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Statement for the Record on FY 99 Budget Request for Indian Programs by Jeanette C. Takamura
Assistant Secretary for Aging
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
February 25, 1998

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

On behalf of the Administration on Aging (AoA), I appreciate this opportunity to provide some information about our program for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian elders. Under title VI of the Older Americans Act (OAA), AoA annually awards grants to provide supportive and nutrition services for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian elders living in the title VI service areas. In 1997, grants were awarded to 220 American Indian and Alaska Native tribal organizations representing nearly 300 tribes, and one major organization serving Native Hawaiian elders. Grants for the current year will be awarded on April 1, 1998. The President's FY 1999 budget request for title VI of the Older Americans Act is approximately $18.5 million.

Nutrition services are a major component of the title VI program. In 1995 (the most recent year for which data are available), nearly three million congregate and home-delivered meals were provided to elders participating in title VI programs. In addition to meals, other nutrition services provided included nutrition education, nutrition screening and nutrition counseling.

Furthermore, nutrition program sites are used to increase social interactions among elders who might otherwise be isolated and alone. The results of the National Elderly Nutrition Evaluation study conducted in 1995 indicated that most (93 percent) of the program participants spent some time at the meal site after they had finished their meals. Many participated in recreational and other activities at the meal site.

Another major component of the title VI program is supportive services. Over three million supportive services were provided to American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian elders in 1995. This included 850 units of transportation, 680,000 units of information and assistance, 60,000 units of chore services, 50,000 units of homemaker services, and 30,000 units of health aid services. Other supportive services provided included outreach, family support and legal assistance.

Since 1994, AoA has supported cooperative agreement grants for two national Resource Centers for Older Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians (resource centers) -- one at the University of Colorado and one at the University of North Dakota. In FY 1998, these grants total approximately $750,000. The resource centers are the focal points for developing and sharing technical information and expertise to Indian organizations, title VI grantees, Native American communities, educational institutions, and professionals and paraprofessionals.

In 1995-1996, AoA and the resource centers collaborated on a study to identify the extent to which home and community based long-term care programs and resources are available in Indian communities. The survey of 108 Federally recognized tribes nationwide concluded that there is a wide disparity between the need for home and community-based services by Indian communities and the availability of these services. While emergency and acute primary health care needs are usually met, the study found that the need for mental health, home health, homemaker/personal care, home maintenance, transportation and outreach services are met only to a moderate degree. Needs for adult day care, respite care, assisted living and short-term rehabilitation services are rarely-to-never met. We are now working with other Federal agencies and tribes to address some of these issues.

In conclusion, I would like to highlight one additional initiative in which we are pleased to be involved. As a part of Executive Order 13021 - Tribal Colleges and Universities, which was signed by the President on October 19, 1996, to increase accessibility to federal resources within tribal communities, we are providing surplus computers to each tribally controlled college and university. We are also sharing information developed by the resource centers and other grantees funded by AoA to increase students' awareness the concerns related to Native American elders and the programs and services designed to meet their needs. These efforts are aimed at increasing the capacity of the tribal colleges to meet the needs of their students and communities.

Thank you.

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