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Clarann Weinert
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Caring for Native American Elders: Grasslands

Overview

Elder abuse is a problem of concern among Native American communities. This study is part of a larger, active program of research to develop, implement, and evaluate models for family conferences for Native American elders at risk of mistreatment. An important goal of the larger project is to develop a model that may be adapted by other Tribal communities across the US. With the goal of targeting additional and unfamiliar Tribal communities, it was important to develop a culturally appropriate means of community entry. Additional aims of this project were to obtain preliminary data identifying aspects of the Grasslands social structure, including gatekeepers, formal and informal structures and networks, and whether elder abuse is perceived by community members as a problem. The purpose of this project is to conduct the preliminary work to be able to extend the full-scale Caring for Native American Elders project to the Grasslands Reservation.

The specific aims were first to gather background and contextual information to: a) identify key community leaders, structures, networks, and strengths salient for planning and implementing the Family Care Conference (FCC) model, and b) describe the perceptions of elder abuse with regard to magnitude, forms, and current Tribal management strategies. The second major aim was to implement and evaluate up to three FCC interventions to: c) identify and address logistical and feasibility issues necessary for implementing the intervention for Grasslands elders, and d) determine the feasibility of establishing an intertribal FCC facilitator support group.

Content and process data were collected from multiple sources including guided interviews (individual and group), observation (direct and participant), and documents that could be found either in the public domain or that were project generated. Qualitative content analysis and formative and summative evaluations were used.

This project represents the fourth phase of a larger program of research to develop and implement interventions for Native American elders who are at risk of mistreatment. The information learned from the first three phases of the project, combined with this fourth phase, provided a more solid foundation to fully implement and evaluate the FCC intervention on multiple reservations. Ultimately, the intent is to develop the means to make these models available to interested Native American communities nationwide.




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