Articles from the February 1, 2021 edition


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  • 'Aging and Intimacy' at February forum in Anchorage

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2021

    AARP Alaska, Older Persons Action Group and the Anchorage Senior Activity Center continues its series of “Age Smart – Let’s Talk” forums on Feb. 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Events are currently held virtually on the internet, using Zoom. The February topic is “How Does Intimacy Change with Age?” Intimacy isn’t something we talk much about, yet it is something that we need throughout our lives. This session will examine the ways the need and the capacity for intimacy changes as we age. Is it sex? Is it a very close friend or soul mate? Is it p...

  • Good news for bad outcomes of surprise billing

    Alan M. Schlein, Senior Wire|Feb 1, 2021

    Some significant changes affecting seniors on health care issues may have gotten lost in the tumultuous whirlwind changes between the end of the Trump administration and the start of the Biden administration. Amid the increasing intensity of the pandemic, the violent turbulence at the U.S. Capitol, and the slower than expected rollout of the first vaccines, Congress actually got some important things done affecting seniors that went unnoticed, buried in the massive spending package. Congress passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package and...

  • Proposed state DMV closures raise alarms

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2021

    Gov. Dunleavy's FY2022 budget includes the same fiscal agenda he has long promised: budget cuts. Released on Dec. 11, 2020, the FY2022 proposal calls for the closure of six Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) locations around the state - Haines, Valdez, Tok, Delta Junction, Homer and Eagle River. Budget proposals are always debated and altered by the state legislature, meaning the proposed DMV closures - mostly located in rural communities - could be nixed in the final FY2022 budget. Nevertheless,...

  • Tax Aide assistance is back – but different

    AARP Alaska|Feb 1, 2021

    AARP Foundation Tax Aide volunteer tax preparers will provide free tax preparation assistance for seniors and low-to-moderate income households this tax season. Service delivery is being adjusted due to COVID to make tax prep safe for volunteers and the public. The traditional model of taxpayers sitting down face-to-face with a tax preparer will not be available. Many of the previously-used free tax prep sites, including the Anchorage Senior Center, AARP State Office, Northeast Community Center, and Spenard Recreation Center are closed in...

  • Networking for Anchorage, Mat-Su area providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2021

    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, the monthly event is being continued virtually online via Zoom. The February meeting is Feb. 10, hosted by Ancora Home Health & Hospice. Begins at 8 a.m. RSVP by calling Older Persons...

  • COVID update: Testing, vaccines, fatigue

    John C. Schieszer, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2021

    COVID testing time reduced to less than five minutes A new COVID-19 test that reduces testing time from 30 minutes to less than five and delivers accurate results has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham in England. The researchers believe their method could deliver a test that is not only fast but also sufficiently sensitive. The test does not require samples to be treated at high temperatures, and it can be performed using standard laboratory equipment, making it readily deployable. Professor Tim Dafforn from the...

  • Making Medicare less costly and more user friendly

    Nila Morgan, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2021

    On Dec. 23, 2020, Congress passed a new provision called the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification Act of 2020, or “BENES Act” of 2020 as part of the $900 billion pandemic aid package. This bill had wide bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The bill also had strong support from more than 85 national and state organizations that support older adults and people with disabilities. The BENES Act is the first update to Original Medicare (Me...

  • Health fair services continue by appointment

    Sharon Phillips, Alaska Health Fair, Inc.|Feb 1, 2021

    Alaska Health Fair’s spring schedule is now online, with most events already posted at www.alaskahealthfair.org. Check back frequently, as the spring season is fluid. We continue to add new dates as they come available and/or remove some. During spring 2021, we are following our 2020 model of “by appointment only.” To make a blood test appointment, follow these easy steps: Find the program that serves your region; pick a date you’re interested in, select the “Make Appointment” button on that line. The system will walk you through a simple proce...

  • Try these 5 effective tips to lose weight

    Suzy Cohen, Senior Wire|Feb 1, 2021

    A good way to lose weight is to exercise more. It is by far the healthiest way to tone up and shrink your waistline. The problem is that some of you cannot work out, or your gym is closed, or you don’t feel well enough to due to some health issue, or injury. So if you’re more sedentary than you used to be, and the pounds are piling up, then the next best thing is to eat smaller portions at each meal. Try cutting back on your portions by 10% each meal until you’re eating a healthy amount, and no longer over-eating. Also, try closing your kitch...

