Health Care Impact

In the following examples, an interaction involving an older adult Alaska Native and health care worker highlights the manner in which values may impact the healthcare of Alaska Native older adult.

Show Respect to Others

When working with an older adult Alaska Native person, a health care worker may notice that the older adult person is not looking directly at the worker while he/she is talking.

  • From the perspective of the Alaska Native older adults, healthcare workers are generally held in high regard because they have a special gift of healing.
  • It is customary not to look directly at the person while listening intently to what he/she is saying.
  • The older adult Alaska Native person is silent because he/she is showing respect rather than incomprehension.

Know Who You Are

When Alaska Native introduce themselves it is often customary to share information that connects them to land, tribe, ancestors, and family. When a health care worker is interacting with an older adult Alaska Native person, the health care worker can build rapport and enhance the trust in the relationship by sharing something about him/herself, such as where he/she considers home land and a brief description of his/her ancestors.