Articles from the November 1, 2014 edition


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  • Votes tallied on senior tax exemptions

    David Washburn, Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2014

    Voters in the Mat-Su Borough expanded property tax exemptions for seniors in the October election, while voters in Petersburg tightened up the senior sales tax exemption there. The Mat-Su change will increase the Senior Citizens and Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption to $218,000 of the assessed value of the applicant’s home. In other words, if a senior’s home is assessed at $300,000 in value, $218,000 of that amount would be exempt and property taxes would be paid only on the remaining $82,000. Currently, the exemption is $170,000, whi...

  • Thankful to serve and receive

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2014

    For nearly four decades, hundreds have been turning out to enjoy free food and entertainment for Juneau seniors and their caregivers, served by Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers, some of whom are retired and fly in for the event. The first annual Senior Citizens Holiday Dinner was organized by Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Constantine in 1974, but the event took a hiatus last year. Organizers are pleased to announce the dinner is back this year, its 40th, at the Peratrovich Hall. The date is...

  • Locally-produced film explores Alzheimer's, family caregiving

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2014

    If you are a baby boomer caring for a parent with ADRD (Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia) or simply feeling daunted by the prospect, you won't want to miss "Backing Out of Time," a new film on the subject that will be shown Nov. 12 at the Bear Tooth Theatre in Anchorage. The hour-long documentary chronicles the challenging last years of the disease as seen through the grace and eyes of family caregivers and seeks to provide a road map and some normalcy to the experience. Alaska has the...

  • Effects of credit card and ID theft are widespread and longlasting

    Michelle Tabler, Better Business Bureau of Alaska|Nov 1, 2014

    We hear it all the time: a big corporation suffers yet another data breach, putting thousands of consumers’ personal information at risk. Or it could be your neighbors, friends – maybe even yourself – who have had to change all their credit card numbers because a scammer managed to steal their identities. The truth is that credit card and ID theft has become too common these days and even if you’ve managed to escape from being a victim, chances are good you’ll become one in the future. Consider this: according to an article written by Mashab...

  • Older Persons Action Group Annual Meeting, Nov. 14

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2014

    This year’s Older Persons Action Group annual membership meeting, is Nov. 14, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the OPAG Anchorage office, 325 E. Third Ave. The event will include officer elections and a presentation on emergency preparedness by guest speaker Michelle Torres, Emergency Programs Manager for the Municipality of Anchorage. Door prizes will include an emergency survival kit along with other surprises. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP. For more information or to RSVP, call 276-1059....

  • Survey seeks input on Anchorage homelessness

    Anchorage Dept. of Health and Human Services|Nov 1, 2014

    People who become homeless do not fit one general description. However, people experiencing homelessness do have certain shared basic needs, including affordable housing, adequate incomes, and health care. Some homeless people may need additional services such as mental health or drug treatment in order to remain securely housed. All of these needs must be met to prevent and end homelessness. The Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services is working with the Housing and Neighborhood Development Commission’s Oversight Subcommittee on H...

  • Alaska Commission on Aging to meet in Anchorage

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2014

    The Alaska Commission on Aging will hold its quarterly meeting Dec. 10 and 11 in Anchorage at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center. The commission advocates for state policy, public and private partnerships, state/federal projects and citizen involvement on senior issues and collaborates with the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services, provider agencies and the public. The meeting will include a community elder forum, a listening session to focus on the priorities of Anchorage seniors, conducted jointly with the Anchorage Senior Citizens...

  • Tax-Aide volunteers make a difference

    AARP Alaska|Nov 1, 2014

    The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program has been preparing taxes in Alaska for approximately 40 years. Counselors of this program prepare a basic tax return free for seniors and mid to low income citizens in Alaska. We need volunteers to help at the sites in Alaska for the coming tax season. A taxpayer came to one of the sites in Anchorage very anxious about owing a large sum of money in taxes and was not going to be able to pay the amount. The counselor worked through the return and was able to tell the taxpayer that a $75 refund would be coming...

