Articles from the June 1, 2014 edition


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  • Keeping up with today's scams

    Theda Pittman, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2014

    Seniors are often the target of fraud aimed at obtaining money or personal information from them which will make it possible to obtain money using the identifying information. About one-third of the victims of identity theft are over the age of 50, according Michelle Tabler, Alaska Regional Manager of the Better Business Bureau. Tabler says the individuals in this age range are a popular target because many will be too embarrassed to talk about money which they have lost to a trick. In addition, she notes that some people may be easier to take...

  • Friends and poles add to the fun

    Dianne Barske, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2014

    I followed along as Tim Chinn, fitness director at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center, glided ahead of me. "Try Nordic pole walking," my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Stephen Tower, had advised, following my three knee replacement surgeries. "It's rather like cross country skiing, minus the snow and the skis." I'd never heard of it, but here I was, giving it a try at the center, under Tim's able guidance. Tim swept along silently in front, poling his way down hallways and across lobbies and through...

  • Don't let a scam ruin your summer, or worse

    Leonard T. Kelley, Older Persons Action Group|Jun 1, 2014

    Seniors must be diligent and not give out Social Security numbers or credit card information to telephone or email inquiries. Here are some of the latest scams. Medicine/service scam Scammers are looking to steal Medicare numbers and financial information from unsuspecting consumers. The victim receives an unsolicited telephone call or email offering free diabetes testing or other medical supplies. The scammer then asks for the victim’s Medicare number and address. Once the scammers have the Medicare number they can steal the victim’s ide...

  • Debt paydown ensures that a pension is a promise

    Gov. Sean Parnell|Jun 1, 2014

    Our state is home to more than 64,000 State of Alaska retirees. We appreciate their service to our great state. From teachers to troopers, many retirees receive a state pension, one that was promised by the state in the past. We have taken a big step in securing those pension promises. This session, my administration proposed, and the Legislature unanimously passed, the largest pay down of pension debt in Alaska history, fixing our unfunded liability that had threatened the state’s retirement plans. In paying down $3 billion of Alaska’s pen...

  • New Medicare benefits you should know about - but probably don't

    Alan M. Schlein, Senior Wire|Jun 1, 2014

    Dying patients may find it more difficult to get certain medications under new rules Medicare has recently put in place. Meanwhile, another set of rules could make it easier for seniors to get Medicare to pay for home health care services. Medicare has recently issued different sets of rules for payments involving hospice care and home health care services, as a result of a lawsuit settlement. But both of the rules changes are complicated and confusing and seniors may need some help in working their way through the changes. In an effort to crac...

  • Reviewing the legislature's accomplishments

    Sen. Hollis French|Jun 1, 2014

    To sum up the 2014 session: It was a good news, bad news session for Alaskans. I had the honor of serving as the Democratic leader in the state Senate, so what follows is a report from our caucus on some issues of importance to Alaska’s fast growing senior population. Established in 2007, the Senior Benefits Program pays cash benefits to Alaskan seniors with low or moderate incomes. The program faced an approaching sunset date, and Democrats offered a bill in 2013 to keep the program running indefinitely. This session the legislature voted t...

  • Everyone wins with senior job program

    Jenne Long, MASST program|Jun 1, 2014

    From July 1 to Sept. 30, 2013, the participants in Mature Alaskans Seeking Skills Training (MASST) performed 25,545 hours in community service statewide while learning skills that helped them find unsubsidized employment. In the program, qualifying participants are matched with agencies, located all around the state, that are able to train in skills the participant needs to find a job. Participants are trained on how to get a resume ready to apply for a job, where to look for jobs, and how to...

  • Dust off the rice cooker and improve your diet

    Leslie Shallcross, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2014

    Sweet Thai sticky rice with coconut milk, fragrant Indian basmati rice pilaf, glistening sushi rice and creamy Italian parmesan risotto – rice elevated from dull to delicious with some seasoning and respect. By respect, I mean the methods of preparing and cooking. In many cultures with strong affections for rice, an electric rice cooker has replaced the stovetop as the cooking method of choice. Several types of rice cookers can be found in most kitchen equipment stores. A simple rice cooker c...

  • State awards senior service program staff

    Alaska State Dept. of Health and Social Services|Jun 1, 2014

    Many newly arrived residents in the Juneau Pioneer Home are anxious about losing health, control and freedom. Some are aggressive due to dementia, or frail, with limited memory or mobility. Regardless, they soon learn they've gained new friends who treat them with love and respect: Certified Nursing Assistants Vhie Hermano, Nelda Reynolds, Maria De Guzman, Freddie Abad, Arsenia Sales, and Mary Ellen Yadao. The Alaska Pioneer Homes' mission is to create high quality of life for older Alaskans by...

  • Updates on Medicare, home repair grants, more

    Rita Hatch, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jun 1, 2014

    Affordable Care Act and insurance plans For those of you not in Medicare and have not yet enrolled in one of the Affordable Care Act insurance plans, you will not be able to do so until the next open enrollment, which will take place between Nov. 15, 2014 and Feb. 15, 2015. However, you can still apply for coverage through the exchanges before the next enrollment period, if you have a major change in your life. Qualifying changes include getting married, having or adopting a child, losing...

  • VA scandal hits mainstream media – finally

    Major Mike Dryden USAR RET, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jun 1, 2014

    As Senior Voice reported last month, the Veterans Health Administration has been caught in a cover-up of the mismanagement of our veterans’ waiting lists for some of their most critical medical screening services. This scandal now has spread to more than just the Phoenix VA Hospital, with more to come as the layers of the onion keep getting pealed back. The death toll of the gastrointestinal screening exam delays we reported last month now stands at over 100 with retired VA doctors lining up t...

