Indian Elder Desk

Indian Elder Desk networks to provide greater access to service

Interested in learning more about Indian Elder Desk?
Call 1-800-882-6262
TDD/TTY users please call 1-800-627-3529 and ask for the phone number listed above.

Indian elders face unique challenges.

According to the 1990 Census, approximately 36 percent of American Indian elders live in poverty. This is the highest rate among all minority or non-minority elders.

Long-term care is one of the major issues faced by Indian elders. Since Indian elders are members of a sovereign nation, their health care system is independent. In Minnesota, there is only one tribally-operated extended-care facility.

Limited financial resources coupled with limited awareness of resources mean American Indian elders face strong barriers to much needed services.

Minnesota Board on Aging has an Indian Elder Desk that serves American Indian elders on the state's 11 reservations and in the urban communities.

Wisdom Steps

The Indian Elder Desk focuses on:

  • Building awareness of and improved accessibility to services for American Indian Elders.
  • Training and educating American Indian Elders and their communities about aging programs. The Indian Elder Desk tries to weave a web of support for Indian Elders using a variety of resources, including national, tribal, state and regional.
  • Providing information about available Indian and non-Indian resources for the aging, including the "American Indian Elder - Community Resource Guide."
  • Partnering with American Indian communities in Minnesota developing "Wisdom Steps", a preventive health program for American Indian Elders. This program encourages elders to take simple steps to improve their health. It focuses on health screenings, health education and healthy living activities and develops model projects in each area.
    • "Medicine Talk" addresses better communication between elders and health professionals and encourages the review of traditional, prescription and over-the-counter medicine usage.
    • "Medicare in American Indian Community" provides education about Medicare and seeks to identify Medicare eligible elders and assist them with applications and enrollment in programs.
    • "We Walk Many Together" promotes participation in walking and exercise programs.
  • Other resources:

    Reservations