JULY 8, 2010

Senior Long Term Care Resource Conference at casino event center

   "E'MAH-KIT'S-NU-AAH" (take care of yourself) is the motto of the Nimiipuu Health Center in Lapwai which will be holding a special conference Wednesday, July 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., to help ascertain the long term health needs of Native Americans 55 and older in what is called the 2010 Senior LTC Resource Conference. 

   Any senior person, of Native American descent, from this region is welcome to attend. Interested persons from Grangeville, to Moscow, to the Clarkston/Asotin areas and in between, are all invited.

   A series of dinners held in Lapwai, Lewiston, Orofino, and Kamiah have been held previously to find out the healthcare needs and wants elders perceive. In discussions, these small groups expressed the desire to meet in a larger group, encompassing more members, to gain more feedback. That is how the idea of a conference came to be.

   Leslie Smith, R.N. and Andrianna Albert, C.N.A., sought a grant in 2008, on behalf of Nimiipuu Health to hold these meetings. With the help of grant writer Don Evans, a survey was created which was given in person, when possible, to elders. Personal interviews were conducted and recorded. That data is being compiled to help guide tribal leaders in making future healthcare decisions. The goal is to be able to present sound information to tribal counsel and to have a core group of committed individuals be able to act upon the results.

   The grants were obtained through Indian Health Services, and only 12 tribes in the U.S. have qualified to receive that assistance each year. Leslie and Andrianna were able to visit other tribes such as Umatilla, Yakima, Colville, and the Warm Springs Tribe to learn what others have been able to accomplish and get ideas.

   Some elders have expressed the desire for a nursing home on the Nez Perce Reservation, but 88 percent of people interviewed would prefer in-home care for themselves. Many times, something as simple as having help with one’s laundry allows a senior person to continue living on their own.

   The conference will be held at the Clearwater River Casino Event Center. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and prizes will be given. For more information, contact Leslie Smith at: 208-621-5000 (Ext. 2923), or visit the website at: