Articles from the November 1, 2023 edition


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  • Senior Voice wins awards

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2023

    Senior Voice has been recognized for excellence, winning seven awards in the annual contest sponsored by the North American Mature Publishers Association (NAMPA), a nationwide network of publishers focusing on boomer and senior readers. Awards were announced Sept. 21, 2023, at the annual NAMPA conference, held virtually online this year. Entries were independently judged by faculty of the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Missouri, who gave awards in categories based on...

  • Should you use a debt consolidation app?

    Logan Hickle, Better Business Bureau|Nov 1, 2023

    If you are considering debt consolidation, you are not alone. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, household debt in the U.S. increased by more than $7,000 from 2020 to 2022. Many individuals have since started turning to debt consolidation apps and other credit relief options for help. Better Business Bureau recently released an investigative report on debt consolidation and credit repair companies. At the time of the report’s publication, BBB had received more than 11,000 complaints and nearly 900 negative reviews about debt a...

  • Social Security payments will increase in 2024

    Social Security Administration|Nov 1, 2023

    Editor’s note: This press statement was dated Oct. 12, 2023. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 71 million Americans will increase 3.2 percent in 2024, the Social Security Administration announced Oct. 12. On average, Social Security retirement benefits will increase by more than $50 per month starting in January. More than 66 million Social Security beneficiaries will see the 3.2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in January 2024. Increased payments to approximately 7.5 million people...

  • Why take aptitude tests at my age?

    Karen Casanovas, For Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2023

    Q: I am feeling stuck in life. A counselor recommends I complete aptitude testing to help gauge my interests, preferences, etc. I’m skeptical since I’m in my 60s. How would it benefit me? A: When people find themselves at a career crossroads, entering retirement, or perhaps yearning to make a life transition, often it is difficult to determine what future possibilities exist. In order to make choices that fit your personality, your skill set, or do what makes you happy, think of ways to tur...

  • Series: Working past retirement in Alaska

    Lawrence D. Weiss, For Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2023

    This interview was conducted on Oct. 8, 2023, at Village Inn in Anchorage. Wilson Justin, please tell us a bit about your early history. Everybody calls me Justin, but it doesn't make much difference. It's Wilson Justin. I turned 73 on August 2, this year. I was born in Nabesna, Alaska, which is part of the Nabesna Valley, which is an old traditional homeland. I was born about six miles from the original village, 1950, mid-century. How about some high points of your work history? The guiding...

  • Lowering your blood pressure without medicines

    John C. Schieszer, For Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2023

    An estimated 80% of older adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. Maintaining healthy blood pressure can protect against serious conditions like heart failure, heart attacks and strokes. Now, a new study is suggesting that adding a relatively minimal amount of movement, about 3,000 steps per day, can significantly reduce high blood pressure in older adults. It is time to step up your game. "We'll all get high blood pressure if we live long enough, at least in this country," said study...

  • Hospice events spread holiday warmth and support

    Stefanie LeBarre, Hospice of Anchorage|Nov 1, 2023

    The weather is crisp outside, the leaves are falling and the holiday season is fast approaching. Typically, this time of year fills us with joy, laughter and festive gatherings surrounded by those we love. However, holiday traditions may also serve as a reminder of what is missing and the happiness of others can make grieving individuals feel alone. Hospice of Anchorage recognizes that the holidays aren’t easy for everyone. Our mission is to help individuals and families prepare for and live well with serious and life-limiting illness, dying, a...

  • Marketing can be intense for Medicare drug plans

    Sean McPhilamy, Alaska Medicare Information Office|Nov 1, 2023

    During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, you will likely experience more marketing from private Medicare insurance providers, such as Part D prescription drug plans. Companies try to reach consumers in various ways, like television commercials, radio ads, events, mailings, phone calls and texts. The government has rules, though, to protect you from forceful or misleading marketing. Knowing the rules and red flags can help you make the best choices for yourself during Open Enrollment. M...

