Working for our elders since 1976

How the National indian council on aging supports elders.

As our tribal nations and the United States population continue to age, it is important for families, friends, employers and all units of government to be aware of available community resources available. A national resource that is available to tribal communities is the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA). 

In 1976, NICOA was established as a non-profit organization to work closely with tribal nations to address the needs and requests of their elders. NICOA’s mission is to advocate for improved comprehensive health, social services and economic wellbeing of American Indian and Alaskan Native elders.

To reach a broad scope of tribal nations, NICOA is governed by a 13-member board of directors composed of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) elders, representing each of the 12 Bureau of Indian Affairs regions, and a representative of the National Association of Title VI Grantees. According to NICOA, their five objectives include:

  • Enhance communications and cooperation with community service providers and advocate for American Indian and Alaska Native elders.
  • Provide information and technical assistance for American Indian/Alaska Native communities to improve health care, social services and the economic wellbeing of American Indian/Alaska Native elders. 
  • Network with appropriate agencies to maximize resources, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the service delivery systems for elders.
  • Provide information, recommendations, reports and expert testimony requested by Tribal Nations and the U.S. Congress.
  • Provide a clearinghouse for information on issues affecting American Indian and Alaska Native elders.

In order to address these areas, NICOA supports programs in the areas of diabetes education, elder health issues, elder abuse, veterans affairs and many more. These programs are for tribal nations and community organizations to utilize with their patients and community members.

Michigan State University Extension collaborates with the Geriatric Education Center of Michigan Home (GECM) located within the MSU College of Human Medicine to offer training to Michigan Tribal Nations health clinics. Through this effort, the GECM Northern Lower Michigan team in the past has offered training at the NICOA Biennial Conference in Traverse City, Mich.

For more information please visit the NICOA website at or call (505) 292-2001.

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