Articles from the June 1, 2024 edition


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  • How seniors fared in the 2024 legislative session

    Marge Stoneking, AARP Alaska|Jun 1, 2024

    The 33rd Alaska Legislature concluded its two-year session on May 15. The legislature set out to prioritize energy and education policy in 2024, and those issues did take much of the session’s focus, political will, and compromise, in addition to the usual budget process. AARP Alaska’s 2024 legislative advocacy pushed for policies and funding that support aging in place, financial security, and improved access to healthcare. We saw major successes in our work to restore and expand funding for critical programs serving older Alaskans, with add...

  • Program offers housing assistance in Mat-Su

    Randi Perlman, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2024

    The twists and turns of everyday life can sometimes take a toll on families and individuals residing in the Mat-Su Valley, unexpectedly and through no fault of their own. Just paying the bills to keep utilities on and prevent eviction can become a serious challenge at times. But there is a program in the Valley that can provide financial housing assistance during those low times. Since 2012, the primary purpose of Valley Charities, Inc. (VCI's) Housing Assistance Program (HAP) has been to help f...

  • Health information: Reliable, free, easy to understand

    Lawrence D. Weiss, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2024

    Would you go to your doctor to find out why the brakes on your car are making so much noise? Would you go to your friendly neighborhood mechanic for diagnosis and treatment of a serious heart problem? I’ll just crawl out on a limb here and say, “probably not.” And that begs the question, “why not?” Really. Why wouldn’t you see a doctor about your car problems? Because smart as your doctor is, he or she has little if any training or experience fixing cars. Same for the mechanic. Great with cars. Doesn’t know squat about heart problems. See...

  • Ensuring health care for veterans exposed to PFAS

    Jonathan Sharp, Environmental Litigation Group, PC|Jun 1, 2024

    More than 10 percent of Alaska’s adult population are military veterans, many of whom live with a military service-related disability due to toxic exposure, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). However, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs does not recognize a disease developed during service on a military site with known PFAS contamination as a presumptively service-related disability. The VET PFAS ACT of July 2023 aims to assure medical care to ill veterans and their dependents exposed to PFAS by sparing them from unnecessary b...

  • More couples are living apart together

    Karen Casanovas, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2024

    Q: My neighbor and their spouse reside in separate homes. This is the third couple I have heard of living this way. Why do some people choose to live apart? A: Living Apart Together (LAT) is a modern relationship arrangement where couples choose to remain in separate residences while maintaining a committed romantic relationship. This phenomenon has been gaining popularity, challenging traditional notions of cohabitation and partnership. Let us explore the concept of LAT couples, examine the...

  • Osteoporosis: Underdiagnosed in men

    John C. Schieszer, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2024

    Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men, so it is often thought of as a women’s disease. Subsequently, it is underdiagnosed and undertreated in men, especially men age 65 and older, who are at risk for developing osteoporosis. In addition, the number of fractures caused by fragile bones in men has increased in recent years. A fracture after age 50 is an important signal that a person may have osteoporosis. Unfortunately, men are less likely than women to be evaluated for osteoporosis after a fracture. Men also are less likely to get o...

  • Avoiding, treating a repetitive strain injury

    Dr. Emily Kane, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2024

    Q: I work at a keyboard and my wrists get really sore. What can I do to prevent damaging my hands and wrists? I can't quit my job. A: Repetitive strain injury from computer work is a widespread problem in this age of electronic communication. You may touch keys up to 200,000 times a day -the equivalent of your fingers walking 10 miles. Holding your wrists, hands and back straight while keyboard walking is crucial to ongoing comfort and prevention of strains and pains. When you work with straight wrists and fingers, the nerves, muscles and...

  • OTT-LITE Lamp

    Assistive Technology of Alaska|Jun 1, 2024

    Ott-Lite table and desk lamps are designed specifically to bring natural daylight lighting indoors to help the user see details clearly and colors accurately. Ott-Lites can benefit individuals who need assistance seeing books, recipes, prescription bottles, crafts, puzzles, electronics, jewelry and more. There are Ott-Lite lamps that can be placed on desks or on the floor with high contrast clocks on their face, USB ports for charging electronics, magnifiers attached, or adjustable device...

