LTSS Newsletter—May 2021

Next LTSS webinar: Keeping Tribal Elders Connected – Real Stories from the Front Lines,
May 26, 2021

American Indian/Alaska Native Long-Term Services and Supports

Technical assistance for culturally competent care
May 2021
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Celebrating the strength of elders

May is Older Americans Month, a time to honor elders and their many contributions to the communities around them. This May, the theme is “Communities of Strength,” in recognition of elders’ resilience and their foundational roles within their communities.

To encourage your community to celebrate older adults this May, the Administration for Community Living offers:

A social media graphic from ACL that reads "Stronger Connected. #OlderAmericansMonth"
    Keeping tribal elders strong  

Tribal elders often hold a special role in their communities as teachers who share wisdom with younger generations to preserve traditional knowledge and lifeways.

Helping elders stay healthy and strong ensures they can continue to share the stories and teachings that strengthen their communities.

The CMS LTSS Technical Assistance Center offers numerous resources for promoting the health of tribal elders, such as:


Tribal Food Security Resources Guide

Tribal Food Security Resource Guide cover page

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the issue of food insecurity for many tribal nations, especially those within rural areas. Federal resources are available to help tribes boost their tribal food sovereignty efforts, decreasing food insecurity for their communities. Tribal Food Security Resources: A Guide for Tribal Leaders during the COVID-19 Pandemic & Recovery Period, (PDF, 2.3 MB, 6 pp) lists these resources, their intended uses, and who may take advantage of them.

Resources featured in the guide include grant opportunities, COVID-19 program waivers, and other flexibilities that may assist community leaders, including elder care providers, in efforts to improve food security.

The guide was developed by the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families and the Administration for Native Americans.

Money Follows the Person program extension

Money Follows the Person (MFP) helps move eligible residents from LTSS facilities back to their communities. Currently, 5 states participate in the MFP Tribal Initiative (TI): Minnesota, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.

MFP-TI helps tribes in these states more easily provide home- and community-based services and helps elders and people with disabilities return to their communities.

MFP Tribal Initiative logo shows a salmon, bison, bird, and eagle

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 2021 extended MFP through 2023. The policy also expanded patient eligibility, as the length-of-stay requirement to qualify for MFP was reduced to 60 days, and days spent in a skilled nursing facility now count toward that minimum.

Learn more about MFP-TI through this CMS webinar series:

Upcoming webinar

Keeping Tribal Elders Connected: Real Stories from the Front Lines

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


Join UNITE (Uniting Nursing Homes in Tribal Excellence) for a panel discussion with tribal nursing home and assisted living facility staff. Panelists will share real stories from their experiences in supporting tribal elders. They will also share promising practices for responding to social isolation among elders.

The mission of UNITE is to partner with and be a resource for tribes to improve the quality of life for tribal elders by implementing evidence-based practices and culturally relevant education and training.

Learning objectives:

Please note your
location's call-in time:

8 am Hawaii
10 am Alaska
11 am Pacific
11 am Arizona
12 pm Mountain
1 pm Central
2 pm Eastern

  • Hear promising practices for combatting social isolation among tribal elders
  • Learn how tribal nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country have kept residents connected amid the pandemic
  • Get resources on strategies to improve the quality of life for tribal elders

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

Deborah J. Dyjak, MS, BSN, RN

Deborah J. Dyjak, MS, BSN, RN
President, UNITE

Following are some of the panelists who will join the webinar.
Agnes Sweetsir  

Agnes Sweetsir
Yukon-Koyukuk Elder
Assisted Living Facility

Charissa Garcia  

Charissa Garcia
Activities Director
Archie Hendricks Sr. Skilled Nursing Facility

Samantha Bourne  

Samantha Bourne
Admission Coordinator
Oglala Sioux Lakota Nursing Home

Kelly White  

Kelly White
Social Service Director
Morning Star Care Center

Caregiver's corner

Title VI programs and brain health

A case study report by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Innovations from the Field: How Area Agencies on Aging and Title VI Programs Address Brain Health (PDF, 1.52 MB, 10 pp), describes how these programs promote brain health for caregivers, families, and older adults.

Cover of the N4A case studies report

One case study highlights Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s dementia-friendly community action program in Nevada. Acknowledging the need for dementia training, education, and awareness programming in the Pyramid Lake Paiute community, the Numaga Senior Services Program, a Title VI grantee, launched the program with support from other tribal departments. This program has led to:

  • The development of a dementia-focused advisory group, Pesa Sooname, which means “good thought”
  • The facilitation and mobilization of community-driven change using the Dementia Friendly America model and
  • A statewide Tribal Summit on Brain Health and Dementia

The report noted several similarities among the case studies. Each program connected brain health with overall physical and emotional wellbeing. Many of these programs partnered with universities for their brain health expertise, program volunteers, and data collection tools. Additionally, each program took a person-centered approach to program development and delivery.

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Upcoming events

2021 Age+Action Conference

Conference dates: June 7–10

You still have time to register for the National Council on Aging’s fully virtual Age+Action Conference. Meet others who share your commitment to ensuring elders have the resources needed to age with dignity.

Age + Action 2021 Virtual Conference, June 7-June 10

Welcome to Medicare

Event date and time: June 23, 3–7 pm Eastern

Registration is open for Welcome to Medicare, a virtual fair for people turning 65, retiring, or joining Medicare because of a disability. Experts from the State Health Insurance Assistance Program national network will cover several topics, including:

  • Who is eligible for Medicare
  • How to sign up for Medicare and avoid late enrollment penalties
  • How to navigate Medicare coverage options

Additionally, attendees will be able to visit virtual exhibits and ask questions.

National Native Harm Reduction Summit

Event date and time: July 21–23

The fully virtual National Native Harm Reduction Summit is an opportunity for behavioral health care professionals, social service providers, public health professionals, and community members to address issues related to hepatitis C, HIV, and drug use in tribal, urban Indian, and rural communities.

Summit tracks will cover innovation and mobilization, infectious disease, opioids and substance use, culture, and recovery and resilience.

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About the newsletter

American Indian/Alaska Native 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.

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