  • Cancer drug shows promise reducing hearing loss

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Feb 1, 2021

    Cancer drug repurposed may help protect against hearing loss According to the World Health Organization, around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, a number the organization projects will double by 2050 to affect 1 in 10 people. However, a new study out of Creighton University School of Medicine has identified a drug that has the potential to protect against or treat hearing loss. The findings are significant because no such FDA-approved drug currently exists, and the drug...

  • Enhancing well-being with the creative arts

    Janice Downing, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2021

    "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." An insightful quote from artist Pablo Picasso, and a great reminder that each of us has the potential for artistic expression. There is no doubt that creativity is good for us at any age and especially as we age. Studies have shown that older adults who participate in creative activities have a better quality of life and maintain independence more easily. Renowned geriatric psychiatrist Gene Cohen conducted "The...

  • Don't let a romance scam break your heart

    Michelle Tabler, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2021

    Romance Scams are big business for criminals as millions of people are using online dating sites. In 2019 alone, the Federal Trade Commission estimates $201 million was lost to romance scams, up almost 40% from 2018. In fact, over the past two years, the total reported losses for this type of fraud was higher than any other scam. And really, that's probably the tip of the iceberg as many people who fall victim to this scam are too embarrassed to tell anyone and may be unaware where to report...

  • Keep the dance in your pants: Sex, seniors, love and life quality

    Wendell Fowler, Senior Wire|Feb 1, 2021

    Sexual intimacy among “horny old broads and dirty old men” is a subject people don’t talk about much. Especially around the grandkids. There’s a widespread misconception that seniors lose interest. Oo-la-la, au contraire. Unclench please, we’re all adults. Don’t get uptight and mentally censor or deem sinful the urges that come naturally. A University of Michigan/AARP survey finds 40 percent of people ages 65 to 80 are sexually active. Nearly 72 percent of individuals in that age range have a romantic partner and of those, 54 percent are...

  • Warm memories of cooking for the crew

    Maraley McMichael, Senior Voice Correspondent|Feb 1, 2021

    Not many 18-year-old girls that I know would take on the job of being "camp cook" for five construction guys. I don't know what gave me the idea I could do it. It just happened – the job fell into my lap. In 1974 my husband Gary worked for Mercer Construction and they had just finished a big job in King Salmon. The next job was remodeling bathrooms at Ft. Wainwright Army base and, after that, they were to remodel kitchens in the family quarters on Eielson Air Force base. We all moved up to F...

  • Decision, determination pay off

    Diann Darnall, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2021

    In March 2020, Alaska International Senior Games athlete Goldie Southwood made a decision that had a huge impact on her life. Goldie's big heart has led her to be an awesome volunteer in her North Pole community. However, she spent so much of her day helping others that she ignored herself and her health was declining. With COVID shutting her community down, Goldie was fighting depression. Using her time to think about herself for a change, she decided that her health was important to her. So sh...

  • Alaska Commission on Aging quarterly meeting, Feb. 16-17

    Alaska Commission on Aging|Feb 1, 2021

    The Alaska Commission on Aging will meet February 16 and 17 in Juneau. The focus of this meeting will be discussion of legislative priorities for Alaska seniors, sharing information from statewide senior service programs, and providing information about COVID-19 response. Meeting hours are Feb. 16, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Feb. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon. Public comment is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Call-in information and Zoom link will be posted on the ACoA website at http://dhss.alaska.gov/acoa/Pages/default.aspx Please...

  • Madeline Holdorf appointed AARP Alaska State President

    AARP Alaska|Feb 1, 2021

    AARP Alaska has appointed Madeline Holdorf, a lifetime community activist, to the top volunteer position in Alaska. As the new State President for Alaska, Holdorf will chair the AARP Alaska Executive Council, a volunteer leadership committee that helps set AARP's state agenda and programs for its 77,000 members and volunteers. "I am honored to accept this appointment and to advocate on behalf of Alaskans 50 and older," said Holdorf. "As a long-time AARP member and volunteer, I am committed to...