  • Making health care decisions in advance

    Sean McPhilamy, Alaska Medicare Information Office|Jun 1, 2024

    This month’s article begins with a recommendation to prepare documentation of your personal desires as related to your medical situation and future health care needs. These can help convey your intentions should you not be able to voice them yourself. Next, a reminder that Medicare only provides coverage for services and equipment deemed medically necessary – you might find yourself in need of additional help with activities in your daily life. Finally, a mention regarding how hospice care pro...

  • Key screenings for improved men's health

    Alaska Health Fair, Inc.|Jun 1, 2024

    June is Men's Health Month, a time to raise awareness about the unique health issues men face and to encourage early detection, treatment and prevention. Alaska Health Fair offers a variety of blood screenings that can provide valuable information about your health. Take your blood test results to your doctor. Comprehensive Blood Chemistry panel. This test measures various components of your blood, providing insight into your kidney, liver, as well as glucose, electrolyte and lipid levels. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. Beginning at...

  • Effects of jobs and attitudes on memory and aging

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Jun 1, 2024

    Preventing memory loss on a daily basis When it comes to your brain, use it or lose it. The harder your brain works at your job, the less likely you may be to have memory and thinking problems later in life, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology. The study does not prove that stimulating work prevents mild cognitive impairment (MCI). It only shows an association. “We examined the demands of various jobs and found that cognitive stimulation at work during different stages i...

  • Free resources, support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 1, 2024

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following caregiver support group meetings in June. Meeting format is open discussion unless otherwise noted. June 4, Tyotkas Elder Center, 10:30 a.m. June 7, Soldotna Senior Center, 1 to 2 p.m. June 18, Kenai Senior Center, with guest speaker, Louise Heite from MA Speech Pathology, 1 to 2 p.m. June 20, Sterling Senior Center, 1 to 2 p.m. June 27, Nikiski Senior Center, 1 to 2 p.m. Support meetings allow you to share your experiences as a caregiver, or support someone who is a...

  • Guide your caregiving into a journey of hope

    Dani Kebschull, Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program|Jun 1, 2024

    “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” – Albert Einstein That seems like such a simple quote, not much to it, but for family caregivers it can mean a lot. There can be moments, or even days, when a caregiver may feel hopeless—like nothing will ever change for the better. Our sense of identity can get confused. “Who am I if I am no longer connected to the things that gave me purpose and joy?” Our future feels uncertain. Rather than feel hopeful, we feel hopeless. We wonder, “how long will this be my life?” The question pr...

  • First-aid basics: Knowing how to treat minor injuries

    Christian M. Hartley, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2024

    As the weather warms up and people become more active, keeping first aid in front of our minds is important. Whether you are enjoying a hike, playing sports, or working in the garden, accidents can happen when you least expect them. By knowing basic first aid, you can treat common injuries and prevent more serious complications. One of the most common injuries during outdoor activities is falls. If you or someone you know experiences a fall, remember to stay calm. Check for any signs of injury...

  • Black History is Alaska History

    Dimitra Lavrakas, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2024

    Two white guys have written a book, "Black Lives in Alaska." We are glad they stepped up. Ian Hartman, associate professor and department chair at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of History, and David Reamer, well-known historian, especially to readers of his column the Anchorage Daily News column "Histories of Alaska," both say they published the stories because of "the absence of material on this subject." "This book has its roots in the Anchorage centennial publication,...

  • Lead tackle is killing Alaska's wild birds, and only anglers can save them

    J.K. Ullrich, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2024

    The loon drifts in lethargic circles, its white-collared neck drooping into the water. Fish dart below, but the bird cannot eat. Paralysis spreads from its broad webbed feet to the lungs that once sustained five-minute dives. As its organs shut down, the loon will slowly suffocate or starve. Every year, an estimated 16 million birds suffer this torturous death from lead poisoning. Accidental ingestion of lead fishing tackle causes up to half of all adult loon deaths. But with a few small...

