Articles from the August 1, 2014 edition


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  • Beware these money traps

    Mike Finley, For Senior Voice|Aug 1, 2014

    Do not make financial decisions based on emotions. Fear and greed can ruin a lifetime of good decision-making. What do I mean by that? You could have worked hard and saved your money for decades, but one bad decision in retirement can make your money go away in one fell swoop. Let’s take television. Most of the talking heads on television should be ignored when it comes to money. Their “analysis” is generally worthless and meant to scare you into buying (gold and silver for example) or selling (reverse mortgages are pitched because banks make...

  • Preparing for an emergency in three steps

    Michelle Torres, For Senior Voice|Aug 1, 2014

    Emergencies and disasters can strike quickly and without warning. Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy are stark reminders for older adults how quickly a disaster can disrupt your normal living. What would you do if your basic services such as water, gas and electricity were cut off? What if you couldn’t get your necessary medications? In a large scale disaster, much like the 1964 Earthquake, first responders may not get to you in the first few days. That is why it is important for you to be your own first responder. By following these t...

  • Go outside and enjoy summer while it's here

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

    We at OPAG advocate a healthy lifestyle for seniors. We encourage seniors to partake in every outdoor activity in Alaska, whether it is snowmachining, river boating, biking, hiking, hunting, fishing or photography. This July four friends and I fished the Arolik River, which is located southwest of Bethel. The river is only 25 miles long starting at Arolik Lake and ending at the village of Quinhagak. The river was particularly low resulting from a lack of winter snow and rain. This required us...

  • Opinion: State's Medicaid failures are hurting businesses

    Byron Mallott|Aug 1, 2014

    In April I challenged the Parnell administration to explain to the public the steps it has taken to fix Alaska’s Medicaid reimbursement system. This system compensates health care providers (i.e., hospitals, clinics, physicians, therapists, etc.) for the services they provide to the needy. The Parnell administration has taken three years to develop its new reimbursement system which it finally brought online last October. Ironically as Governor Parnell railed against the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, his own system utterly f...

  • Debating Medicare coverage for smokers

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

    Bipartisanship has surfaced, at least briefly, on Capitol Hill. More than 130 lawmakers, from both parties, are urging the Obama Administration to expand coverage for a lung-cancer test under Medicare – screening they see as vital for vulnerable seniors. But the decision could cost Medicare billions of dollars. In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the lawmakers called for a timely decision on coverage for low-dose CT scans for older patients at higher risk of d...

  • Free Wi-Fi connections can lead to sidejacking

    Better Business Bureau|Aug 1, 2014

    Sidejacking is a common term for man-in-the-middle “eavesdropping” attacks that occur through unsecured Wi-Fi connections. Coffee shops, college campuses, airports and hotels are breeding grounds for hackers who try to compromise personal information and place computers at risk for viruses. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington warns users to be cautious when connecting to public hotspots and surfing on a non-secure Internet connection. Using public Wi-Fi is inherently risky; laptops, smartphones and tablets are...

  • Three categories of political involvement

    Gene Wiseman|Aug 1, 2014

    Editor’s note: Gene Wiseman is a student at Wayland Baptist University in Anchorage. This essay was written for an assignment in his American Government class and submitted upon suggestion of the instructor, former OPAG executive director Ray Clements. No matter your age every citizen has a personal and civic responsibility to become involved in the political process. Citizens age 65 and older lead the nation in turning out to vote, followed closely by the 46 to 64 year old age group. However when it comes to volunteering time, the tables t...

  • Great medicine at your local farmer's market

    Leslie Shallcross, For Senior Voice|Aug 1, 2014

    If your goal is to maintain good health, hightail it down to your local farmers market and try a selection from nature’s medicine chest. Rarely does a week go by without new research showing that the vitamins and minerals and many bioactive compounds in foods provide real medicine for what ails you. Despite Alaska’s relatively short growing season and cool climate, I am constantly astonished by the variety of high nutrient vegetables and fruits that grow locally. Here are a few Alaska “powerhouse” vegetables and fruits you may want to stock u...

