Articles from the February 1, 2020 edition


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  • Let's make 2020 count for Alaska

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2020

    “Age Smart – Let’s Talk”, the series of forums sponsored by AARP Alaska, Older Persons Action Group and the Anchorage Senior Activity Center, returns Feb. 11, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center. This month’s topic is “Let’s Make 2020 Count for Alaska!,” presented by Keisha Lafayette, U.S. Census Bureau Partnership Specialist based in the Mat-Su Borough. The decennial census has been conducted in years ending in “0” since 1790, as required by the U.S. Constitution. Article I, Section 2. Census data is used to make decisi...

  • Legislative teleconferences: Updates on senior bills

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2020

    Keep track of senior-related bills, budget decisions and other issues by attending or 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 Thurs...

  • Analysis: Congress' ongoing paralysis and political wrangling

    Alan M. Schlein, Senior Wire|Feb 1, 2020

    Congressional lawmakers find themselves caught between the unlikely and the impossible as they try and work through complicated issues like drug price controls. With the sharp partisan divide, the ongoing impeachment of President Trump, the upcoming presidential campaign and their own re-election fights on everyone's minds, difficult choices with disappointing results are the most likely scenario for prescription drug and most other major health care legislation affecting seniors – just like i...

  • Pioneer Home residents file lawsuit over rate increases

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2020

    On Nov. 4, 2019, a lawsuit was filed against Alaska Pioneer Homes Director Clinton Lasley, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Adam Crum, Alaska State Governor Michael J. Dunleavy and the State of Alaska on behalf of Alaska Pioneer Home residents Eileen Casey of Ketchikan, Marion and Howard Rider of Juneau and all Pioneer Home residents. The lawsuit is in response to the state’s recent decision to implement an extreme rate increase, a move that is considered a financial necessity by Lasley and other state o...

  • Speaking out: Alaska seniors plan for big changes

    Lawrence D. Weiss, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2020

    “No person should be forgotten.” – Anna Frank, Commissioner, Alaska Commission on Aging This is part two of a three-part report on the recently-released “Alaska State Plan for Senior Services FY2020 –2023.” The document is critically important for seniors in Alaska because it uniquely focuses on issues we care deeply about such as health, housing, financial security, personal safety, and quality of life. This month we focus on what elders and other seniors from around the state said in their discussions for the survey. “Seniors are our truth...

  • Avoid becoming isolated as a caregiver

    George Lorenzo, Diverse Elders Coalition|Feb 1, 2020

    Family caregivers of loved ones with disabilities and chronic illnesses experience life transformations that are often unexpected. Their altered lifestyles, frequently resulting in dramatic changes to their personal identities, can last for many years, depending on their circumstances. Being uprooted from their former selves over long periods of time can bring isolation and loneliness. And that can have negative physical and mental ramifications for both the caregiver and their loved one. How caregivers deal with their newly transformed lives,...

  • Fairbanks-based ADRC serves vast northern area

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2020

    Alaska's vast geographic space dictates more than its beauty. In the case of the statewide Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) it determines access and the providing of services for Alaskans with disabilities and for seniors and caregivers seeking long term support in their community. From Cantwell to the south and Utqiagvik to the north, Galena to the west and Northway to the east, ADRC North operates out of Fairbanks Senior Center and strives to match individuals living in the...

  • How is Medicare responding to the opioid crisis?

    Nila Morgan, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2020

    You have probably heard, read or seen on the news that there is an opioid abuse epidemic running rampant in the United States. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Opioids killed more than 47,000 people in 2017. That is 130 people per day. Sadly, 36% of all opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid. It is estimated that three out of four people who used heroin misused prescription opioids first, and over two million people currently have an opioid use...

  • Free training and support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2020

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in February. This month’s discussion topic will focus on the Teepa Snow training DVD, “Progression of Dementia: Seeing Gems, Not Just Loss”. Snow explains the appropriate levels of care needed during different stages, which types of behaviors to expect, appropriate activity and much more. Feb. 4, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m. Feb. 11, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. Feb. 18, Careg...

  • Great volunteer experiences are available with Alaska Health Fair

    Sharon Phillips, Alaska Health Fair, Inc.|Feb 1, 2020

    Alaska Health Fair depends on volunteers from all walks of life (both medical and non-medical); and we consider these giving and supportive individuals to be the “blood that flows” through and gives our agency its life. Come help save a life and help people connect with important services, perform health screenings, educate at a health station, or provide much needed supportive services. As a 40-year old non-profit and member of three United Way agencies statewide, Alaska Health Fair, Inc. works with a limited budget. We depend on people who...

  • Upcoming presentations at Hospice of Anchorage

    Bethany Burgess, Hospice of Anchorage|Feb 1, 2020

    Do you know of anyone who needs some extra support this winter? Hospice of Anchorage is a volunteer hospice that provides help and support all over Anchorage free of charge. As a volunteer hospice, our only criteria is that an individual have some kind of life-limiting illness, rather than requiring individuals to stop curative treatment or have a prognosis of less than six months to live. We come alongside the client’s current medical team to provide additional help, without taking away any of the providers already involved. Our services i...

  • New medicines and research on Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and cancer

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Feb 1, 2020

    Alzheimer’s disease vaccine under investigation Some good news to report about Alzheimer’s disease and a potential vaccine. Researchers in California have teamed up with scientists in Australia and developed a new vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease that could be tested in humans within the next two years. After successful animal studies, investigators are hoping to produce a new vaccine to remove “brain plaque” and tau protein aggregates linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The successful...

  • Webinar series for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2020

    Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska will offer a free six-week online webinar for family caregivers, beginning in late February. The webinar classes meet via the online Zoom digital conferencing system for two hours each Saturday, Feb. 22 through March 28. The classes will focus on dementia care: Improving the practice of caregiving Tools for decision making Emotions caregivers may face How to deal effectively with family issues Classes are free, but pre-registration is required as space is limited. To register, contact Gay Wellman, 907-822-5620 o...

  • Expert offers advice on cutting down clutter

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2020

    It’s silent. It’s sneaky. Suddenly, clutter is there. Clutter is all around us in our modern lives and is a growing problem. According to the National Self-Storage Association, one out of every 11 people in the United States rent storage space during a given year, including off-site units and storage pods stored in a homeowner’s yard, meaning not only can clutter invade your home, but can even outgrow it. Whether you’re looking to regain momentum on a New Year’s resolution, optimize and organize your living space, or bravely part ways with...

  • Love is in the air - or is it?

    Daryl Royce, AARP Alaska|Feb 1, 2020

    More and more Americans are turning to dating websites and mobile apps in hopes of finding love and companionship. A Pew Research Center study revealed that nearly 60 percent of U.S. adults consider online dating a good way to meet people, and Match.com, one of the most popular dating sites, says people 50 and older represent its fastest-growing share of users. But seeking romantic bliss online can have a major downside: Cyberspace is full of scammers eager to take advantage of lonely hearts. The con works something like this: You post a...

  • Networking for Anchorage, Mat-Su area providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2020

    Interested in learning more about businesses and agencies providing senior services in the Anchorage and Mat-Su 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, Inc., is an opportunity for all the above. Informal, early and free, with breakfast provided. The February meeting is February 12, hosted by the Loussac Library. Begins at 8 a.m. RSVP by calling Older Persons Action Group, Inc. for more information on...

  • Free tax assistance begins in February

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2020

    March 16, 2020: An update statement from the Tax-Aide program: In order to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 AARP Tax-Aide has made the decision to close all of their volunteer sites, effective today. This was a nationwide decision. All volunteer sites in Anchorage are Tax-Aide sites. Taxpayers who needed to return to the site with more information will be contacted by volunteers so that arrangements can be made to complete their returns. The VITA program at UAF is also closed, as the campus has closed to public activities. Currently, the Tl...

  • Women rack 'em up at Anchorage senior center

    Tom Brennan, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2020

    Fifteen determined women are learning, to their delight, the fine art of shooting pool, a game traditionally dominated by men. The pool-shooters gather at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center and take lessons from volunteer program coordinator Sharon Lowe, a self-taught and skilled practitioner at both pool and billiards. The group began its activities at the pool table two years ago with 17 women, 15 of whom are still active. For a time, they gathered on Thursdays and practiced together from 5...

  • Ice fishing trip was an all-around success

    Maraley McMichael, Senior Voice Correspondent|Feb 1, 2020

    By Al Clayton, Sr., as told to Maraley McMichael. Recent clear sunny days in make me think of going ice fishing. I've made many winter fishing trips through the years, but one in particular stands out in my memory. While living in Anchorage in the early 1960s, I made a trip to Copper Lake in the Nabesna Road area. I chose March because it usually brings beautifully clear, cold weather to interior Alaska. Another fellow, Buck Moore, made the trip with me. Buck was a camp cook for Lee Hancock and...

  • Bettye Davis African American Summit returns for Black History Month

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2020

    The Alaska Black Caucus will present a variety of events throughout February, including the second annual Bettye Davis African American Summit on Feb. 29. Davis, a community leader and Alaska’s first African American State Senator, passed away in December 2018 and the summit was organized in her name. Its mission is to serve as the principal forum and voice for the Alaska African American community in addressing critical issues of public policy and government. This year’s takes place at Bartlett High School and brings together experts to lea...

  • Commission on Aging meets, Feb. 10-13

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2020

    The Alaska Commission on Aging will meet February 10-13 in Juneau. The focus of this meeting will be legislative advocacy for Alaska seniors and receiving updates regarding senior programs throughout the state. During the presentations, commissioners and attendees will hear about senior suicide prevention, veteran’s supports, Health and Social Services programs and much more. Public comment is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Please free to call in to listen to the meeting discussion and provide public comment using the c...

  • Chickaloon coal drive helps to establish Anchorage

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Feb 1, 2020

    In the early 1900s, coal was being shipped from as far away as Cardiff, Wales, to the U.S. Navy's coal station at Sitka. Some thought that the coal deposits at Chickaloon in the Matanuska Valley might meet the Navy's requirements. Along with federal Bureau of Mines director A.M. Holmes, Jack Dalton went to look the mine over in 1913. When Holmes concluded the coal would suffice, he gave Dalton the task of figuring out a way to get the coal from the mine to tidewater – at a cost the Bureau c...

  • James Drury remembers 'The Virginian' co-stars

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Feb 1, 2020

    Originally airing on NBC from 1962 to 1971 and currently rerunning on several cable networks (INSP and Starz), the enduring popularity of the "The Virginian" doesn't surprise 85-year-old James Drury, who starred throughout the series in the title role (see www.thevirginian.net). "It still holds up," said Drury from his home in Houston. "The old westerns were morality plays that showed the triumph of good over evil and I think that's important for young people to see on screen these days because...

  • Can citizen scientists stretch America's scientific dollar?

    Karen Telleen-Lawton, Senior Wire|Feb 1, 2020

    I almost trained as a scientist, but feared I wouldn’t be able to locate the sweet spot in how to spend my workday. I love the outdoors too much to spend days in a windowless lab, and I’m too wimpy to spend weeks on end camping in a rainy jungle, broiling desert, or roiling sea. I’m in luck nonetheless, because the era of citizen science is here. This is fortunate for those of us who have scientist-envy, and possibly for America’s pocketbook. Citizen science is scientific work undertaken by non-scientists, often in collaboration with scienti...

  • Your Social Security questions answered by the experts

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2020

    Staff from Alaska’s Social Security office will be available for questions via videoconferencing at the following locations and times in February: Kodiak Job Center, on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (Feb. 11 and 25), 9 a.m. to noon. Kenai Senior Center, on the first and third Wednesday of each month (Feb. 5 and 19), 9 a.m. to noon. Ketchikan Job Center, every Thursday (Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27), noon to 3 p.m. Social Security provides toll-free telephone service to all of Alaska. Residents in Alaska’s Southeast communities can cal...

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