  • Free training and support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 1, 2014

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings and trainings in June. This month’s theme is “Honoring Cancer Survivors Through Prevention.” Please join and share your experience as a caregiver or to support someone who is a caregiver. June 3, “Ways to Reduce Your Risk for Cancer,” Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m. June 10, “Ways to Reduce Your Risk for Cancer,” Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. June 17, “Cancer Symptoms You’re Most Likely to Ignore,” Kenai Senior Center, 1 p.m. June 24, “Cancer Sy...

  • New uses for medications, experimental devices

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Jun 1, 2014

    A vibrating capsule may help combat chronic constipation Researchers in Israel are now reporting success with a vibrating capsule for constipation. You simply swallow it and it helps get your bowels moving. In a new study, the researchers found that the vibrating capsule helped nearly double the weekly bowel movements of patients suffering from chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) and constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome (C-IBS). “Despite the widespread use of medication to treat c...

  • There are many ways to help out a caregiver

    Diana Weber, Alaska Long Term Care Ombudsman|Jun 1, 2014

    I’ve been exchanging emails and phone calls with a woman who is taking care of her husband at home. As his Alzheimer’s progresses, her days and nights become more and more challenging. She never knows when he is going to wake up and need her. She can’t always anticipate what he might do next, like lock himself in the bathroom. Hardest of all, she knows she can’t give in to her grief and cry because it scares him. He needs to see a smiling face. There are a lot of brave, committed family caregiv...

  • What can you share about historic Swank House in Anchorage?

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 1, 2014

    The Anchorage Senior Activity Center is looking for information about the historic Swank House, located at the east end of the center’s property. The home was owned by Harold and Gertrude Swank, built at 426 West 8th Avenue in 1937. It was rescued from demolition in 1981 and moves to its present location around 1985. The senior center’s Facility and Equipment Committee is attempting to assemble and trace the history of the movement and ownership of the house from 1981 to when it came under the control of the senior center. If you or som...

  • Business-to-business networking for Anchorage providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 1, 2014

    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 for business and agency representatives. The June meeting is June 11 and will be hosted by the Municipality of Office of Emergency Management. Begins at 8 a.m. Call Older Persons Action Group to RSVP and get directions to the...

  • Historic days in the Matanuska Valley

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jun 1, 2014

    Long before the Matanuska Valley became one of the fastest-growing communities in the nation, Russians tried to establish agricultural settlements on its fertile soil. They taught the Tanaina how to grow crops like potatoes, carrots, radishes and turnips. In 1844, Russians founded settlements at Matanuska and Knik, as well as Kachemak, Kasilof and Kenai. "A handful of Cossacks and a few hundred homeless mujiks [peasants] crossed oceans of ice at their own risk, and wherever timeworn groups of th...

  • Nearing 100, Norman Lloyd is still on the ball

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Jun 1, 2014

    Norman Lloyd admits he's taking things a bit easy these days. This year, he currently has only one film waiting for release and he now plays just two tennis matches a week. Still, that's not bad, considering the veteran actor, producer, and director turns 100 later this year. "People are always asking me for the secret of long life," said Mr. Lloyd from his home in Los Angeles. "Well, I have no secret and I suspect it's partly luck. But I do know one thing. You've got to stay active as you get...

  • Parents and grandparents lose right to make decisions for kids over 18

    Jonathan J. David, Senior Wire|Jun 1, 2014

    Dear Jonathan: I have a question about my grandson who is going off to college in the fall. A close friend of mine told me about something that happened to his granddaughter who started college a few months ago, and it really has me concerned. Apparently, she ended up being hospitalized for a period of time, and initially was in a coma – she is doing fine now. When her parents, who live a thousand miles away from her college campus, tried to get information about her illness, they were denied because their daughter was over age 18 and b...

  • How many cell phones, tablets can your Wi-Fi handle?

    Richard Sherman, Senior Wire|Jun 1, 2014

    Q. I want to create a new folder in my Documents folder so I can consolidate several folders into one. The problem is, when I create a new folder, it appears at the top of the list of folders, and the ones I need to move into this new folder start with a “W.” I cannot drag the “W” folders to the top of the list to get them into the new folder. Do you have a solution for me, Mr. M? A. Folders will appear alphabetically, so click the column heading and it will sort A to Z. Click the heading again and it will sort from Z to A. You cannot, however...

  • Visit to New England finds an Alaskan connection

    Dimitra Lavrakas, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2014

    New Bedford, a whale of a place to visit Before Alaska was bought by the United States, there was one Massachusetts city that already had direct links to the Territory. New Bedford, the number one fishing port in the country right behind Dutch Harbor, in the 19th century was the east coast center for the whaling industry, harvesting baleen and oil for the masses. Its ships took the long voyage around South America and up the West Coast into the Arctic Ocean in pursuit of the bowhead whale. In la...

  • Free home safety checks available for Anchorage and Mat-Su area seniors

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 1, 2014

    In recognition of National Safety Month, the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley is offering free home safety checks for area seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 million seniors ages 65 and older visit the emergency room each year with almost a third of the visits related to injuries, many of which are sustained in the home. However, almost half of all home accidents by seniors (48 percent) can be avoided according to a recent survey of emergency room doctors, condu...

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