Articles from the July 1, 2015 edition


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  • Families strain to provide care for older loved ones

    Senior Voice Staff|Jul 1, 2015

    Results of a survey recently released by AARP Alaska highlight the level of caregiving Alaska families are performing for family members and other loved ones. Commissioned to learn about experiences with and opinions of Alaska voters age 45-plus on family caregiving, the survey found that nearly all (96 percent) respondents who are current or past caregivers say it is important to have services that allow people to stay in their own homes as they age. The survey results were released at the end of April, with press statements highlighting the k...

  • You might be participating in Medicare fraud

    Teresa Ambord, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2015

    If you watch much TV you’ve probably heard the ads for free or nearly free medical items, possibly a knee brace, back brace, or other device. “If you qualify for Medicare, then you qualify to get these items or services – all you have to do is ask. You don’t even have to need the items.” Why would the manufacturers do this? Because to get your freebies, you have to give them your valuable Medicare ID number, or other insurance ID, so they bill for the items. It is a way to drum up business, but the fact is, you may not receive the items at all....

  • Fighting fraud may pay you cash

    Teresa Ambord, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2015

    Medicare is serious about enlisting your help to fight fraud. If you suspect fraud and you meet all five of these conditions, you could be eligible for a reward of $1,000. Here are the conditions: 1. You report your suspected Medicare fraud. The allegation must be specific, not general. 2. The suspected Medicare fraud you report must be confirmed as potential fraud by the Program Safeguard Contractor, the Zone Program Integrity Contractor, or the Medicare Drug Integrity Contractor (the Medicare contractors responsible for investigating...

  • Get ready for the Alaska International Senior Games in Fairbanks, Aug. 7-16

    Senior Voice Staff|Jul 1, 2015

    Registration is underway for the 13th Annual Alaska International Senior Games, held Aug. 7-16 in Fairbanks. The annual event offers more than 20 sports and recreational events for participation, from distance running and tennis to horseshoes and pickle ball. Minimum age to compete is 50, with the exception of coed ice hockey, where women can be as young as 45. Registration ends July 25. For online registration and more information, including the events schedule, visit www.alaskaisg.org or call...

  • Physician assisted suicide is not compassionate

    Leonard T. Kelley|Jul 1, 2015

    Under the guise of compassion a Physician Assisted Suicide Bill (HB99) has been offered by certain members of the legislature. The so called “Right to Die” bill is nothing less than “State Sponsored Homicide”. In 1959 Alaska instituted the state constitution. Section 7 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 Supreme Court in Sampson vs. Alaska held that physician assisted suicide is illegal. Notwithstanding, authors of HB99 state that the bill is a...

  • Murkowski introduces legislation to curb obesity

    Jul 1, 2015

    Editor’s note: This press statement was received from Sen. Murkowski’s office on June 4. Senator Lisa Murkowski joined five of her Senate colleagues in introducing the bipartisan “Treat and Reduce Obesity Act,” which would help prevent chronic diseases and lower health care costs by addressing America’s growing obesity epidemic. This legislation gives Medicare beneficiaries and their healthcare providers additional tools to reduce obesity by improving access to weight-loss counseling and new prescription drugs for chronic weight managemen...

  • Should the state privatize Pioneer Homes management?

    Mike Dryden, Older Persons Action Group|Jul 1, 2015

    Unless you have been living in a cave in the Tri-border area of Pakistan, you realize the State of Alaska is facing a serious budget crisis. The Governor chaired a fiscal sustainability conference in Fairbanks earlier this year to address the state’s finanace and cost saving options. One of the many suggestions was to have the Department of Health and Social Services contract for a feasibility study to determine if out-sourcing or privatizing the management of the Pioneer Homes system was cost effective. DHSS is considering issuing a c...

  • Don't let a travel scam spoil your vacation plan

    Michelle Tabler, Better Business Bureau|Jul 1, 2015

    ’Tis the season for summer vacations! Whether traveling in your home state, throughout the U.S. or to a foreign country, taking precautions and knowing about potential scams could save you from a ruined vacation. Book online securely When booking travel arrangements and hotels online, it is safer to go to a company’s official website or call them directly. Do not click on online ads or links from emails. If using travel search engines, be wary of sites that offer prices significantly lower than other sites. If you choose to book through a thi...

