Articles from the February 1, 2018 edition


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  • Alaska Commission on Aging meets, hosts joint advocacy event

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2018

    The Alaska Commission on Aging (ACoA) will meet February 5-9 in Juneau for a face to-face board meeting that will include meetings with legislators and their staff as well as visits to rural communities in Southeast Alaska. In addition, the commission is hosting the “Partnering in Advocacy for Alaska Seniors” as a special joint advocacy meeting bringing in representatives from various senior advocacy organizations including AgeNet, the Pioneer Home Advisory Board, and AARP Alaska. This unique event, scheduled for the morning of Feb. 6, will off...

  • Keep up with the state legislature

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2018

    Keep track of senior-related bills, budget decisions and other issues by listening in to the Alaska Commission on Aging Legislative Teleconferences. Hosted by local agencies statewide, and available by toll-free call-in, the teleconferences provide a convenient forum for seniors and advocates across Alaska to share information about issues and specific bills of concern, including Medicaid, state budget and funding, senior assistance, retirement, Pioneer Homes and more. Teleconferences are scheduled 9:30 to 11 a.m. every other Thursday and...

  • Senior Benefits program poised to sunset

    Lawrence D. Weiss, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2018

    Imagine you are driving down an empty two-lane highway somewhere in Alaska. It is cold and very windy. You see something ahead. It is a car nosed over into the ditch, flashers on. A person in obvious distress is standing beside the car waving you down. Do you stop to help? You do because this is the unwritten code of the Alaskan traveler. We stop to help people who need assistance. This sentiment is so strong among Alaskan residents that it is enshrined in the State Constitution as a fundamental duty of our elected representatives. Section 4...

  • Will cuts be needed to offset tax reductions?

    Alan M. Schlein, Senior Wire|Feb 1, 2018

    With the tax bill signed into law, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has set his sights on reforming Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and welfare in 2018. But he will have to overcome several big barriers to be successful, including reversing President Donald Trump’s repeated campaign pledge not to touch those specific federal entitlement programs for the elderly. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Ryan are also at odds over whether to tackle entitlement reform in a mid-term election year, which traditionally favors the p...

  • The importance of sleep for elders

    Nicole Van Nelson, National Indian Council on Aging|Feb 1, 2018

    Learning the causes of sleep deprivation, especially in the winter, and how to overcome them are important steps for our elders to take in order to get a good night’s rest and increase their overall physical wellbeing. Why sleep is important Sleep deprivation, a lack of sleep that affects a person’s performance when awake, includes symptoms such as having trouble staying awake during daily activities and the need for caffeine to get started. Sleep deprivation can also lead to long term issues including memory impairment, weight gain, dia...

  • Learn to teach Tai Chi for Arthritis

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2018

    This spring the Kenai Senior Center will be offering a Tai Chi for Arthritis and Falls Prevention Instructor Training Workshop, facilitated by Master Trainer Linda Ebeling on Mar. 24 and 25. The class will also be offered in Fairbanks in April. Designed by Dr. Paul Lam in conjunction with a team of medical experts and tai chi masters, Tai Chi for Arthritis (TCA) uses the Sun style of tai chi, making the program easy to learn, safe and effective. The State of Alaska, Department of Health and...

  • Five natural remedies for high blood pressure

    Suzy Cohen, Senior Wire|Feb 1, 2018

    While waiting for a prescription, a friend of mine decided to check his blood pressure. He was dealing with a bout of walking pneumonia and his blood pressure (BP) spiked to 140/100! Has this ever happened to you where you checked your BP at the pharmacy and it was suddenly high? You can blame stress, the modern diet, lack of exercise or a bad infection like my buddy had. You can blame other lifestyle factors like smoking, too. Or it could simply be your genes, as high blood pressure, termed hypertension, tends to run in families. If left...

  • Spring health fair season is ramping up

    Alaska Health Fair, Inc.|Feb 1, 2018

    We are kicking off Alaska Health Fair’s Spring 2018 health fair season, so check out our earliest fairs, listed below. Make it to one of the spring events in your local community before the end of the season and you’ll find a variety of resources to help meet your family’s health needs and take time to enjoy some great community gatherings. These events offer great rewards for your highly prized and limited free time, with free health screenings, health and safety education, plus 11 affordable blood tests and other services. These tests can h...

