June 2024 Edition

Program offers housing assistance in Mat-Su

Randi Perlman, For Senior Voice

The twists and turns of everyday life can sometimes take a toll on families and individuals residing in the Mat-Su Valley, unexpectedly and through no fault of their own. Just paying the bills to keep utilities on and prevent eviction can become a serious challenge at times. But there is a program in the Valley that can provide financial housing assistance during those low times. Since 2012, the primary purpose of Valley Charities, Inc. (VCI's) Housing Assistance Program (HAP) has been to help...

Black History is Alaska History

Dimitra Lavrakas, For Senior Voice

Two white guys have written a book, "Black Lives in Alaska." We are glad they stepped up. Ian Hartman, associate professor and department chair at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of History, and David Reamer, well-known historian, especially to readers of his column the Anchorage Daily News column "Histories of Alaska," both say they published the stories because of "the absence of material on this subject." "This book has its roots in the Anchorage centennial publication,...

Under construction

Senior Voice Staff

Fairbanks Senior Center's reception area, pictured here in April, gets a serious remodel makeover, with removal of 1980s-era wallpaper and installation of new enhanced lighting, new flooring and paint and a new reception desk. The center's renovation project started in August 2023, and will include a 3,700 square foot expansion. Closed to the public due to COVID in March 2020, the center has undergone upgrades and expansion and will finally reopen this summer. An open house celebration, with a...

Recognizing service to seniors

Senior Voice Staff

Congratulations to Jim Bailey, here displaying his award plaque for the 2024 Ron Hammett Award for Community Service. He was presented the award at the Older Americans Month Kick-Off Event, May 1 at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center. The award recognizes people whose work and dedication has benefited seniors in the Anchorage area. Jim's resume is long, being actively involved in many initiatives and workgroups to enhance the voice and safety of seniors, from playing an integral role in the...

  • University offers new certification program for guardianship

    Amanda Biggs, For Senior Voice

    The University of Alaska Department of Human Services is excited to announce a new program that is targeted to those interested in working as guardians for adults who require support in making decisions. The Guardianship Occupational Endorsement Certificate (OEC) will be developed and offered in collaboration with the Alaska Office of Public Advocacy. The Office of Public Advocacy provides guardianship to adults throughout the state of Alaska. The Public Guardian section of OPA is charged with providing guardianship and conservatorship...

  • How seniors fared in the 2024 legislative session

    Marge Stoneking, AARP Alaska

    The 33rd Alaska Legislature concluded its two-year session on May 15. The legislature set out to prioritize energy and education policy in 2024, and those issues did take much of the session’s focus, political will, and compromise, in addition to the usual budget process. AARP Alaska’s 2024 legislative advocacy pushed for policies and funding that support aging in place, financial security, and improved access to healthcare. We saw major successes in our work to restore and expand funding for critical programs serving older Alaskans, with...

  • Ensuring health care for veterans exposed to PFAS

    Jonathan Sharp, Environmental Litigation Group, PC

    More than 10 percent of Alaska’s adult population are military veterans, many of whom live with a military service-related disability due to toxic exposure, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). However, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs does not recognize a disease developed during service on a military site with known PFAS contamination as a presumptively service-related disability. The VET PFAS ACT of July 2023 aims to assure medical care to ill veterans and their dependents exposed to PFAS by sparing them from unnecessary...

  • Keep Social Security strong for future generations

    Teresa Holt, AARP Alaska

    Social Security plays a crucial role in supporting retirees and ensuring financial stability for many Alaskans. One in seven Alaska residents (107,982 people) receive the Social Security benefits they’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work. These guaranteed payments remain stable throughout retirement, unlike investments tied to the stock market or employer-based decisions. These funds are a primary income source for most retirees and inject more than $1.7 billion into the state’s economy every year. In Alaska, the average monthly...

  • Social Security's commitment to the LGBTQI+ community

    Social Security Administration

    June is Pride Month. It’s a time to acknowledge the LGBTQI+ community and also celebrate diversity, love, and respect. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states. We recognize same-sex marriages in all states, as well as some nonmarital legal relationships (such as some civil unions and domestic partnerships). This recognition is important to determine entitlement to benefits. Here are a few things you should know about...