  • Fall season health fairs are wrapping up

    Alaska Health Fair, Inc.|Nov 1, 2023

    November shines a spotlight on a growing health concern: diabetes. As we delve deeper into this awareness month, it’s imperative that we arm ourselves with knowledge and take proactive steps toward ensuring better health outcomes for ourselves and our community. What is diabetes and pre-diabetes? Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to properly utilize or produce insulin, a hormone essential for converting sugar into energy. Without this process, sugar accumulates in the blood, leading to various health complications. P...

  • Using artificial intelligence to improve breast cancer outcomes

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Nov 1, 2023

    New nasal spray for rapid heartbeats A fast-acting medication delivered as a nasal spray may soon allow individuals with intermittent rapid heartbeats to treat the problem themselves as soon as they develop symptoms, according to a new study. This new medication is still waiting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “This is a potential new and exciting option for patients to safely self-treat their rapid heartbeat without direct medical supervision to avoid emergency r...

  • Free help to quit smoking

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2023

    The annual Great American Smokeout public awareness event takes place Nov. 16 and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) plans to observe the day by highlighting resources for quitting smoking, vaping, chewing tobacco, and iqmik. ANTHC and the State of Alaska have resources available for quitting tobacco use: Contact the Alaska Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to learn more about free services for quitting tobacco, including over the phone and virtual consultation. Tribal health beneficiaries throughout Alaska...

  • New resource for Alaska veterans, military families

    AARP Alaska|Nov 1, 2023

    AARP Alaska, in partnership with AARP's Veterans and Military Families program, has formed a five-member volunteer Veterans Support Advisory Council. This group will connect Alaska veterans with important supports from AARP and local, statewide and national resources. AARP's Veterans and Military Families initiative honors service members and their families by providing timely information in four areas-Veteran Caregiver Resources, Fraud Prevention, Job Assistance, and service benefits and...

  • Free training, support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Nov 1, 2023

    If you are helping a family member or friend by being a caregiver, learn what kind of help is available. Family Caregiver Support Programs offer free support meetings to allow you to share your experiences as a caregiver, or support someone who is a caregiver. There is no charge for these services and everyone is invited to attend. Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska (ARA) organizes caregiver support meetings around the state, including Anchorage, Eagle River, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau/Southeast, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Mat-Su Valley, Seward, Sitka, S...

  • Remember safety when celebrating the holidays

    Christian M. Hartley, For Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2023

    The holidays are a time for celebration with loved ones, and to share stories about the past year. However, it's important to remember that safety should always be a top priority so that we can make it to the next year's celebration, too. Bringing guests into your home can increase your risks, but there are ways to address that. Prepare your home. Before your guests arrive, take some time to prepare your home for safety. This includes removing any tripping hazards like loose rugs or cords. Ensur...

  • The intriguing life of Fairbanks Elder Mentor and children's book author Judy Miller

    RurAL CAP Elder Mentor team|Nov 1, 2023

    Hello there! My name is Judy Miller. I am 80 years young, and published my first book at 80 years old. I've always believed that older people have an influence on the lives of younger people. That's why I believe the Elder Mentor Program works. You can share with the next generation some of the things you learned and saw growing up, and at the same time, you also find a way to relate to their generation and their time, too. For example, if you bring kids into a nursing home, the residents love i...

  • Making cards and memories with friends

    Maraley McMichael, Senior Voice Correspondent|Nov 1, 2023

    "Oh!" I said looking around at the ladies. "Did I tell you that I'm going to be a grandma?" A jumble of congratulatory words followed as well as comments and stories about grandmas and grandchildren. We were a group of ten women sitting around tables having a "card party" at our little local church in Slana back in November 2005. Conversation flowed freely at these once-a-month, all day affairs. We weren't playing pinochle or poker-we were making greeting cards. I had attended my first session...

  • Mat-Su thrift store charity has long history

    Randi Perlman, Valley Charities, Inc.|Nov 1, 2023

    Valley residents are familiar with turn-A-leaf Thrift Store in Wasilla. It's a warm and welcoming treasure trove of gently used wonders. From kitchen utensils to sporting goods, electronics to stylish jeans, artwork to furniture, or that one-of-a-kind collectible you haven't seen anywhere else, you're likely to find whatever you're looking for and then some at very reasonable prices. But did you know that Valley Charities, Inc., the umbrella organization under which turn-A-leaf operates, has bee...

