Articles from the April 1, 2017 edition


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  • Bill requires doctors to post prices

    David Washburn, Senior Voice|Apr 1, 2017

    A bill introduced this session in the Alaska state legislature would require health care providers to post medical care price information. The bill, HB 123, was sponsored by Rep. Ivy Spohnholz and co-sponsored by representatives Chris Tuck, Harriet Drummond, Justin Parish, Les Gara and Geran Tarr. The goal, according to a sponsor statement from Spohnholz, is to empower consumers to make better decisions about their health care options by ensuring accessible information on medical pricing. “Alaska has the second most expensive health care c...

  • So many alternatives to sugar

    Leslie Shallcross, For Senior Voice|Apr 1, 2017

    As a one-time professional baker (only slightly famous), I am well acquainted with the magic of sugar – a comforting sweetness, a foil for bitter, spicy and sour flavors and an essential for moist, tender and light baked products. In my more recent role as a registered dietitian, I am also aware of the pitfalls of eating too much sugar – cavities, obesity, elevated blood sugar levels and increased risk of heart disease. We are pretty clear how sugar leads to obesity, dental decay and diabetes; b...

  • How safe are your bank deposits?

    Teresa Ambord, Senior Wire|Apr 1, 2017

    Anyone who’s seen what I consider the best movie ever made – “It’s a Wonderful Life” – will remember the bank run that nearly put the town of Bedford Falls six feet under. Quick thinking kept that from happening in Bedford Falls, but during that time in history, bank runs took a serious toll on towns across America. From 1930 to 1933, nearly 10,000 banks failed or were suspended. That’s why, in 1933, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was created. According to the FDIC website, consumers haven’t lost “even one penny” of FDIC-in...

  • Legislation undermines value of human life

    Leonard T. Kelley|Apr 1, 2017

    Under the guise of compassion, a Physician Assisted Suicide bill (HB 54) has been filed by Representative Harriet Drummond. This so-called “Right to Die” bill is nothing less than “State Sponsored Homicide”. Homicide is the “killing of one human being by another human being”. In 1959 Alaska instituted its state constitution. Section 7 of the Alaska Constitution provides that no person will be deprived of life without due process of law and Section 22 protects a person’s right to privacy. The Alaskan Supreme Court in Sampson vs. Alaska 31P 3r...

  • New senior rides partnership in Fairbanks

    Steve Taylor, Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation Dept.|Apr 1, 2017

    Editor’s note: This letter was mailed in February, announcing a new arrangement for providing senior rides in Fairbanks. Dear participant, parent or caregiver: I am writing to you today to let you know about a significant change to the way we offer our high-quality recreation programs. Parks and Recreation is excited to announce that we are partnering with Van Tran’s paratransit program, which will begin providing the transportation element of the Adaptive and Senior Recreation Programs, beginning April 3, 2017. Why are we making this cha...

  • Until death do us part

    Tomi Nagai-Rothe, Diverse Elders Coalition|Apr 1, 2017

    We most often hear the phrase "Until Death Do Us Part" at weddings, when a couple commits to fidelity and love for one another until one of them dies. The traditional wedding vows say nothing about what accompanying someone to death involves. And most of us have no training in what the dying process involves and what is required to sit with a loved one as they are dying. My mom died in December at age 95. In reflecting on the end of her life, "until death do us part" is the phrase that keeps...

  • Prediabetes is a serious, growing health risk

    Octavia Chambers and Chung Nim Ha, For Senior Voice|Apr 1, 2017

    Prediabetes is a serious health condition that can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Prediabetes often flies under the radar and can go undetected for years due to the lack of any symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 86 million U.S. adults — more than 1 out of 3 — have prediabetes, but only 10 percent know they have it. Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but are not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Certain risk fac...

  • Spring training series on geriatrics

    Senior Voice Staff|Apr 1, 2017

    The Alaska Center for Rural Health and Health Workforce is partnering again with the Northwest Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Center (NWGWEC), The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, and The Alaska Training Cooperative to bring 10 weeks of high quality geriatric trainings to Alaska via virtual classroom. The 2017 Spring Geriatric Education Series begins March 28 and continues through May 30, 2017. Registration is open online at www.akcache.org The series will offer trainings each Tuesday through May 30, via virtual classroom via the...