  • Business-to-business networking for Anchorage senior service providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2014

    Interested in learning more about businesses and agencies providing senior services in the Anchorage area? Want to get the word out about your own service? The monthly Interagency Breakfast, sponsored by Older Persons Action Group, is an opportunity for all of the above. Informal, early and free, with breakfast provided for business and agency representatives. The November meeting is Nov. 12 and will be hosted by Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska, 1750 Abbott Road. Begins at 8 a.m. Call Older Persons Action Group to RSVP and get directions to t...

  • Let's improve Social Security for all of us

    Rita Hatch, Senior Voice Correspondent|Nov 1, 2014

    Here's something new from Social Security, which has just launched "my Social Security account," a personalized online account people can establish at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount, beginning in their working years and continuing throughout the time they receive Social Security benefits. With a "my Social Security account," people can access their online Social Security statement, which provides workers age 18 and over their complete earnings history and estimates for future retirement, disab...

  • Prediabetes risks and treatments

    Leslie Shallcross, For Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2014

    Because I am a dietitian, friends sometimes ask me to help them interpret their health fair blood test results. This fall, I had the unhappy chore of telling a friend that the test results showed “prediabetes” and to talk with a physician. Wanting to put a positive spin on things, I also said that it was great to find out about the prediabetes because there are some simple and effective ways to deal with the problem. My friend is one of the 86 million people in the United States with “prediabetes”. This is a condition in which the blood s...

  • Flu and its prevention should be taken seriously

    Major Mike Dryden USAR Ret, Senior Voice Correspondent|Nov 1, 2014

    Fall in Alaska is that short period of time between summer fun and six months of cold snowy weather that lasts until after you file your taxes. As the leaves turn bright colors and fall from the trees, you remember it's time to winterize everything, pull out the blue tarps and have the sled tuned up. But the most important ritual for the fall should include a trip to the VA influenza clinic and see the Alaska VA Flu Coordinator, Marylou. The Alaska VA could not have made this annual visit any...

  • Latest news on medical research

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Nov 1, 2014

    Prehabilitation may benefit hip and knee replacement patients All hip and knee replacement patients have physical therapy after their surgery. However, a new study is suggesting that prehabilitation may be highly beneficial to some patients. Researchers found prehabilitation could significantly diminish the need for postoperative care. In some cases, postoperative care was cut by nearly 30 percent, resulting in a significant cost savings. The study included more than 4,700 patients and it found...

  • Free training, support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2014

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in November. This month’s theme for discussion is “Coping With Holiday Stress.” Nov. 4, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m. Nov. 11, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. Nov. 13, Caregiver support meeting at Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program in the Blazy Mall, 5 p.m. Nov. 18, Caregiver support meeting at Kenai Senior Center, 1 p.m. Nov. 25, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior C...

  • Food, drinks, supplements interact with medications

    Lana Bell, For Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2014

    November is Thanksgiving month, a time when we reflect on our blessings and often celebrate them with food and drink — so it is also a good month to think about the tricks your food and drink can play on your medicines, like leftover Halloween pranks. Here are a few food-and-drug facts worth reflecting on: There are 249 drugs that interact with grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice can interfere with how the body metabolizes (takes up and processes) medication. When medicine isn’t passing thr...

  • Veterans Week builds at Anchorage center

    Dianne Barske, For Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2014

    "People laugh at me," says Maria James, chairperson of the Senior Veterans Group at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center (ASAC). "I seem able to spot a veteran – often a cap with pins and medals is a clue – and I chase after them." Maria is in hot pursuit because of her compulsion to let them know of their benefits as a veteran, and to encourage them to get to know other veterans at the center. "So many veterans are not aware of the benefits available to them," she says. Known for net...

  • Health fairs in November

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2014

    Alaska Health Fairs, Inc. wraps up its fall series of health fairs around the state this month, featuring free health screenings and education, low cost blood tests and more. These tests can help you learn about your health and detect potential problems early, when treatment or changes in personal habits can be most effective. The test results give you and your health care provider important information about your physical condition and vital organ functions. Unless another phone number is listed, for more information on the events below, call...