  • Clarence Berry, Klondike's luckiest man

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Feb 1, 2021

    A few years before Lady Luck showered riches on Clarence Berry, the "luckiest man in the Klondike" didn't have enough money to pay his room rent. Caught in the panic of 1893, he was broke. He couldn't ask his sweetheart, Ethel Bush, to marry him and saw no particular prospect of ever being able to do so. In the Fresno Valley of California, where Berry raised fruit, he seemed destined to a lifetime of hard, plodding work for a bare living. So when he heard of riches to be dug out of the earth in...

  • Bumpy road led Hank Garrett to 'Car 54' and beyond

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Feb 1, 2021

    Raised in a rough Harlem neighborhood in the 40s and 50s, childhood proved challenging for Hank Garrett. "We lived in the slums and I'd walk into the kitchen in the mornings to find the floor covered with roaches," said Garrett from his home in California "And I still remember waking up one day with a weight on my chest – it was a rat." As outlined in his 2020 autobiography, "From Harlem Hoodlum to Hollywood Heavyweight," other hardships dogged young Hank throughout his troubled teen years. "...

  • Entertaining novels about people our age

    Lawrence D. Weiss, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2021

    No matter what else happens during these nonstop tumultuous times, a good book is sure to improve your outlook. These books feature main characters who are older persons. I select highly-rated books that tilt toward uplifting rather than depressing. Some are light and humorous. Others are more thoughtful, maybe a bit philosophical. Perhaps you will find one or two you feel compelled to read. Family Matters, by Rohinton Mistry "Rohinton Mistry's enthralling novel is at once a domestic drama and...

  • I'm still working: Do I need to sign-up for Medicare?

    Jim Miller, Savvy Senior|Feb 1, 2021

    Dear Savvy Senior: I will turn 65 in a few months and plan to keep working for several more years. I have good health insurance from my employer now. Do I have to sign up for Medicare when I reach 65? — Looking Ahead Dear Looking: Whether you need to enroll in Medicare at 65 if you continue to work and have health insurance through your job depends on how large your employer is. The same rules apply if your health insurance comes from your spouse’s job. But first, let’s review the basics. Remember that original Medicare has two parts: Part...

  • Workers in your home and Social Security

    Social Security Administration|Feb 1, 2021

    Do you plan to pay a cleaning person, cook, gardener, babysitter or other household worker at least $2,300 in 2021? This amount includes any cash you pay for your household employee’s transportation, meals and housing. If you will pay at least $2,300 to one person, you have some additional financial responsibilities and you must: Deduct Social Security and Medicare taxes from those wages; pay these taxes to the Internal Revenue Servicep report the wages to Social Security. For every $2,300 in wages, most household employees earn credits t...

  • Death, taxes and stepping up to the plate

    Kenneth Kirk, For Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2021

    Deadlines are a funny thing. Two months ago, I needed to get my Senior Voice column in, shortly after the election. So on the morning after election day, I took a quick look at the results, and it appeared we would have divided control of the federal government, with the Democrats controlling the White House and House of Representatives, and the Republicans controlling the Senate. So I wrote, in my column, that there would probably be no major tax changes for at least the next two years. And the...

  • Best Android apps, iCloud and Apple Keychain

    Bob Delaurentis, Senior Wire|Feb 1, 2021

    Q. I got my first Android smartphone over the holidays. Which apps do you consider must-haves? A. Best in class apps for Android are not hard to find. Depending on your phone model, many of them may already be installed. Here is a quick roundup of apps on play.google.com I think you should consider: Google Maps. The first and best of its kind, Google Maps will help you find your place in the world. Pair it with Waze for driving directions. Podcast Addict. There is no shortage of podcast apps. This app is a great place to experience what...

  • Get going again with a group vacation trip

    Victor Block, Senior Wire|Feb 1, 2021

    My wife and I had long dreamed of visiting Costa Rica. We knew about its reputation for magnificent landscapes, abundant animal and bird life, and preservation of the magnificent environment. We could have spent hours searching the Internet for flights and hotels, reserving a rental car and taking care of the many other details that are required. But we didn't. Instead, we made a single phone call that took care of all of the necessary planning. In addition, we knew that we would be following...

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