Articles from the June 1, 2021 edition


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  • Providing for Alaska seniors throughout the pandemic

    Nadine Lefebvre, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2021

    During the pandemic, many organizations in Alaska reduced the direct services they provided, but that was not true for Southeast Senior Services (SESS). SESS worked to meet the changing needs of seniors and caregivers during this difficult time. Typically, in a non-pandemic year SESS, which is a division of Catholic Community Service, works with local, state and national partners to offer home and community-based services such as nutritious meals, door-to-door transportation, adult day services, case management, senior and caregiver counseling,...

  • Analysis: Has Biden forgotten his plans regarding drug pricing?

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

    President Joe Biden has laid out a long list of policy priorities - some more politically plausible than others. But what he left out of his sweeping infrastructure and family relief proposals – drug pricing reform, among other things – is as important as what he included. Biden, who served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years and as vice president for eight more, understood the politics of coronavirus and was able to successfully shepherd his pandemic relief bill through Congress, with only Democrat...

  • Why the controversy over a vaccine passport?

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

    There are many examples of the long-established right for public institutions such as schools, employers, governments and businesses to protect the health of others by requiring individuals to provide proof of vaccination or of a past infection, or seek a medical or religious exception. So why has COVID-19 vaccination become a lightning rod for controversy over “vaccine passports” and claims of violations of medical privacy or individual rights? Medical historian Dr. Howard Markel has written two popular books on the history of infectious dis...

  • Networking for Anchorage, Mat-Su area providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 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 currently meets virtually online via Zoom. The June meeting is June 9, hosted by the Thomas Center for Senior Leadership. Begins at 8 a.m. RSVP by calling Older...

  • Don't postpone your second dose of vaccine

    NHCOA Media|Jun 1, 2021

    In the United States, more than 40% of adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, however, most approved COVID-19 vaccines require two doses to provide a level of adequate protection. Delaying a second dose of the vaccine could put people at risk for any of the new variants and "are dangerously vulnerable to infection with variants that weaken the effects of antibodies," according to recent statements by Dr. Anthony Faucci, chief epidemiologist. of the White House. Another...

  • COVID: Earlier detection; reinfection in young

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

    Detecting severe COVID-19 earlier There is some very good news to report in the battle against COVID-19 as researchers may have discovered a way to detect early those who will become severely ill. Most people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop no or only mild symptoms. However, some individuals suffer severe life-threatening cases of COVID-19 and require intensive medical care and a ventilator to help them breathe. Many of these patients eventually succumb to the disease or suffer significant long-term health consequences. To identify...

  • Understanding when you should call hospice

    Amy Tribbett, Hospice of Anchorage|Jun 1, 2021

    You just found out you have a limited life expectancy. Let’s say six months to a year. Here’s the kicker: You get to choose how you spend this time. What does that look like to you? Maybe you would like to be surrounded by family and friends. Perhaps you want to mend some broken relationships before it is too late. You probably would like to be comfortable and free of as much pain as possible. What about the comfort of your own surroundings? Of course, you want your cat (or is it a dog or rabbit or bird?) to cheer you up daily. And the las...

  • Better health requires better motivation

    Karen Casanovas, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2021

    Q: How do I get my aunt who stays with me to do some form of exercise? I know it will help her and I’ve even offered to exercise with her so she isn’t alone, but she is still resistant. A: Physical activity is an important part of healthy aging. Frequent, repetitive, and enjoyable exercise can be a challenge. Many individuals see exercise as a fun social gathering as they walk outdoors or in the mall, but others find it tough just to get started. Any change is created through small steps. Whi...

  • Alaska Health Fair summer schedule

    Sharon Phillips, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2021

    Our agency has had a challenging year, as many non-profits have during our nation’s health crisis. The loyalty of many long-time clients, the curiosity of many new clients, plus many regular contributors have helped us to ride the crazy, wild waves of 2020-2021 and we didn’t go under water during the process. We are survivors and have proven this time and again over the past 41 years of serving Alaskans statewide. The Southcentral and Southeast health fair programs are closing their spring season at the end of May and the Tanana Valley Nor...

