Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $147,909)
The Creating a Tribal Elder Safety Net to Address Wandering Project (hereafter the Tribal Elder Safety Net Project) will seek to prevent wandering among tribal elders living with Alzheimer's disease and related forms of dementia (ADRD), develop a robust wandering search and rescue support strategy in the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (PLPT) reservation, and create a replication guide to benefit tribes nationwide. The PLPT's reservation is a rural, desert area with persistently high poverty levels located in Washoe, Lyon, and Storey Counties in Northern Nevada. The International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA2) and the Pyramid Lake Numaga Senior Center will work in partnership to develop person-centered and culturally appropriate wandering prevention activities and search and rescue support strategies.
The project will serve tribal elders, especially those living with ADRD, their family caregivers, tribal police and first responders, and members of the PLPT. IA2 will leverage its experience developing culturally appropriate dementia-related programming, and the Pyramid Lake Numaga Senior Center will build upon its nationally recognized dementia-friendly efforts to conduct a culturally appropriate and person-centered project. The Tribal Elder Safety Net Project is the first of its kind for Indian country and will serve as a pilot initiative for tribal communities. The pilot includes the development of educational materials informed by tribal community members, a community and expert driven training series, creation of missing person protocols, creating an electronic database of elder profiles, a mock search, development of a Tribal Wandering Prevention Advisory Committee, preparations for project sustainability, and development of resources and guides for wider distribution.
The Numaga Senior Center team will host the pilot training series in-person, as public health guidance allows. The Numaga Senior Center will also work individually with tribal elders living with ADRD and their caregivers to develop person-directed plans to minimize the risk of wandering and create a support strategy if the person living with ADRD does wander. The training's primary goal and the individualized wandering plans are to ensure that if an elder living with ADRD does wander, they can be found within a critical 24-hour period. The Numaga Senior Center team is uniquely poised to conduct these individualized person-centered plans due to their dementia-friendly practices and familiarity with available resources and support in the community.