  • Search for son launches Alaskan odyssey

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Nov 1, 2023

    Many adventurous souls headed north during the 1890s after prospectors first discovered coarse placer gold in the Yukon River basin on Fortymile River. But a widowed German immigrant who traveled that arduous route was in search of something much more precious: her son. Anna DeGraf, who lost her husband in the West many years before, climbed the Chilkoot Trail in 1894 at the age of 55. She hoped to find her youngest son, George, who'd left Seattle for the gold-filled Yukon region a few years...

  • Actress pens Connecticut's Hollywood connections

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Nov 1, 2023

    In her new book, "Connecticut in the Movies" released in October, actress Illeana Douglas explores Hollywood's long love affair with the Constitution State. "The book features movies from the silent era to modern films that were either shot in Connecticut or featured the state in some way in the storyline or production," Douglas told me when we met at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, this past summer. "On the one hand, you've got country-living comedies...

  • MASST offers job training for older Alaskans

    Jim Warren, For Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2023

    If you are reading this short piece, you are most likely a senior, like me, interested in continuing to play a role in the Alaska economy. I came to Alaska ten years ago, toward the end of a long career of college teaching. Now I'm coordinating the Northern and Interior regions of the MASST program. It is a challenging, rewarding job. I often say that nobody is learning more than I am in this program. It's also meaningful work, because I know that it is making a difference in Northern and...

  • A health savings account can boost retirement savings

    Jim Miller, Savvy Senior|Nov 1, 2023

    Dear Savvy Senior: I’m interested in contributing to a health savings account to help boost my retirement savings but would like to better understand how they work. What can you tell me? – Almost 60 Dear Almost: A health savings account, or HSA, is a fantastic financial tool that can help you build up a tax-free stash of money for medical expenses now and after you retire. But to qualify, you must be enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan. Here’s an overview of how they work and how you can open one. HSA rules HSAs have becom...

  • At home or on the go, Social Security is online

    Social Security Administration|Nov 1, 2023

    When you retire, if you become disabled, or if someone you depend on dies-Social Security is there when you need us. With your personal and secure my Social Security account, you can access your information, benefits and important services from just about anywhere. Having a personal my Social Security account allows you to: Compare future benefit estimates for different dates or ages when you may want to begin receiving benefits. Check the status of your benefits application or appeal. Review...

  • Oh no! Not Revenue Ruling 2023-2!

    Kenneth Kirk, For Senior Voice|Nov 1, 2023

    The most interesting thing about Twitter is that they changed their name to “X” and yet the ZZ Top song, “I Heard it on the X” has not been trending. But that has nothing to do with my topic today, so I’ll move on. The second most interesting thing about Twitter is that you get these conversations among experts in a particular field, but people who don’t know anything about that field get to wander in and out of the conversation. That can be fun, but it also leads to confusion and misinformat...

  • Music subscriptions vs. purchases; iPhone camera tricks

    Bob Delaurentis, Tech Talk|Nov 1, 2023

    Q. What is the best way to enjoy music on my smartphone or tablet? A. Digitizing audio CDs and copying them to a smart phone is still supported on desktop computers, but as more people move to a smartphone-only lifestyle this may no longer be an option for you. There are two major ways to get music on a smartphone: purchases and subscriptions. Of the two, subscriptions are the simplest to manage over time. The leading services are Apple Music and Spotify, both of which are available on all the major platforms and both cost about $10 a month....

  • Travel, education in one package from Road Scholar

    Dimitra Lavrakas, Senior Voice Travel Correspondent|Nov 1, 2023

    John McCool just returned home to Anchorage from an 11-day whirlwind trip with Road Scholar. He believes he's done over 40 with them, and says travel is made easy because the itinerary is so well planned. "You can't beat the prices, and it saves lots of time," McCool said. "No way could I have planned that-hotels, river trips, transportation." Road Scholar, the name a play on the Rhodes Scholarship for college students from around the world to study at Oxford University in England, offers...

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