  • Maintaining prized garden cart becomes a saga

    Maraley McMichael, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jun 1, 2024

    In the early 2000s when my husband, Gary, and I lived in Slana, we would take turns going to Anchorage in the summer to buy groceries and other supplies. One of us always stayed home to mind our bed and breakfast business and the generator. Gary returned one trip with a surprise gift for me-a shiny yellow metal garden cart. Although I was delighted with his thoughtfulness, I wasn't excited about the color. I must have made some comment, because the next thing I knew, he'd painted it green. What...

  • Under construction

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 1, 2024

    Fairbanks Senior Center's reception area, pictured here in April, gets a serious remodel makeover, with removal of 1980s-era wallpaper and installation of new enhanced lighting, new flooring and paint and a new reception desk. The center's renovation project started in August 2023, and will include a 3,700 square foot expansion. Closed to the public due to COVID in March 2020, the center has undergone upgrades and expansion and will finally reopen this summer. An open house celebration, with a...

  • Recognizing service to seniors

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 1, 2024

    Congratulations to Jim Bailey, here displaying his award plaque for the 2024 Ron Hammett Award for Community Service. He was presented the award at the Older Americans Month Kick-Off Event, May 1 at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center. The award recognizes people whose work and dedication has benefited seniors in the Anchorage area. Jim's resume is long, being actively involved in many initiatives and workgroups to enhance the voice and safety of seniors, from playing an integral role in the...

  • Mulcahy, aka Mr. Baseball, comes to town

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jun 1, 2024

    The infant town of Anchorage, only a few years old, had always been interested in America's favorite pastime when William F. Mulcahy, later known as "Mr. Baseball," blew into the lusty, young railroad town in 1922. Everyone turned out to watch the games played evenings after supper and weekends. As far back as 1916, Anchorage had a regulation baseball diamond, built by the Bridge Engineers, located in what was known as Recreation Park in the railroad yards north of Ship Creek. A press box, with...

  • Paula Poundstone loves to work an audience

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Jun 1, 2024

    As Paula Poundstone continues her 2024 U.S. tour, audiences can be assured of an evening of hilarity as the comedian launches into a string of humorous stories typical of most observational stand-up comics. But at some point into her routine, the sharp-witted Poundstone will seamlessly morph into her trademark banter with audience members-a part of the show fans have come to expect and adore. It's a style that evolved out of necessity. "I've been doing stand-up for over 40 years, but have a...

  • Keep Social Security strong for future generations

    Teresa Holt, AARP Alaska|Jun 1, 2024

    Social Security plays a crucial role in supporting retirees and ensuring financial stability for many Alaskans. One in seven Alaska residents (107,982 people) receive the Social Security benefits they’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work. These guaranteed payments remain stable throughout retirement, unlike investments tied to the stock market or employer-based decisions. These funds are a primary income source for most retirees and inject more than $1.7 billion into the state’s economy every year. In Alaska, the average monthly pay...

  • Social Security's commitment to the LGBTQI+ community

    Social Security Administration|Jun 1, 2024

    June is Pride Month. It’s a time to acknowledge the LGBTQI+ community and also celebrate diversity, love, and respect. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states. We recognize same-sex marriages in all states, as well as some nonmarital legal relationships (such as some civil unions and domestic partnerships). This recognition is important to determine entitlement to benefits. Here are a few things you should know about o...

  • Mr. Monk and the survivorship clause

    Kenneth Kirk, For Senior Voice|Jun 1, 2024

    I love the old detective show “Monk”. The comedy/drama/mystery still delights me when I see it on the back channels, and Tony Shalhoub gave the defective detective just the right dose of humanity and humor. I always wait in eager anticipation for the “here’s what happened” moment at the end. One particular episode, titled “Mr. Monk Is At Your Service,” featured an estate planning twist. A wealthy couple each had children from prior marriages, a son in his case and two daughters in hers. They ha...

  • Child-proofing, cleaning and sturdy cases for smartphones

    Bob Delaurentis, Tech Talk|Jun 1, 2024

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