Articles from the March 1, 2018 edition


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  • House votes to extend Senior Benefits program

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Mar 1, 2018

    HB 236, the House bill seeking to extend the sunset date for the Alaska Senior Benefits Program, was approved by the House of Representatives 35-1 on Feb. 7 and is currently waiting to be reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee. The program supports nearly 11,400 seniors statewide, according to a figure from the Alaska Commission on Aging (ACoA), but without an extension of the sunset clause will end on July 1, 2018. In the January 2018 issue of Senior Voice, Denise Daniello, Executive Director of the ACoA, stated the importance of advocacy...

  • Keep up to date on the legislature

    Senior Voice Staff|Mar 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, Senior Benefits program, state budget and funding, senior assistance, retirement, Pioneer Homes and more. Teleconferences are scheduled 9:30 to 11 a.m....

  • Flight delay leads to fascinating encounter

    Maraley McMichael, For Senior Voice|Mar 1, 2018

    My husband dropped me off at the Anchorage airport for a flight to Denver early last November. It wasn't until after I'd gone through TSA that I learned my flight was delayed for two hours. I wasn't ready to sit and read and I found myself restlessly wandering the aisle checking out the stores between my gate and TSA. After I enjoyed perusing the Alaskan books on display at the front of the bookstore, I decided to treat myself to a specialty coffee. While standing in line, I noticed the sign for...

  • Rewriting the rules and regs – guess who bears the brunt

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

    The frenetic pandemonium of Donald Trump’s first year as president has overshadowed his administration’s efforts through executive orders and regulation changes to reshape American life. Stymied by his failure to win congressional approval for most of his big-ticket campaign promises like a border wall with Mexico or the total repeal of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform, Trump has turned to administrative action for his successes. As he learned with the tax cuts, working with Congress on legislation often takes time. But a...

  • Wake up! Now is when you have energy left

    Nicolas Pena, National Hispanic Council on Aging|Mar 1, 2018

    Agueda González is Dominican, and though she is 83 years old, she says she feels 60 (and that's how she looks). A single mother, with a suitcase full of hope, she arrived in the United States more than 30 years ago. "I was 50 years old, another full life ahead and two beautiful children to be raised. Some friends told me, 'Agueda you are too old to start a new life in a different country,' and I answered them, 'It will be a new life, and it is just the beginning'." For 18 years she cared for...

  • Marijuana: Legalization and risks for older users

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

    Yes, it’s true. In the late 1960s I illegally smoked (and inhaled!) marijuana at “pot parties.” Sometimes my drug-induced paranoia escalated wildly and I knew I was going to spend my squandered youth in prison. Happily, toward the end of that period of my life I ended up with a college degree rather than a prison sentence. Now marijuana is legal in Alaska and many other states, although the legal situation remains a bit muddy at the federal level. However, the new ease of access to marijuana has special significance for older persons in Alask...

  • Spring health fairs abound in March

    Alaska Health Fair, Inc.|Mar 1, 2018

    We are now in active health fair season, so check out our March fairs, listed at the bottom of this article. Make it to one of these events and you’ll find a variety of resources to help meet your family’s health needs and enjoy some great community gatherings. Alaska Health Fair events offer free health screenings, health and safety education, plus 11 affordable blood tests and other services that cost about 20 to 25 percent of what you would pay at a clinic or doctor’s office. These tests can help you learn about your overall health and d...

  • Don't miss out on Medicare's General Enrollment Period

    Nila Morgan, For Senior Voice|Mar 1, 2018

    Well, here we are, in the middle of the annual General Enrollment Period (GEP) for Medicare. Unlike the annual Part D Open Enrollment Period, for prescription drug coverage, which runs each year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, the GEP runs from Jan. 1 to March 31 of each year. This enrollment period is your opportunity to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B if you have missed your initial enrollment period (IEP) that spans the seven-month window surrounding your birth month the year you turn 65. You...

  • Agent Orange impacted more than just Vietnam veterans

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

    Most Vietnam Veterans are aware VA benefits exists for a wide range of adult onset illnesses that qualify for presumptive causation from the effects of Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War. After many decades of testimony and case law, Congress finally directed the VA in 1991 by passing the Agent Orange Act to re-evaluate their stance on the effects of Agent Orange. Section 1116 of title 38 USC and ss 38 3.307 and ss 3.309 states if you served in Vietnam anytime from Jan. 9, 1962, and Ma...