  • Medicinal uses for baking soda

    Suzy Cohen, Senior Wire|Jun 1, 2021

    Everyone has some baking soda in the house and if not, you should get some. Aside from baking with it, I also use it in my garbage disposal and to brighten my laundry. Sodium bicarbonate is known more commonly as “baking soda” since it helps make dough rise by producing carbon dioxide. Today, I’ll share the most common medicinal uses for baking soda, as well as a few household uses that make it the cheapest, most effective remedy in town. Consuming excessive baking soda is toxic because it’s so high in sodium. So if you’re taking it internall...

  • Getting help with Medicare costs

    Colton T. Percy, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2021

    Many individuals with Medicare find themselves struggling to pay the various costs associated with monthly premiums or prescription drugs. Fortunately, there are a number of different programs available to help. Medicare Savings Program The Medicare Savings Program (MSP), or Medicare Buy-in, is a program to help with paying Medicare premiums. There are three different programs you may be qualified for based on your income and assets. These programs are administered through the State of Alaska Division of Public Assistance. If you think you may...

  • Detecting strokes earlier using a phone app; Mediterranean diet and Alzheimer's

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Jun 1, 2021

    Preventing strokes with a phone app It may soon be possible to detect atrial fibrillation with your phone. About one-third of ischemic strokes, those triggered by blood clots, are caused by atrial fibrillation, which is the most common heart rhythm disorder. Since many people don’t have symptoms and are unaware of its presence, atrial fibrillation often goes undiagnosed. In some cases, a stroke is the first sign that a person has the disorder. American Indians are more at risk for atrial fibrill...

  • Free 'House Calls' webinars for family caregivers

    Katie Dougherty, AARP Alaska|Jun 1, 2021

    Mountain-Pacific Quality Health and AARP state offices in Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming invite family caregivers across the west region to a free public webinar series called, “House Calls,” which will demonstrate infection protection and other ways to keep loved ones out of the hospital. The webinar series is free, but participants are asked to register by visiting https://aarp.cvent.com/Housecalls_2021 or https://aarp.cvent.com/Housecalls_MP. The webinar series comes from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Project Firstline, which...

  • Family caregiver tip of the month

    Dani Kebschull, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2021

    If you are a family caregiver and have been feeling as if you are particularly stressed out by all the duties and responsibilities that come with your role, you are not alone. Here are some facts about caregiver stress from Caring.com: 40% of caregivers have been providing care for five or more years. Working women with caregiver roles are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty when they become elderly compared to women who have not been caregivers during their lifetime. Long distance caregivers spend an average of $392 per month on travel...

  • Seniors stuck with student loans: Problems and prospects

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

    Are you a senior chafing under the debt burden of a student loan? It may be perversely comforting to know that you are not alone. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in 2015, nearly 870,000 borrowers age 65 and older were burdened by federal student loans. Certainly the numbers are even higher now. Moreover, the amounts of money involved are staggering. According to AARP, in 2004, adults age 50 and older owed $47 billion in student loan debt. By 2018, that figure had exploded to $289.5 billion, making it one of the big...

  • Alaska seniors in long term care during COVID-19

    Savanna Simmerman, UAA Health Sciences Graduate, 2021|Jun 1, 2021

    As a graduating senior and assistant at an Alaska assisted living facility, I wanted to look at how COVID-19 impacted long term care residents. With careful attention to confidentiality agreements, and proper respect to resident’s privacy, I conducted a short, anonymous informal survey among the residents at the facility in Southcentral Alaska. Background on long term care residents and their caretakers In 2019, a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article reported that 46% of caretakers working in long term care homes missed a...

  • These golf gadgets can help older golfers

    Jim Miller, Savvy Senior|Jun 1, 2021

    Dear Savvy Senior: Do you know of any golfing equipment that can help older golfers? My dad, who's 76, loves to play golf, but arthritis in his hands has made griping the club challenging, and his fragile lower back makes stooping over to tee-up or retrieve the ball a problem too. Is there anything out there that can help? – Golfing Buddy Dear Buddy: There are actually a wide variety of adaptive golf equipment that can help older golfers who struggle with injuries, arthritis or loss of m...