  • Anchorage is celebrating its 100th birthday with theater

    Sarana Schell, For Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2015

    From a tent city in a U.S. territory, Anchorage has grown to an official All-American City and international hub in the 49th state. Cyrano's Off Center Playhouse is celebrating the phenomenal amount of change with an equally sweeping theater project: 10 plays, one per decade, over 10 weeks. The first show is in the first week of July. Local residents and their visitors will know the big stops on the timeline from 1915 to 2015 ­– statehood, the Good Friday earthquake, the Trans-Alaska pi...

  • Gastric bypass surgery's nutritional fallout

    Suzy Cohen, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2015

    Shrink your stomach and you will lose weight. The idea is perpetuated in our country and complications such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and bladder concerns make it feel dire to undergo a drastic procedure such as gastric bypass. I’ve watched 12 episodes of “My 600 lb Life” on TLC channel, and I’ve empathized with every person, it’s a great show that I highly recommend you watch. Gastric bypass may end up being your solution, but you may not fully grasp the long-term nutritional consequences of gastric bypass surgery. While som...

  • Probiotics are your gut's 'good guy' bugs

    Wendell Fowler, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2015

    White hats, black hats, good guys, bad guys. The dichotomy influences TV, classic literature, movies, and your temple. In life, balance is essential. When bad guys gain control of your inner universe, more good guys are required to restore peace. But its success requires your involvement. You’re eating “good guy” bugs when you consume yogurt, kombucha, kefir, tempeh, miso, and fermented kim chi. Kombucha tea is my personal favorite. Your gastrointestinal tract (GI) is a complex ecosystem where a delicate intestinal balance must exist, other...

  • Medicare benefits; new Social Security information

    Rita Hatch, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jul 1, 2015

    It is the middle of this year and time to talk about the valuable Medicare Preventive services that you are entitled to if you are on Medicare Part B, the part of Medicare that helps pay for non-hospitalized benefits. (FYI, Medicare Part A is the part of Medicare that helps pay for the expenses you incur when you are hospitalized. If you have worked under Social Security and paid into Medicare for 40 quarters at any time during your life, you automatically receive Medicare Part A without a...

  • New protection for Social Security numbers may be on the way

    Teresa Ambord, Senior Wire|Jul 1, 2015

    You may know that theft of Social Security numbers (SSN) among seniors often happens because thieves go after your Medicare cards. Experts say, never carry your Social Security card with you, to prevent theft of your SSN. But your SSN is printed on your Medicare card, which we are told we should carry. Thieves know this. For ages Americans have been asking our government to remove that critical number from the Medicare card, but to no avail. It looks like someone might finally be listening. With the rise of cyber-attacks involving medical...

  • PTSD and older veterans' alarming suicide rate

    Major Mike Dryden AVN USAR Retired, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jul 1, 2015

    It’s an alarming and disturbing fact but older veterans have a higher suicide rate than the general public, including returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. In fact, veterans over 50 years of age have a 70 percent higher suicide rate than the non-veteran general population. According to Tom Berger, executive director of the Vietnam Veterans of America national health council and a Vietnam Navy Veteran, “You know, ‘We’re just old guys, and we’re going to die, so why pay much attention...

  • Chore, handyman service planned for Fairbanks area

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2015

    Village to Village, the ever popular program for seniors throughout the Lower 48, will soon be making its way to Alaska. The planning committee along with North Star Council on Aging are planning to open a similar program in the Fairbanks area by 2016. “We’re still in the planning process,” says Barbara Lando, head of the planning committee. “We want it to be modeled after the Village to Village programs in the Lower 48, but we’re thinking about renaming it due to the popularity of the use of the word ‘village’ for the actual villages.” As...

  • 'Mental Health First Aid' clinics in Barrow, Anchorage, Juneau

    Senior Voice Staff|Jul 1, 2015

    Similar to ‘First Aid’ and ‘CPR,’ ‘Mental Health First Aid’ is designed to arm the public with skills to help individuals who are developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental Health First Aid is a non-clinical, public education experience offered as an interactive 8-hour certification course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use issues in the U.S. The course addresses the fear and stigma associated with mental illness and introduces participants to risk factors and warning sig...