  • Make the most of your Medicare Part D drug benefit

    Nila Morgan, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2018

    With the new year, many Medicare beneficiaries have enrolled in a Part D, prescription drug plan, possibly for the first time. There are several ways to make the most of your Part D benefit and we will examine them. What you should expect from your Part D plan Once you have enrolled in a plan you should receive, within two weeks, a letter letting you know your enrollment information has been received. Within five weeks you should receive a welcome packet that will include several items. You...

  • 'Positional maneuver' can treat dizziness

    Carrie Luger Slayback, Senior Wire|Feb 1, 2018

    A few years ago, my husband couldn’t roll out of bed without feeling dizzy. Our family doctor referred him to an otolaryngologist who sent him home with a motion sickness prescription. Worse than dizziness, the meds made him groggy. Still looking for relief from revolving-room syndrome and nausea, he consulted another doctor, who put him in a special chair and tipped it at an uncomfortable angle. Called the Epley maneuver, the doctor timed abrupt changes of Paul’s position from side to side. “I’m cured,” Paul said, returning home after the...

  • Annual conference focuses on public health

    Lawrence D. Weiss, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2018

    It was a tsunami of trinkets, baubles and tchotchkes. Dozens of vendor tables were cheek by jowl along three walls of the cavernous Discovery Ballroom in Anchorage's Hotel Captain Cook. Freebies included water bottles, lip balm, pens, coffee mugs, pamphlets, refrigerator magnets and round flexible things about the size of a large pancake used to open difficult jars. A friend of mine calls them "rubber husbands." This was the annual meeting of the Alaska Public Health Association (ALPHA), Jan....

  • Emergency planning is a year-round priority

    Major Mike Dryden USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Feb 1, 2018

    With the New Year behind us and February under way, many of us have already forgotten our well-intended resolutions and plans to change something in our lives for the better. The old standbys are losing weight, joining a gym, stopping smoking, and calling your friends and family more. But today, let’s strive to make a resolution that may save your life. Let’s take some baby steps toward self-sufficiency in the unlikely event of a natural disaster that interrupts our normal lives. FEMA and the...

  • New approaches to fight, treat smoking, tinnitus

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Feb 1, 2018

    E-cigarettes may help some smokers A new study is suggesting that smokers who are willing to use e-cigarettes tend to smoke less and have increased quit attempts. As e-cigarettes become more popular, fewer people are taking up smoking traditional cigarettes. However, there is debate whether this electronic nicotine delivery system can help people quit smoking altogether. “Combustible cigarettes are the most harmful form of nicotine delivery. Alternative delivery of nicotine through e...

  • Free training, support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2018

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in February. This month’s meeting topic is “Coping Skills,” using the training DVD from The Educated Caregiver to cover strategies on getting support, developing realistic expectations, and especially – especially important – taking care of yourself and your loved one.. Feb. 6, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m. Feb. 13, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. Feb. 20, Caregiver support meeting a...

  • Networking for Anchorage area service providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2018

    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 Service Providers Breakfast (formerly known as the Interagency Breakfast), sponsored by Older Persons Action Group, is an opportunity for all the above. Informal, early and free, with breakfast provided. The February meeting is Feb. 14, hosted by Elder Law attorney Ilona Bessenyey. Begins at 8 a.m. RSVP by calling Older Persons Action Group, Inc. for more information on these...

  • Ride-sharing services aid seniors

    Erin Kirkland, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2018

    There’s little doubt that one of the toughest things about growing older is a loss of independence. The relinquishment of responsibility for one’s own actions can be the source of disagreement and angst among families, especially when driving comes up. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 40 million licensed drivers in the United States are over age 65, and while seniors in many respects are very safe drivers, wearing seat belts, following traffic rules and the like, there is no denying that aging does affect ability. Be it thr...

  • Baby boomers find companionship online

    Jim Miller, Savvy Senior|Feb 1, 2018

    Dear Savvy Senior: What can you tell me about online dating for baby boomers? I’m 57 and recently divorced, and would like to find a new friend to spend time with. Lonely Linda Dear Linda: Whether you’re interested in dating again or just looking for a friend to spend time with, online dating sites have become a very popular and effective way for baby boomers to meet new single people. Making new friends can be challenging as we get older, which is why online dating sites are an excellent option for baby boomers. They provide an easy and con...