  • Wasilla's 'Miles for Meals' fundraiser returns

    Wasilla Area Seniors, Inc.|Jun 1, 2021

    Back in August of 1989, Wasilla seniors got together and planned their first Miles for Meals on Wheels 5K. The event was successfully carried out on June 2, 1990 and raised a little over $5,000. There have been many changes over the past 31 years, but the Miles for Meals Fun Run, Walk & Roll 5K continues to be the largest fundraiser of the year for Wasilla Area Seniors Inc. (WASI). Due to lingering concerns about group events, WASI will host this year's 5K both in-person and virtually, in your...

  • Grant will preserve treasure trove of Southeast Alaska Native programming

    Sealaska Heritage Institute|Jun 1, 2021

    Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has received funding to digitize a major collection of audio recordings that include a trove of interviews with notable elders, clan leaders and other Native people that date back more than 35 years. The collection includes hundreds of recordings made for the award-winning public radio program Southeast Native Radio, which was broadcast by KTOO-FM in Juneau from 1985 to 2001. The recordings document Native history and action taken by Native elders, leaders and other people, and the hosts asked hard-hitting...

  • Sorting and stirring up memories

    Maraley McMichael, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jun 1, 2021

    January 15, 1963: Dear Mrs. Ridener. It is cold up there. I do not want too go. But I'll have to. I love you Mrs. Ridener. I love the collass too. Your frend Maraley While going through boxes of family stuff in early June 2015, one of my sisters found this letter that I'd written to my second grade teacher. The fat, three-quarter-inch tall, penciled letters and misspelled words ('collass' instead of 'class') plainly showed I was happy with my life in Anchorage. But my dad accepted the position...

  • Anchorage's Glaser recognized for service

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 1, 2021

    Congratulations to Gordon Glaser, who was announced in May as the winner of this year’s Ron Hammett Award for outstanding service to seniors in the Anchorage community. Gordon was scheduled to be presented the award at the Older Americans Month kick-off event May 26 at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center. Gordon has served on the Anchorage Senior Activity Center’s board of directors since 2011, six years of which as board president. He also serves on the Alaska Commission on Aging, currently as its board chair, and on the state’s Pione...

  • Library delivers books, more in Fairbanks area

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 1, 2021

    Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Libraries provides monthly delivery service to borough residents who are homebound or unable to access the library due to age or disability. Staff is happy to deliver hand-selected materials or specific requests. Materials include books (regular or large print), audiobooks, DVDs, music CDs, puzzles. The Bookmobile is remaining at the Noel Wein library for the time being as the curbside pickup point, and library staff are handling deliveries, including to outlying areas like Haystack, Goldstream, Ester,...

  • Settlers' early days in the Mat-Su Valley

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

    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 Dena'ina 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. Russian Alexander Herzen wrote in 1859: "A handful of Cossacks and a few hundred homeless mujiks (peasants) crossed oceans of ice at their...

  • Turning 80, Hollywood beauty Diane McBain tackles new career

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Jun 1, 2021

    According to Diane McBain who turned 80 in May, it's never too late to begin a new chapter in your life. Along with co-author Michael Gregg Michaud, the 60s glamour gal published her autobiography "Famous Enough: A Hollywood Memoir" in 2014. (See www.facebook.com/michael.michaud.90 ) She also recently penned her first novel, "The Laughing Bear." "And I've got another ready to be published," said McBain from the retirement community in Woodland Hills, California, where she has lived for several...

  • Social Security update: Elder abuse, spousal benefits

    Social Security Administration|Jun 1, 2021

    World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is on June 15. On this day, and throughout the month, communities, seniors, caregivers, governments, organizations and the private sector unite to prevent the mistreatment of and violence against older people. Social Security imposter scams are widespread across the United States. Scammers use sophisticated tactics to deceive you into providing sensitive information or money. They target everyone – even the elderly – and their tactics continue to evolve. Most recently, Social Security’s Office of the Inspe...

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