The New Mexico Legislature meets every year in January. During that time, the legislators hold an open house where they invite elders and those who work with elders to visit them for a one-day event. This community event is a great place to learn about NM resources available for elders. It is also a chance for elders to educate policymakers about the impact their decisions can have.
It has become a tradition for the National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. (NICOA) to participate in the Senior Day at the Roundhouse event during this lively time. The New Mexico State Capitol earned the Roundhouse nickname because it was designed in the shape of the Zia sun symbol. This dynamic structure references elements of traditional Native and Mexican architecture. The Roundhouse is filled with artwork created by New Mexico artists and is a good stop for any visitor to Santa Fe. Link to walking tour: https://www.nmlegis.gov/Publications/Visitors/BrochureEnglish.pdf
Numerous aging network organizations, nonprofits and other groups set up tables in the rotunda to distribute educational materials and healthy snacks, and staff are eager to explain how they can provide assistance to New Mexico’s elders. NICOA was joined by the NM Indian Area Agency on Aging, the Navajo Area Agency on Aging, and many others. The goal of the event is to provide education and outreach to the citizens of NM about services available to them. Friendly conversation and interaction provide important information which can make a difference in an elder’s life. Another benefit for NICOA is the chance to learn more about the other organizations in NM and collect those contacts for use when requests come in that require a referral.
Various speakers addressed the attendees on topics of importance to elders. Speakers, singers and the stretching/energizing session helped to buoy the crowd as they exited into the beautiful, panoramic mountains of NM.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.