  • Meals-on-Wheels to include Fairbanks pets

    Kris Capps, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2018

    A $500 grant to help Meals on Wheels recipients in Fairbanks with the cost of caring for their pets, unexpectedly grew into $2,500 thanks to an anonymous donor who read about the program in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The Fairbanks Senior Center was excited about the initial $500 grant from Meals on Wheels America, intended to help pay for the care of pets for homebound seniors. “For many of our Meals on Wheels clients, their pet is a family member,” said Darlene Supplee, executive director of both the Fairbanks Senior Center and the Meals...

  • Age no barrier to Iditarod dreams

    Dimitra Lavrakas, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2018

    It should have surprised no Alaskan that "middle-aged" Mitch Seavey of Sterling took first place for a third time in the 2017 Iditarod. Seavey blasted down the trail to win in a record-setting 8 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes, 13 seconds, close to eight hours off his 30-year-old son Dallas' 2016 record win - all at the record-setting age of 57. His win represents the spirit of a state where, no matter how old you are or where you're form or what your gender is, if you can hurdle the qualifying races...

  • Surprise package delivers unexpected family treasure

    Maraley McMichael, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2018

    One early January afternoon a few years back, I picked up a small box from the dining room table where my husband always piles our incoming mail. I was surprised to see the return address of one of my mother's cousins in California. We only correspond at Christmas time and I hadn't heard from her the past two years. Elsie had never before sent me anything larger than a letter, so I was immediately curious about the contents. Inside a folded letter lay on top of a tissue wrapped bundle. Upon...

  • Nominations sought for Anchorage community service award

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2018

    Do you know an outstanding individual whose service, dedication and leadership have had a significant impact on the quality of life for seniors in Anchorage? The Anchorage Senior Citizens Advisory Commission is looking for someone just like that. The commission is actively seeking nominations for the 14th Annual Ron Hammett Award for community service, to be presented at the Older Americans Month Kick Off Event in Anchorage in May. Nominees for this honor must meet the following criteria: Nominees must be an Anchorage resident. Nomination may...

  • Anchorage selected to host 2019 national veterans sporting event

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2018

    The Alaska VA has been selected to host the 2019 National Veterans Golden Age Games in Anchorage. “I look forward to rooting on all of our nation’s veterans competing in the Games next year,” said Senator Murkowski in an announcement via Facebook on Jan. 12. One of the premiere senior adaptive rehabilitation programs in the U.S., the National Veterans Golden Age Games is the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older veterans, including those with a wide...

  • First Fur Rondies help beat the winter blues

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Feb 1, 2018

    In the mid 1930s, a few fellows got together and decided it would be great to put together a winter sports tournament for all of Anchorage's residents. Vern Johnson, Clyde Conover, Thomas Bevers and Dale Bowen wanted to organize several teams to compete in hockey and basketball. With the city's population less than 4,000 at the time, the idea took hold and turned into a carnival to show community support and celebrate the beginning of the end of winter. Revelers bought tickets to the Winter...

  • 40 years on, Debby Boone is still lighting up our lives

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Feb 1, 2018

    Debby Boone's recording of "You Light up My Life" not only became a monster hit of 1977, but went on to become one of the most popular songs of the decade. "I have a hard time believing it's been 40 years," said Boone. The album of the same title released that year became certified platinum (1 million in sales in the U.S.), yet it was never released on CD when the new music format became popular in the 80s. "To celebrate its 40th anniversary we have just released the original album on CD for...

  • Free tax assistance begins in February

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2018

    February marks the opening of Tax-Aide sites around Alaska. The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program is designed to prepare basic tax returns and anyone can use the service regardless of age or income. Sites are staffed by volunteers who are trained and certified by Internal Revenue Service and AARP Foundation instructors to prepare basic tax returns. By using AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, these taxpayers also avoid tax preparation fees and pitches for high-interest tax credit or refund loans. And the service is free. Below are the dates and hours for...

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