Elders are deeply honored in many indigenous cultures. In the U.S., they also often face unique stresses, some passed down through generations. Many Native American older adults witnessed grief and intense racism as well as the loss of their ancestral lands and cultural practices. This can weigh on them throughout their lives and especially as they age.

Still, the ties that bind an indigenous community can do a lot to support them through the aging process, says Blythe Winchester, MD, director of geriatric services for Cherokee Indian Hospital in Cherokee, NC, and a member of the Eastern Band of the…


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