LTSS Newsletter—April 2020

Funding opportunities, news, events, and resources for tribal and urban Indian LTSS programs
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Upcoming webinar: COVID-19 in Indian Country
Wednesday, April 22

Long-Term Services and Supports

Technical assistance for culturally competent care
April 2020
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COVID-19 and LTSS in Indian Country

Below are tips for long-term services and supports (LTSS) facilities and home-based care providers to help protect elders and people with disabilities during COVID-19.

Long-term care facilities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued recommendations that aim to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. CDC resources include:


Home-based care

To help everyone stay healthy, it's important for caregivers to:

  • wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • try not to touch your face
  • keep commonly touched surfaces clean, like doorknobs and hard-backed chairs

Often, and especially in Indian Country, home-based caregivers are family members who live with the person they are caring for. Learn more about COVID-19 safety for multigenerational families.

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    Stay up to date
    Information for Indian Country:
    The National Indian Health Board launched a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 information and resources.
The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) is holding weekly calls with Title VI grantees to talk about COVID-19. Visit the NICOA COVID-19 page to learn how to join. NICOA also posts regular COVID-19 updates on the page.
Tribal long-term care facilities across Indian Country provide culturally appropriate LTSS for tribal people. See a report from CMS on how tribal long-term care facilities incorporate culturally appropriate care into their emergency preparedness planning.
General information:

Dementia and COVID-19

An elder washing his hands

While dementia isn't believed to increase a person's risk for getting COVID-19, someone with dementia may be more likely to forget to wash their hands, which could increase their risk.

To help them remember, caregivers can place signs near sinks and offer hand sanitizer as an alternative for those who have difficulty washing their hands.

Often, increased confusion is an early sign that a person with dementia is getting sick. Caregivers of people with dementia should call a health care provider if the person suddenly seems more confused than usual. Learn more about caregiving for people with dementia during COVID-19.

Staying active while social distancing

A preview of the National Institute on Aging infographic titled 'Diet and Exercise: Choices Today for a Healthier Tomorrow.' It reads, 'Eating a healthy diet and exercising often can help control or delay health issues associated with aging, like high blood pressure and diabetes. Set short-term goals to achieve and maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine.'

A shelter-in-place order doesn't mean activities to keep elders healthy should stop. As an infographic from the National Institute on Aging notes, choosing healthy foods and staying active can help elders stay healthy. Currently, there are a few extra precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Elders should still aim for 30 minutes of daily exercise, but now they should ensure they stay at least 6 feet apart from others. To create this distance, elders may need to change the time or locations of walks or exercise at home through a video rather than attending a class.

Meals should contain fruits, veggies, and whole-grains. It's especially important now to properly wash foods and keep the food preparation area clean.

The role of blood pressure in risk for dementia

In addition to supporting heart health, taking medication to control high blood pressure can also help reduce the risk of dementia, according to recent research from the National Institutes of Health. This study highlights one of many reasons why it's important to monitor blood pressure and address high blood pressure early.

Upcoming webinar

COVID-19 in Indian Country: Considerations and Resources for LTSS

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Learn about the impact of COVID-19 among tribes and AI/AN communities and understand the effects on long-term care settings. This webinar will review COVID-19 considerations for LTSS providers in Indian Country and discuss related tools and resources.

Crystal Tetrick

Crystal Tetrick, MPH
Vice President for Health Systems and Policy
Kauffman & Associates, Inc.

Please note your location's call-in time:

8 a.m. Hawaii
10 a.m. Alaska
11 a.m. Pacific
11 a.m. Arizona
12 p.m. Mountain
1 p.m. Central
2 p.m. Eastern

Caregiver's corner

Caregiving from afar

What can long-distance caregivers do to support the mental and emotional health of the person they care for during the quarantine? U.S. News & World Report has a few suggestions for keeping up care while keeping your distance.

  • Find ways to connect with them through technology. From FaceTime to Facebook, use tech advances to your advantage.
  • Support their interests. If they love to read, send them books (or audiobooks for those with sight issues).
  • Handle the small things. There are options for having groceries delivered with no contact. Helping with the errands can help protect them from exposure.
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Join the conversation on LinkedIn
Want to learn more about or discuss LTSS in Indian Country? Looking to connect with others working in the same field? Join the Tribal Affairs Group on LinkedIn. If you are a member of the group already, you can access it by clicking the group name under Groups on the left side of your LinkedIn landing page.
About the TA Center

The LTSS Technical Assistance Center provides a roadmap for American Indian and Alaska Native communities who are planning and implementing LTSS programs to care for their elders and people with disabilities.

About the Newsletter

Long-Term Services and Supports Solutions is published monthly by the CMS Division of Tribal Affairs to share information, funding opportunities, and resources with LTSS planners, tribal leaders, and supporters.

Send Us Your News

Do you have news to share about LTSS in Indian Country? Send it to, and we'll include it in a newsletter. Contact us with other comments or feedback, too.

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