  • Innovations in heart stents, cancer research

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Jul 1, 2015

    New dissolving electronic heart stents Researchers have now come up with an electronic stent that can provide innovative therapy and then dissolve. It is now estimated that every year a half-million Americans undergo surgery to have a stent prop open a coronary artery narrowed by plaque. However, a major drawback with stents has been that sometimes the mesh tubes get clogged. Scientists are now reporting in the journal Nano that they have come with a new kind of multi-tasking stent that could...

  • Free training and support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Jul 1, 2015

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in June. This month’s topic is “Firearms and Dementia.” July 7, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m. July 14, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. July 21, Caregiver support meeting at Kenai Senior Center, 1 p.m. July 28, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. Please join and share your experiences as a caregiver, or support someone who is a caregiver. If you are helping a famil...

  • Meeting Alice and the mayor

    Dianne Barske, For Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2015

    Is it Dutch Harbor or Unalaska? Should it be written Unalaska/Dutch Harbor? I reflected upon this puzzle as our small plane landed on Amaknak Island in the heart of the Aleutian Islands chain. I soon got my answer from what might be considered the ultimate authority, the mayor of the city of Unalaska. "You don't want to say you've landed in Dutch Harbor," she clarified. "That would mean you landed in the water – and you don't want to do that. You landed in Unalaska." That was settled. And we lea...

  • Gala fundraiser is a hit

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2015

    With a guest list of 310 that included Governor Bill Walker and current and upcoming Anchorage mayors, Dan Sullivan and Ethan Berkowitz, the June 10 "Evening at the Atwood Estate" signature fundraiser dinner and auction was "a wonderful response to a great cause," says Becky Parker, Anchorage Senior Activity Center general manager. "The owners of the Atwood estate have been absolutely generous and thoughtful. Tons of volunteers and community members went into making this happen. We wanted...

  • Who doesn't like a good mystery?

    Senior Voice Staff|Jul 1, 2015

    Kenai Senior Center will continue its "Mystery Drives" through October, weather-permitting. The monthly excursions are organized by the center's driver, Steve Latz, and riders have no idea where they are going when they get on the vehicle. The May drive took them to the Kenai Refuge Visitors Center; this month's mystery drive is July 21. Call the center to save a seat at 283-8214....

  • Stories at the Cemetery

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2015

    Stories at the Cemetery will be an Official Anchorage Centennial Event this year, and to celebrate the year 2015, the theme will be “Fifteen for 2015… And A Leg!” says Audrey Kelly, along with her husband Bruce. “One of the character’s legs was the only part of him buried!” The self guided Anchorage Memorial Cemetery walking tour on July 12 will feature costumed actors portraying 15 of the notable founders, movers and shakers and early notorious residents of Anchorage. Audrey will play Tilly Reeves, wife of Rob Reeves, founder of Reeve Aleut...

  • Anchorage wants to hear from its seniors for lifestyle survey

    Mackenzie Stewart, Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2015

    Anchorage seniors, your input is needed to help the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. complete its “Live. Work. Play” report on quality of life and making Anchorage the number one city to live, work and play in by 2025. The survey is short and to the point, with two questions: 1. Why did you move to Anchorage, and 2. Why would you leave? “It’s important to include seniors in this survey because they’re a such a big part of Anchorage, and their opinions are vital to the community,” says Denise Knapp, Executive Director at Mabel T. Caverly...

  • Alaska wins battle for statehood in 1958

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Jul 1, 2015

    At 2 p.m. on June 30, 1958, teletypes and telephones all across Alaska began buzzing with exciting news. After six days of debate, the U.S. Senate had voted 64-20 to add Alaska as the 49th state. The House of Representatives already had approved its admission by a vote of 210-166 on May 28. The long battle for statehood was over. Sirens blared in towns across the territory. Crowds celebrated in the streets. Alaskans had won their 91-year struggle for self-government. Following the...

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