  • Medicare covers variety of therapy services

    Jim Miller, Savvy Senior|Apr 1, 2017

    Dear Savvy Senior, Can you explain how Medicare covers physical therapy services? I’m a new beneficiary, and would like to get some treatments for my back. Need Help Dear Need, Medicare covers a variety of outpatient therapy services including physical, occupational and speech therapy, if you meet their coverage criteria. Here’s how it works. Medicare coverage To get Medicare (Part B) to help cover your physical therapy, it must be considered medically reasonable and necessary, and will need to be ordered or prescribed by your doctor. You can...

  • It's peak season for spring health fairs

    Senior Voice Staff|Apr 1, 2017

    Alaska Health Fair, Inc. offers 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. So take time out of your busy week and join AHF when they bring an event to your local area. A complete and comprehensive chemistry/hematology test is available for only $45; with 27 different panels for conditions ranging from diabetes, kidney and liver function, to anemia and tissue health,...

  • Nasal spray for sleep; apps for Alzheimer's

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Apr 1, 2017

    New nasal spray to improve sleep The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is giving the green light to the first treatment for frequent urination at night due to overproduction of urine. The FDA has approved Noctiva (desmopressin acetate) nasal spray for adults who awaken at least two times per night to urinate due to a condition known as nocturnal polyuria (overproduction of urine during the night). “It is important to know that Noctiva is not approved for all causes of night-time u...

  • Free training and support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Apr 1, 2017

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in April. This month’s focus is on the Senior Companion program, with coordinator Heather Daniels sharing about volunteers age 55 and older who make a difference by providing assistance and friendship to seniors, helping them remain in their homes. April 4, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m. April 11, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. April 18, Caregiver support meeting at Kenai Senior Center,1 p...

  • Haines: Now we're cookin'

    Doris Ward, For Senior Voice|Apr 1, 2017

    Haines seniors and those with disabilities prepared meals in adaptive cooking classes in the model kitchen of Veterans Village in March, and will complete the free sessions in April. The classes are being sponsored by Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) and Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). Haines Care-A-Van provided rides. Food safety, meal planning, and new recipes were among discussions. Margaret Sebens, SAIL advocate, demonstrated adaptive utensils and the model...

  • Free workshops on retirement, Medicare in Kodiak, April 21-22

    Senior Voice Staff|Apr 1, 2017

    AARP Alaska will present a free “Secure Your Future” workshop on retirement and Medicare in Kodiak, April 21 and 22 at the Best Western Kodiak Inn. “Get Ready for Medicare,” presented by staff from the Alaska Medicare Information Office, will discuss how and when to enroll; what Medicare covers and associated costs; when and how to choose prescription and/or Medigap coverage; Q&A. It will be offered twice, first on Friday, April 21, 5:30 to 7 p.m. and again on Saturday, April 22, 9:30 to 11 a.m. “Ready to Retire,” discusses fundamentals of inve...

  • Annual events in Anchorage, Fairbanks

    Senior Voice Staff|Apr 1, 2017

    The Anchorage Senior Citizens Advisory Commission invites everyone to the annual Older Americans Month Kickoff Event at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center on May 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This free event features refreshments, entertainment, a special keynote speaker and presentation of the Ron Hammett Award for public service. This year’s theme is “Age Out Loud.” Support for the event is provided by the Aging and Disability Resource Center, Anchorage Senior Activity Center, Chugak/Eagle River Senior Center, Older Persons Action Group...

  • Lights along Alaska's coast

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Apr 1, 2017

    The discovery of rich gold deposits in the upper Yukon River in the late 1890s brought a massive rise in the number of ships plying Alaska waters. Especially in Lynn Canal, a part of the Inside Passage. It was a safer route for ships to travel than the open ocean route to the west through the eastern Gulf of Alaska. But once the ships passed British Columbia, they had few guides through the Inside Passage. Weather and terrain in Southeast Alaska made traveling perilous – fog, rain, strong t...