  • Unlock the power of Alaska's plants

    Senior Voice Staff|Aug 1, 2014

    The Third Annual Alaskan Plants as Food and Medicine Symposium will take place in the Anchorage area August 7-9. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium sponsors the event and says they strive for a statewide reach and encourage participation from a diverse range of community roles – traditional healers, medical providers, public health educators and researchers, instructors, culture/language bearers, elders and youth, tribal leaders, traditional hunter/gatherers, policy makers and lands m...

  • Don't let a key health care team member be under-used

    Lana Bell, For Senior Voice|Aug 1, 2014

    So who would you consider the most important member of your health care team? Your primary care doctor? Your specialist? Your pharmacist? In a crucial way, you are the most important member of your health care team. No one but you knows how many medications you take, or what side effects you’re experiencing. Many of us expect our doctors to be the experts in charge of our health care. They are experts, but on medicine, not on each of their individual patients’ lives. More than one provider may...

  • Medicare-related updates, corrections

    Rita Hatch, Senior Voice Correspondent|Aug 1, 2014

    To my wonderful readers, I must inform you that I may have to reboot my computer for nearly the last time, as I tell you about the inadvertent errors I made in my last column. It must have been a looong senior moment because I mistakenly used last year’s Medicare Deductible for Part B (hospitalization) which was $1,184 for 2013, and is now, $1,216 for 2014, and will probably change again in 2015, as it usually does every year. Also you can use the Medicare Easy Pay option, by getting form SF-551...

  • Volunteer brings Medicare information to you

    Nila Morgan, Alaska Medicare Information Office|Aug 1, 2014

    The Medicare Information Office is pleased to announce that the first volunteer has completed the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Foundations Training and the Group Presentation Training. Ms. Sharon White-Wheeler has recently completed both preparatory trainings. This puts the SMP on track to begin offering the Medicare Minutes program starting this fall. The Medicare Minutes program is intended to help the Senior Medicare Patrol reach people under the age of 65 with Medicare with good information...

  • How to request your military records (have a seat)

    Mike Dryden, Senior Voice Correspondent|Aug 1, 2014

    Important disclaimer: If you are a passenger in a moving vehicle and are reading this article to the driver, then stop reading out loud immediately. If this article is read in a public-radio-like monotonous voice, it could lead to drowsiness, possibly resulting in injury due to a car wreck. You have decided you need some benefit you have earned as a result of your military service. Sure, I know you were given your DD-214 upon separation and have it stored in the same place as your birth certificate, marriage license and deeds of trust like you...

  • 'VegFest' set for Sept. 6

    Senior Voice Staff|Aug 1, 2014

    Registration is open for Alaska’s first-ever “VegFest,” a day-long event Sept. 6 in Anchorage focusing on vegetarian and vegan lifestyle choices. Activities include keynote presentations by three internationally known authors, cooking demonstrations and an organic lunch provided by Organic Oasis (included with cost of registration). Organizers say similar events are popular in other parts of the country. “As people become more health conscious, as awareness grows of the meat industry’s addition to greenhouse gases, and as the plight of farm a...

  • New technologies for age-old health troubles

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Aug 1, 2014

    Brain implants may help restore memory loss Treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are severely lacking. Despite more than three decades of intense research and clinical trials, the only approved agents simply slow the progression of the disease. No agents have been able to reverse the damage caused by the disease. Now, researchers are taking a completely different approach. They are developing an implantable neural device to restore memory. Brain experts at the Lawrence Livermore National L...

  • Free training and support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Aug 1, 2014

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in August. This month’s topic is “Immunizations for Older Adults.” Aug. 5, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m. Aug. 12, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m. Aug. 19, Caregiver support meeting at Kenai Senior Center, 1 p.m. Aug. 26, 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 helpi...

  • Free medical, dental and other services for Fairbanks veterans

    Senior Voice Staff|Aug 1, 2014

    SFairbanks will hold its 16th Annual Stand Down for Veterans event Aug. 15 and 16 in Pioneer Park. The event brings together a myriad of free services and resources for veterans: Free dental, medical and optometry screenings, info and assistance on veterans benefits, employment and vocational rehabilitation, Social Security, legal questions, taxes, more. Free massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, haircuts, clothing, food bags, door prizes, entertainment. Friday, Aug. 15, is designated for clothing distribution only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All other...

