LTSS Newsletter—June 2020

Upcoming webinar: Long-term Care in Indian Country, Part 2
Wednesday, July 22

Long-Term Services and Supports

Technical assistance for culturally competent care

June 2020

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LTSS Technical Assistance Center

Visit the online LTSS TA Center for videos, best practices, toolkits, a resource library, and a step-by-step planning roadmap.

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Sharing information about dementia

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month, a time to raise awareness about dementia and related cognitive decline.

Materials about dementia you can share with elders and caregivers in your community include:

The Alzheimer’s Association also offers tips for caregivers to support the health of people with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An infographic that shows an elderly woman and lists characteristics of normal aging versus those that could be symptoms of Alzheimer's disease

An infographic from NIA on how to distinguish normal forgetfulness from cognitive decline. See the full infographic.

Dementia care in Indian Country

The CMS LTSS Technical Assistance Center offers resources that discuss dementia care and research in tribal settings, including:

Video games: More than mental stimulation

Medical professionals and caregivers alike often highlight mental exercise to help elders combat dementia. Perhaps this approach contributes to the growing trend of elders joining the video gaming community. A 2016 AARP survey noted that 38% of seniors played video games, and AARP believes that percentage has grown.

Beyond mental stimulation, seniors are finding companionship and community through gaming portals, such as Twitch. Especially in times when elders may be isolated due to the pandemic, gaming is offering elders a chance to stay socially active by connecting with virtual friends across the globe. An article from NBC News shares two elders’ stories of connection through video games.

COVID-19 information

Managing anxiety during COVID-19

Taking care of your mental health during these unprecedented times is critical to keeping up with your overall health. Everyone is different when it comes to finding relaxation, but you can start by trying and sharing seven tips from AARP to help keep anxiety levels down.

7 Ways to Cope with Anxiety during the COVID-19 Outbreak infographic, which includes limit news consumption, practice calming techniques, moving your body, connecting with loved ones, listen to music, get stuff done, find ways to laugh

Care planning for COVID-19

Advance care planning can help care providers ensure that they honor patients’ preferences if the patient becomes unable to speak for themselves. To promote culturally appropriate care, it is important that culture guides how providers approach any care planning discussions.

Resources are available to help guide COVID-19-related advance care planning discussions with nursing home residents and their families, including Managing Acute Respiratory Distress During the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF, 164 KB, 3 pp), which lists key points to cover during conversations about advance care plans.

Mental health needs of COVID-19 survivors

An article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News highlights the range of mental health needs among COVID-19 survivors discharged from hospitals to nursing homes.

Relocating to a nursing home is stressful under any circumstances. Factors that can increase a new resident’s risk for anxiety or depression after hospitalization for COVID-19 include:

  • Restricted contact with friends or family members during and after hospitalization for COVID-19
  • Recent loss of a spouse or other loved ones to COVID-19

Because of these possible circumstances, nursing homes are encouraged to offer mental health support to all COVID-19 survivors, regardless of whether they need mental health services upon admission. Ongoing support is also crucial for cognitively impaired residents who may not be able to verbalize their feelings.

Upcoming webinar

Part 2: Long-Term Care in Indian Country

Wednesday, July 22

Join us in July for Part 2 of the LTSS webinar series, “Long-term Care in Indian Country.” Members of UNITE (Uniting Nursing Homes in Tribal Excellence) will present.

Have questions for our presenters? Let us know before the webinar by emailing

Caregiver’s corner

How to get the most out of virtual appointments

Telehealth use was on the rise before the pandemic and with additional HHS funding to increase telehealth services during the pandemic, more elders will likely use it. Typically, for telehealth requests, you’ll speak to a triage nurse first, who will route your request to the appropriate provider, and the provider will call you at a set time.

To ensure providers understand concerns and the elder receives effective care, caregivers can help elders prepare for the appointment through the following steps.

  • Before speaking to the triage nurse, summarize your concerns into one or two sentences, with the most urgent symptom first, so the triage nurse can properly route you.
  • Before the doctor calls, make a list of symptoms and their changes. If there are visual symptoms, like a rash, take a photo.
  • When the appointment time arrives, make sure to answer in a quiet place and be ready to take the call at the scheduled time.
Funding opportunities

Tribal capacity building for opioid use prevention and treatment

Deadline: July 3, 2020
Apply: Building tribal provider and patient capacity for addressing opioid misuse prevention and treatment

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is providing funds for up to 6 tribes to increase their response to the health consequences of opioid misuse. Subgrantees will also serve as pilot sites for NIHB’s tribal opioid response toolkit.

Public transportation on tribal lands

Deadline: August 24, 2020
Apply: Public Transportation on Indian Reservations: Tribal Transit Program

Under this funding opportunity, the Federal Transit Administration is providing $5 million to fund programs to support tribal public transit services. Learn more at the informational webinar.

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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.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Indian Health Service Administration for Community Living