  • Alaska Regional Hospital to acquire Alaska Medicare Clinic

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2014

    Alaska Regional Hospital will acquire the Alaska Medicare Clinic on Nov. 1, 2014. The clinic will be known as the “Alaska Regional Senior Health Clinic.” Located in South Anchorage, it is a primary care physician office providing outpatient medical care to Medicare beneficiaries. It opened in 2011 and has received substantial support from the State of Alaska for the past three years. Julie Taylor, CEO of Alaska Regional Hospital, says that acquiring the clinic is a way for the hospital to assist a population that’s already embedded in the h...

  • Early mail routes on the Last Frontier

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Nov 1, 2014

    When Alaska was transferred from Russia rule to the United States, it was up to the Americans to establish a way to deliver mail across its new possession. The Russians had not used a postal system. Communications between Russia and Russian America was handled by dispatch cases transported by Russian supply ships. Russian residents sent and received both business and personal mail through the Russian commanders in their communities. Three months before Alaska was formally handed off to American rule, the first post office in the northern...

  • James Drury's next generation "Virginian"

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Nov 1, 2014

    While today's television landscape is littered with so-called reality programming, westerns dominated the airways in the 1960s. One of the most popular was "The Virginian," which ran for nine seasons on NBC from 1962 to 1971, and starred James Drury as the unnamed, mystery foreman of the Shiloh ranch, set in Medicine Bow, Wy. Drury celebrated his 80th birthday in April and, far from retiring, continues to travel the country greeting fans at western festivals (see www.thevirginian.net). He is...

  • Passing on assets is easier with proper paperwork

    Jonathan J. David, Senior Wire|Nov 1, 2014

    Dear Jonathan: I am a widower. My only child, my daughter, is the sole beneficiary of my estate under my will. When I prepared my will, I did not prepare a trust because quite frankly I didn’t feel I had a large enough estate to warrant the cost. Now I am having second thoughts because what I do have, i.e., my house and several bank accounts, I would rather have avoid probate. Short of putting my daughter’s name on the title to my house and my bank accounts and CDs, is there any other way that my estate can avoid probate without my cre...

  • Always, always sign out of online accounts

    Richard Sherman, Senior Wire|Nov 1, 2014

    Q. When I go to my online bank accounts and other sites that I have to sign into, does it make any difference whether I sign out or just click the X to leave? I’m thinking it doesn’t make any difference, but what is your opinion, Mr. M? A. Yes, it makes a huge difference. Make that HUGE difference! Never ever, ever, EVER leave an account that you logged into without logging out. Failing to log out is tantamount to departing your home and leaving the door open. 99.99 percent of the time everything will be fine when you return. On the other hand,...

  • Mexico's island in the sun

    Dimitra Lavrakas, For Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2014

    Perhaps you've been avoiding Mexico because of drug cartels and kidnapping, but here's one destination far away from all that. Floating in the Caribbean Sea along the eastern shore of the Yucatan Peninsula is Cozumel. Small and easy to get around, it's only 30 miles long and close to 10 miles wide, yet oddly enough, is Mexico's largest Caribbean island. It has a population of 77,000, mostly living in the main city of San Miguel. The island is in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo - just say that...

  • Find the Medicare drug plan that is best for you

    Alaska Medicare Information Office|Nov 1, 2014

    The Medicare 2015 Annual enrollment period is October 15 through December 7, 2014. This is the time when anyone who has Medicare can enroll in Prescription Drug coverage, also known as Medicare Part D. This link has a chart with information about the prescription drug plans on offer this year: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dsds/Documents/Medicare/MedicarePartD-PlansChart2015.pdf Some facts about these plans: The plan that has the lowest monthly premium is $15.60. The most expensive plan is $135.20. You will want to enroll in the plan that is best for...

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