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Caregiving in Indian Country

Posted By Angela On May 7, 2009 @ 7:35 pm In Resources | Comments Disabled

This recently published brief, “Caregiving in Indian Country: Tribes Supporting Family Traditions“,  by the CDC talks about disparities in Indian Country.

Below is an excerpt from the 24 page brief. To read more, download the brief below.

Family members provide an estimated 90% of long-term care in Indian country (IOM, 2008), yet there has been little research about these caregivers, the people they care for, or their need for assistance and support. Taking care of an elder is a continuation of an ancient custom of extended family and lifelong care for family. But that tradition may now be colliding with new realities as more Native people live off their tribe’s reservation, have more chronic health problems such as diabetes and obesity, and are less connected with tribal traditions and supports. Those factors are compounded by chronic and persistent poverty among American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) people. The poverty rate for AI/ANs (25.3%) is double that for the nation as a whole (12.7%), according to 2007 Census data.


In addition, caregiving terminology is often unfamiliar in Indian country, where people often do not identify themselves as “caregivers,” do not seek “services,” and think of “long-term care” as nursing homes—something to be avoided. Using these poorly understood concepts without explaining them can sometimes become a barrier that keeps families from obtaining the assistance they need.



Citation: National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, and Health Benefits ABCs (2009).  Caregiving in Indian Country:  Tribes Supporting Family Traditions.  Atlanta, GA:


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