  • Upcoming events at Hospice of Anchorage

    Hospice of Anchorage|Mar 1, 2018

    Save the Date for Hospice of Anchorage’s 16th Annual Heroes of Healthcare Awards Black Tie Event and Auction at the Anchorage Marriott Hotel on Saturday, April 14. Heroes of Healthcare is a way to recognize significant contributions and service to the community. This event is also an annual fundraiser for Hospice of Anchorage. Individuals have the opportunity to sponsor a table and bring eight guests to attend the event as well as participate in the silent and live auction. There are different levels of sponsorship starting at partner level of...

  • March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

    Alaska Brain Injury Network|Mar 1, 2018

    There are over 11,000 Alaskans living with a traumatic or acquired brain injury (Alaska Scorecard 2016, DHSS). This number only reflects injuries that are reported at a hospital; many individuals do not seek medical care following a brain injury, making it difficult to truly grasp the number of Alaskans living with this hidden disability. A brain injury happens in a nano-second and can happen to anyone. It does not discriminate based on age, gender, race or socioeconomic status. A traumatic brain injury is an insult to the brain from an...

  • Free training and support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Mar 1, 2018

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in March. This month’s meeting topic is “The Power of Music in Caring for People with Dementia.” Come learn more about the therapeutic effects of music such as connection, remembering happier times, comfort and sense of belonging, lifting of spirits, and relieving boredom. March 6, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m. March 13, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. March 20, Caregiver support meeti...

  • Oxygen therapy is not a prison sentence

    Amy Abbott, Senior Wire|Mar 1, 2018

    An old cliché says, “as easy as breathing.” For millions of seniors, breathing doesn’t come easily without the assistance of oxygen therapy. Our body needs about 22 percent oxygen, so our cells work correctly, says the American Thoracic Society. People with compromised lungs may not get enough oxygen into their blood and need help. According to Grand View Research, advances in technology and rising prevalence of the respiratory disease will result in increased growth in the oxygen therapy business. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)...

  • Positive Outcomes for Alaska Native Elders

    National Resource Center for Alaska Native Elders|Mar 1, 2018

    The National Resource Center for Alaska Native Elders, in partnership with the National Indigenous Elder Justice Initiative, will be hosting a workshop to provide training, education, and national/state/tribal resources for the identification and prevention of Elder Abuse among Alaska Natives. This free two-day training event targets those working directly with Native elders either in urban and/or rural areas, with attendees including Community Health Aides, VPSOs, Ombudsman, Adult Protective Services officers, caregivers, family members and...

  • Biodegradable implants; new cancer blood tests; Mediterranean diet for seniors

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Mar 1, 2018

    New blood test for detecting early-stage colorectal cancer A new study has found that a simple blood test can identify circulating tumor cells (CTCs) present in the bloodstream and detect colorectal cancer at an early stage. A preliminary study has found the new blood test has accuracy ranging from 84 to 88 percent. Most prior studies using CTCs have been able to detect late-stage colorectal cancer. However, this is one of the first clinical studies to show that CTCs can be useful for detecting...

  • Memoir-writing can benefit from group effort

    Judith Kalles, For Senior Voice|Mar 1, 2018

    Almost everybody over 50 has given at least passing thought to writing a memoir — a personal history. Most people drop the idea because they are too busy or think they would never be able to sit down and actually write such a thing. But some Alaska seniors follow through and get the job done. A few of them get really serious about it and gather each Tuesday at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center to participate in the center’s Memoir Writing Group. They meet to read each other samples of their writing, and their ideas, and to offer sug...

  • Ray Naddy: Overcoming with art

    Burton Laine, The Senior Reporter|Mar 1, 2018

    Ray Naddy could be looked at as an ultimate overcomer. He grew up in Duluth in a family that went through tragedy early in his life, leaving him with a speech defect. He struggled through school. It wasn't until about 1945 that tape recorders became affordable, and he was able to listen to himself talk. "By listening to myself on the tape, I was able to make the changes needed to be able to speak coherently," he says. After high school in 1947, he went to college and took an unusual turn. He...