  • Variety is the spice of Ed Asner's life

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Apr 1, 2017

    Don't expect Ed Asner's name to fade from casting lists anytime soon. With a variety of current and upcoming projects, 87-year-old Asner remains as busy and versatile as ever. It's a trend that follows a lifetime of dedication to his craft, playing bishops, doctors, judges, cops, cowboys, professors, villains and hundreds more film, television and stage characters and voice roles. "When I came out to Hollywood in 1961, I was determined not to be typecast," said Asner from his office in Los...

  • New estimates on savings needed for health care in retirement

    EBRI|Apr 1, 2017

    New research from the Employment Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) updates previous estimates of how much money Medicare beneficiaries are projected to need to cover health expenses in retirement, including premiums for Medicare Parts B and D, premiums for Medigap Plan F, and out-of-pocket spending for outpatient prescription drugs. The analysis shows that retiree health savings targets increased from 2014 to 2016, but that 2016 savings targets continue to be lower than they were in 2012 almost across the board. Specifically: • In 2016, a 65-ye...

  • Smaller sized estates may still require probate

    Kenneth Kirk, For Senior Voice|Apr 1, 2017

    Here’s another question I am asked regularly: how small does an estate have to be before it does not have to go through probate? Back when I was starting out, and in fact for quite a few years after that, the answer was easy. If it was less than $15,000 and there was no real estate, it did not have to go through probate. Anything above that, and it did. That was it, plain and simple. It was easy to figure out, although it was an awfully low amount, and that meant that a lot of cases had to go th...

  • Networking for Anchorage providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Apr 1, 2017

    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. The April meeting is April 12, hosted by AARP. Begins at 8 a.m. RSVP by calling Older Persons Action Group for more information on these events or to be added to our e-mail reminder list, 276-1059....

  • Fake news, fake phone numbers, battery dangers

    Bob DeLaurentis, Senior Wire|Apr 1, 2017

    Q. My daughter is upset with me because I get news from Facebook. I don’t understand why that is such a big problem. A. Social networks like Facebook and Pinterest get most of the information they present from users. Conventions vary, but generally sites only filter extreme material like pornography. There is nothing to remove inaccurate information. To make the matter worse, financial incentives exist to create and distribute false information. In the race for attention, quality is overwhelmed by spectacle. Rumors and facts become indistinguis...

  • Sweet spring in Vermont

    Dimitra Lavrakas, Senior Voice Travel Correspondent|Apr 1, 2017

    Vermont is all about maple syrup and that's just fine with me. Here in the springtime, smoke fills the air from sugarhouses busily boiling the sap from sugar maple trees in vats over wood-fired boilers. But much has changed in this cottage industry as maple-syrup-making hit the 21st century, and nowhere have the leaps in technology been so evident as on the Smith Maple Crest Farm in Shrewsbury, Vermont, where maple trees seven generations old twist toward the sky. Jeff and Mary Smith continue...

  • Annual Anchorage senior center book sale is a giant

    Senior Voice Staff|Apr 1, 2017

    It’s time for spring cleaning and the secondhand shopping that comes with it. The Anchorage Senior Activity Center is featuring a plethora of spring sales this April. The Giant Book Sale will feature an “amazing collection of every title imaginable,” according to the center’s website. Choose from a large selection of mediums including Alaskana, collectibles, puzzles, DVDs, CDs, records, videos and audiobooks. The sale will also feature a silent auction. The book sale will be held at the center on April 29 and April 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., M...

  • Teleconferences help you keep up with legislature

    Senior Voice Staff|Apr 1, 2017

    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 and more. Teleconferences are scheduled 9:30 to 11 a.m. every other Thursday and weekly during the last month of...

  • Our volunteers make all the difference

    Josie Wilson, Alaska Regional Hospital|Apr 1, 2017

    April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month, and at Alaska Regional Hospital, we are celebrating our amazing Auxiliary who serve our community. These incredible volunteers give generously of their time and talents to hospital patients, family members, employees and guests. They donated almost 6,000 volunteer hours during 2016. Volunteers serve in crucial roles at Alaska Regional. In almost every department, an Auxiliary member is providing a friendly face and helping hand. They are often the...

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