Click the Medicine Wheel to go Back


Materials and Training for:

Promoting the Health of Elders

Training Caregivers


The Elderhealth Manual was developed after a series of meetings held across Canada and the United States. The participants of these gatherings put forward a vision in which strong circles of healthy elders would once again play a major role in the daily affairs of First Nations communities - teaching children, sharing guidance and helping the community make vital decisions.

They also agreed that the health and vitality of Aboriginal communities can be rebuilt by drawing on the strength and inspiration of traditional cultures, which offer models for healthy living which can be applied to new times and new circumstances.


The Elderhealth Manual provides an overview of the issues related to the health of First Nations elders and presents a model for wellness which promotes a balanced lifestyle for the mind, body and soul. It is easy to read and provides practical techniques and strategies to start improving health of Elders today. It is designed to be used by community workers who are serving the elders in their communities or by any groups of concerned people who want to help elders improve their health.

The Elderhealth Manual has Four Main Sections:

1. The Traditional Path; which describes the roles and experiences of First Nations elders, both traditionally and today, and discusses the cultural principles underlying the model of health used in the Manual.

2. Strategies For Promoting the Health of Elders; which describes strategies for promoting the health of First Nations elders, and a useful framework for implementing these strategies. Many of the obstacles faced by programs working with elders are systematically dealt with.

3. The Roots of Health; which describes important basic necessities of health for Aboriginal elders. There is an overview of each basic idea, designed to give the reader an introduction, followed by strategies for taking action to promote and strengthen these foundations of a healthy life.

4. Resources; which provides suggestions for strengthening the health basics for First Nations elders such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, addictive substances, healthy interpersonal relationships.


Two types of workshops are offered which use the Elderhealth manual as a primary resource. The first of these focuses on helping elders and their families learn ways to improve their own lives. The second workshop is designed to help community resource people design and implement effective programs for elders.


This workshop is designed to help elders learn how to improve and sustain their own healthy and to develop a sense of well-being. Many of the building blocks necessary for a healthy way of life are covered. Topics include: breathing, the use of tobacco, heart health, diabetes, rest and sleep, exercise, nutrition, a safe home, healthy relationships, elder abuse, recreation, peace of mind, and positive spiritual expression. Basic information about these issues is presented and the medical advice is integrated with the traditional beliefs and values.

We encourage the Elders who attend to come with a caregiver (a relative or friend) who will be able to help the elders sustain the changes introduced in the workshop in the weeks that follow.

In order to be more effective the workshop requires a week-long initial training session followed by at least two one-day sessions scheduled over the next few months.


This workshop explores a basic wellness models as well as the foundation of a healthy lifestyle for elders. Along with these basic, specific attention will be given to two main areas:

1. Strategies for promoting the health of elders, such as: learning about elders and their situation; enabling elders to increase control over and improve their health; strengthening family support; and building a network of community support and services. These strategies are presented in a practical framework to help programs determine priorities, make plans, take action and evaluate their success.

2. Trouble shooting for Elderhealth programs by dealing with some of the common obstacles to promoting the health of elders in First Nations communities such as disunity or apathy among the elders, lack of funding, or good ideas but no action.

It is the goals of this workshop to prepare the participants to introduce and facilitate Elderhealth workshops and programs in their own communities.

This workshop should be scheduled for one full week in order to allow participants to explore the theory but also acquire hands-on experience with the practical strategies and techniques.


Phil Lane, Jr., International Coordinator Four Worlds International Institute for Human and Community Development

Click the Medicine Wheel to go Back

Return to Four Worlds Home Page


347 Fairmont Boulevard, Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 7J8 Canada

Phone: (403) 320-7144 Fax: (403) 329-8383 E-Mail: 4worlds@uleth.ca