  • Fairbanks retiree is nation's top fundraiser

    Kris Capps, For Senior Voice|Mar 1, 2018

    When Jeff Cook of Fairbanks light heartedly agreed to raise money for the Real Men Wear Pink campaign last fall, he had no idea it would become a driving force in his life and lead to important health awareness for his own family. Cook, now retired, is the nation's top fundraiser for this American Cancer Society benefit program. In 2017, he topped more than 3,000 Real Men Wear Pink fundraisers in much larger cities. The new retiree raised more than $120,000 for the American Cancer Society, with...

  • Register now for OLÉ spring classes

    Barbara Brown, For Senior Voice|Mar 1, 2018

    What interests you? Musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein or the History of UFOs in the U.S.? Learning about Dena'ina culture or learning to read music? Maybe you'd just want a class in Children's Literature for Grandparents? Classes without homework, grades or papers – oh, my! Or maybe you just want to hear about the exciting trips around the world other people have taken. All that and more are in the course catalog for the spring term for OLÉ! OLÉ stands for Opportunities for Lifelong Edu...

  • Border dispute heats up due to gold

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

    There was no border established between the Great Land and Canada when the U.S. agreed to purchase Alaska from Russia for 2 cents an acre in March 1867. The lack of an agreed-upon boundary caused problems from the get-go. Russian maps of the time showed more land belonging to them than was stipulated in an 1825 treaty between Russia and Great Britain. That treaty divided the Northwest American territories between the Hudson's Bay Company and the Russian-American Company trading areas and...

  • Marlyn Mason, more than an 'Elvis Girl'

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Mar 1, 2018

    Beginning in 1960 and for some three decades thereafter, Marlyn Mason appeared in almost 100 television series, earning the unofficial title of TV "Guest Star Queen." While her film roles were far fewer, fans of Elvis Presley movies remember the actress as Elvis's vivacious co-star in his next-to-last film, 1969's "The Trouble with Girls." However, Marlyn left Hollywood – literally – in the early 1990s. "When my Hollywood career came to a halt I moved to Oregon," said Mason from her home in Med...

  • The nuts and bolts of Section 529 College Savings Plans

    Teresa Ambord, Senior Wire|Mar 1, 2018

    A good education is getting harder to come by, and that’s true not just for college but starting in kindergarten. If you are looking to help ensure your grandkids get a quality education, you might consider opening a 529 plan. If protecting your income from the estate tax is another goal, a 529 plan can help accomplish both. And with the new tax bill, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the rules for 529 plans just got easier. Not only can you use the plans to pay for college costs, but you can generally make tax-free withdrawals of up to $10,000...

  • The patient, the surrogate and the pulled plug

    Kenneth Kirk, For Senior Voice|Mar 1, 2018

    This is a subject which, for a lot of people, is going to touch on some very personal, and perhaps painful, circumstances. Some years back, I was involved in a case involving termination of life support, which went all the way to the Alaska Supreme Court. It was a horrible case for everyone involved. A middle-aged lady had choked on some food, and suffered anoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain). A mere nine days later, the doctors wanted to end all life support, insisting that she was never going...

  • Kindle advice; how to leave Facebook

    Bob DeLaurentis, Senior Wire|Mar 1, 2018

    Q. My wife and I spend the winter months in our RV. We are both voracious readers, and I am considering a Kindle to help declutter our coach. Which one do you recommend? A. The simple answer is that any Kindle is better than no Kindle at all. Each of the four current models has advantages and drawbacks, so here are a few items to consider. The entry level model, which sells for less than $100, is probably best avoided. The screen is an older design, and I much prefer the sharper screens used on newer models. The second model in the lineup, the...

  • Maine's many islands and harbors beckon

    Dimitra Lavrakas, Senior Voice Travel Correspondent|Mar 1, 2018

    I thought the older couple coming into The Harbor Cafe in Stonington, Maine, on Deer Island, for the Monday night two-for-one $19.99 special was going to bolt and run at the sight of strangers. It's off-season in Maine and locals yearn to see only locals about town, but there we were - enjoying that same special. "People here really expect a break from the tourists at this time of year," says Dana Durst, who along with Jay Brown owns The Inn On The Harbor in Stonington (www.innontheharbor.com)....

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