  • Don't let assisted living home kick you to the curb

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

    In the last 30 days, the Ombudsman has received five complaints that seniors are being threatened with involuntary discharge from their assisted living homes. This is often a terrifying prospect to a frail senior who doesn’t have the energy or mental capacity to fight for the right to stay in the home. So this month’s column will consider the rights that residents have under state law. As one canny senior said to me, “I know they can’t just kick me to the curb.” First off, I hope that anyone wo...

  • Anchorage celebrates 45th anniversary with Sister City

    Senior Voice Staff|Aug 1, 2014

    Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan and the Anchorage Sister Cities Commission will welcome Mayor Kotaro Yamaguchi and 29 additional honored guests from Chitose, Japan, on Aug. 5 to celebrate the Municipality of Anchorage's 45th Sister Cities Anniversary with Chitose. Chitose is Anchorage's first and oldest sister city, dating back to 1969. Then-mayor Goerge Sullivan, father of today's mayor, was instrumental in establishing this sister city relationship. A transportation hub for Japan's northernmost...

  • Accessibility grants for Alaska seniors

    Theda Pittman, For Senior Voice|Aug 1, 2014

    The Senior Access Program, administered by RuralCAP, provides grants to seniors 55+ for accessibility modifications to their principal residence. In 2014 nearly $600,000 was available statewide. Grants to more than 30 people have ranged between $7,000 to $15,000. Once an application is received and approved, RuralCap staff assists with planning and oversight of the actual construction. The program is expected to continue in 2015. For updated information, RuralCap staff may be reached at...

  • Bethel senior center moving out

    Senior Voice Staff|Aug 1, 2014

    Bethel’s Eddie Hoffman Senior Center is moving out of its home. As reported by Bethel radio station KYUK, Bethel’s tribe ONC runs the senior program and can’t afford to keep it in the building that’s housed it for years. The senior program provides over 80 meals a day, many delivered to homebound clients, and up to 25 to 30 seniors visit each day. Bus service runs members to the post office, grocery shopping and on other errands. The program is expected to be moved out of its building by the end of September. While a new home has not been se...

  • Donations wanted for Mabel T. Caverly Senior Services fundraiser

    Senior Voice Staff|Aug 1, 2014

    Mabel T. Caverly Senior Services in Anchorage is seeking donations for its annual Parcel Post Party, one of its biggest fundraisers and takes place Sept. 25 this year at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, inside the Athabascan Ceremonial House. The event includes bidding on donated gift packages. If you are traveling, even inside the state, buy a few things from that area in the $25 to $30 price range that you think would make a good gift and drop them off at Mabel T. Caverly’s downtown office, 911 W. 8th Avenue, Suite 104. This is also a g...

  • Commission on Aging to meet in Fairbanks

    Senior Voice Staff|Aug 1, 2014

    The Alaska Commission on Aging will hold its quarterly meeting September 15 - 18 in Fairbanks. In addition to the usual business meeting and updates from senior service agencies, commissioners will attend site visits to local senior housing facilities, health care providers in and around the Fairbanks area on Sept. 17. There also will be an Elder-Senior Community Forum, to help assess activities and needs related to the Alaska State Plan for Senior Services, FY2016-2019. More information will be available on the commission’s website at w...

  • Mark your calendar for the state fair

    Senior Voice Staff|Aug 1, 2014

    The Kenai Peninsula Fair takes place Aug. 15-17 in Ninilchik. Admission price is $6 for seniors. Along with the usual exhibits and competitions, there are numerous musical headliner acts, carnival rides, racing pigs and much more. Information is available on the fair’s Facebook page and at www.kenaipeninsulafair.org. This year’s Alaska State Fair in Palmer takes place Aug. 21–Sept. 1. Senior (age 65 and older) admission is $9 weekdays, $10 weekends (discount of $2 if tickets is pre-purchased before Aug. 20). Other pricing packages are available...

  • Business-to-business networking for Anchorage senior service providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Aug 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 August meeting is Aug. 13 and will be hosted by Day Break Adult Day Services. Begins at 8 a.m. Call Older Persons Action Group to RSVP and get directions to the event, or for more...

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