  • Video assistance with Social Security questions

    Senior Voice Staff

    The Social Security Administration partners with locations throughout Alaska to offer a secure video service option. Video service is a convenient and no-cost way for people to talk directly to a Social Security employee through a secure computer link that includes two-way video and sound. The video service locations are available at: In Nome, Norton Sound Health Corporation, located at 1000 Greg Kruschek Ave. Video service is available for walk-ins on a first come, first served basis, on the second and fourth Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to noon....

  • Osteoporosis: Underdiagnosed in men

    John C. Schieszer, For Senior Voice

    Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men, so it is often thought of as a women’s disease. Subsequently, it is underdiagnosed and undertreated in men, especially men age 65 and older, who are at risk for developing osteoporosis. In addition, the number of fractures caused by fragile bones in men has increased in recent years. A fracture after age 50 is an important signal that a person may have osteoporosis. Unfortunately, men are less likely than women to be evaluated for osteoporosis after a fracture. Men also are less likely to...

  • Avoiding, treating a repetitive strain injury

    Dr. Emily Kane, For Senior Voice

    Q: I work at a keyboard and my wrists get really sore. What can I do to prevent damaging my hands and wrists? I can't quit my job. A: Repetitive strain injury from computer work is a widespread problem in this age of electronic communication. You may touch keys up to 200,000 times a day -the equivalent of your fingers walking 10 miles. Holding your wrists, hands and back straight while keyboard walking is crucial to ongoing comfort and prevention of strains and pains. When you work with straight wrists and fingers, the nerves, muscles and...

  • OTT-LITE Lamp

    Assistive Technology of Alaska

    Ott-Lite table and desk lamps are designed specifically to bring natural daylight lighting indoors to help the user see details clearly and colors accurately. Ott-Lites can benefit individuals who need assistance seeing books, recipes, prescription bottles, crafts, puzzles, electronics, jewelry and more. There are Ott-Lite lamps that can be placed on desks or on the floor with high contrast clocks on their face, USB ports for charging electronics, magnifiers attached, or adjustable device...

  • Key screenings for improved men's health

    Alaska Health Fair, Inc.

    June is Men's Health Month, a time to raise awareness about the unique health issues men face and to encourage early detection, treatment and prevention. Alaska Health Fair offers a variety of blood screenings that can provide valuable information about your health. Take your blood test results to your doctor. Comprehensive Blood Chemistry panel. This test measures various components of your blood, providing insight into your kidney, liver, as well as glucose, electrolyte and lipid levels. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. Beginning at...

  • Effects of jobs and attitudes on memory and aging

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes

    Preventing memory loss on a daily basis When it comes to your brain, use it or lose it. The harder your brain works at your job, the less likely you may be to have memory and thinking problems later in life, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology. The study does not prove that stimulating work prevents mild cognitive impairment (MCI). It only shows an association. “We examined the demands of various jobs and found that cognitive stimulation at work during different stages...

  • Free resources, support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following caregiver support group meetings in June. Meeting format is open discussion unless otherwise noted. June 4, Tyotkas Elder Center, 10:30 a.m. June 7, Soldotna Senior Center, 1 to 2 p.m. June 18, Kenai Senior Center, with guest speaker, Louise Heite from MA Speech Pathology, 1 to 2 p.m. June 20, Sterling Senior Center, 1 to 2 p.m. June 27, Nikiski Senior Center, 1 to 2 p.m. Support meetings allow you to share your experiences as a caregiver, or support someone who is a...

  • Exploring Peru and Machu Picchu

    Laurel Downing Bill, For Senior Voice

    Part two in a four-part series. As senior citizens, we initially worried our dream trip to Peru and Machu Picchu might be too demanding. Don, 80, and I, 72, weren't couch potatoes, but we weren't marathon runners, either. We had never used Smithsonian Journeys and Audley Travel before, and although the itinerary promised we would be met by a private driver and English-speaking guide at every stop, we couldn't help but wonder "what if...." After our plane landed in Lima on December 20, our...

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