weather that may be threatening family and friends. The app also provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and Disaster Recovery Centers, and tips on how to survive natural and manmade disasters. Other key features of the app include:

•  Safety Tips: Tips on how to stay safe before, during, and after over 20 types of hazards, including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes

•  Disaster Reporter: Users can upload and share photos of damage and recovery efforts

•  Maps of Disaster Resources: Users can locate and receive driving directions to open shelters and disaster recovery centers

•  Apply for Assistance: The app provides easy access to apply for federal disaster assistance

•  Information in Spanish: The app defaults to Spanish-language content for smartphones that have Spanish set as their default language

The latest version of the FEMA app is available for free in the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices. Watch a YouTube video about the app.

National Library Services - May 1, 2015

We have just learned about a wonderful service for blind or visually impaired individuals through a national network of cooperating libraries. NLS administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. Learn more and learn where the libraries are located in your state at www.loc.gov/nls/.

Spring 2015 Edition of the National Indian Health Board’s Public Health Digest - April 21, 2015

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) invites you to learn more about the latest developments in Tribal public health, including updates on NIHB’s current projects. We also invite you to share your news items, comments or questions. Access their Spring 2015 edition.

ACL Blog Post: Toward a More Inclusive Definition of Diversity - April 1, 2015

As Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month draws to a close, it is important that we take time to reflect on the values embodied within the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000. The DD Act, as it is commonly known, ensures that people with developmental disabilities in the United States and their families have access to services and supports that promote self-determination, independence, and inclusion in their communities. Read more

ACL in the News - March 27, 2015

ACL was recently featured in two news stories about older adults and individuals with disabilities:

Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) Commissioner Aaron Bishop Visits Arizona: Commissioner Bishop visited all four Developmental Disability Act programs in Arizona and participated in the Fourth Annual African American Symposium on Disability in Phoenix.

ACL Administrator Kathy Greenlee was quoted in a story, The Invisible Older Woman. The article focuses on the exclusion of older women from data and programs, and highlights some of the global issues for older women, including poverty and increased risk for abuse.