Articles from the May 1, 2013 edition


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  • 'Silver Alert' bill gets through

    Sara J Hardan Smith, For Senior Voice|May 1, 2013

    The 28th Alaska State Legislative session wrapped up on April 15 with many bills passing on to Governor Sean Parnell for signature and others that were stuck in the various committees or did not get a hearing. During the final Alaska Commission on Aging legislative teleconference, guest Speaker Rep. Cathy Munoz, R-Juneau, expressed to the group how grueling the session was. “It was physically taxing on the members,” she said. She explained that HB 4, an act relating to the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation to continue progressing tow...

  • Dog-biscuit diplomacy

    Zaz Hollander, For Senior Voice|May 1, 2013

    Kitty the dog is a bonafide home-meal delivery alarm. The 4-year-old black furball starts wriggling before the Palmer Senior Center van loaded with lunches even rumbles down the road. “Kitty knows when he turns that corner out there,” Susie Kammermeyer said, standing in the doorway with husband Leo as their little Shih-poo munched on a treat. “She gets excited.” The couple gets meals from the Palmer senior center’s food-delivery program that serves Mat-Su Valley residents from Sutton to Meadow...

  • Budget deficit will squeeze older Alaskans

    Leonard Kelley, OPAG Board President|May 1, 2013

    The world is an economic mess. People with means are doing fine but they are a small portion of the population. We here in Alaska have not been hit as hard as parts of Europe but some of our older residents have changed their expectations. The March copy of the state Dept. of Labor Economic Trends show that Alaskans in the 55 to 65-plus age bracket are increasingly participating in the overall labor force. The percentage of increased participation is up about 6 percent for 2011 compared to previous years. It is more likely than not that the inc...

  • Unleash your power during Older Americans Month

    Alaska Commission on Aging|May 1, 2013

    May is Older Americans Month in Alaska, a time to recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of older Alaskans. This tradition is based on the Older Americans Month celebration that began with President Kennedy in 1963 to honor older Americans. Alaska’s senior advisory commissions, senior centers and other senior community organizations will be hosting special activities during the month of May to honor the value that older Alaskans continue to contribute to their families and communities. The theme for the 2013 Older A...

  • Analysis: Budget battles' increasing impact on seniors

    Alan M. Schlein, Senior Wire|May 1, 2013

    President Barack Obama took a political gamble at the beginning of April by proposing to curb the growth of Medicare and Social Security. In upsetting his liberal political base, Obama hopes his concessions will draw rank and file Senate Republicans into a budget deal that, so far, has proven elusive. Obama released his proposed $3.778 trillion budget recently, for the fiscal year beginning in October – the first salvo in a long process full of political gamesmanship, partisan rhetoric and hopefully, ultimately, an agreement on a broad d...

  • There are no easy answers for long-term care

    Ron Pollack, Families USA|May 1, 2013

    Tax time has just passed. For many people, that’s a time to take stock of finances and to start planning for the future. That should include plans in case you or a family member need long-term care. It’s a tough topic. But if you plan ahead, you’re more likely to get the kind of care you want. Here are some questions and answers to help you jump-start the process. If you need long-term care, what are your preferences? Once, long-term care meant staying in a nursing home. Not anymore. Today, there are assisted living facilities, retir...

  • How strokes impact Alaskans' quality of life

    Senior Voice Staff|May 1, 2013

    National Stroke Awareness Month takes place in May every year. On May 11, 1989, President George Bush signed Presidential Proclamation 5975 designating May as National Stroke Awareness Month. Since then, National Stroke Association has been honoring this special time of the year to increase public awareness of stroke in an effort to conquer it. Here are some facts about stroke in Alaska, provided by the Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program: What is stroke costing...

  • Health fairs in May

    Senior Voice Staff|May 1, 2013

    Alaska Health Fair, Inc. wraps up its spring health fairs this month at various locations around the state. The health fairs offer free health screenings and education, low cost blood tests and can help you learn about your health and detect potential problems early, when treatment or changes in personal habits can be most effective. The test results give you and your health care provider important information about your physical condition and vital organ functions. Remember, if you plan on any tests requiring a blood draw, drink lots of water...

  • There is gender bias in long-term care insurance costs

    Rita Hatch, Senior Voice Correspondent|May 1, 2013

    Just as many retiring baby boomers are seeking to buy long-term care insurance, the companies that provide it are making it more difficult to purchase by raising premiums, weakening coverage and charging women higher rates than men. According to data from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, premiums have risen dramatically in just the last year, by an average of 10 percent for couples and 20 percent for singles. Alternatively, more companies are giving customers the option to...

  • In patient or outpatient? Know your hospital status

    Jeanne Larson, Alaska Medicare Information office|May 1, 2013

    Understanding your benefits and knowing your hospital status (whether you are an “inpatient” or “outpatient”) can help determine what you pay out-of-pocket or if your services will be covered by Medicare. Medicare Part A (hospital) provides coverage for services as an inpatient when a doctor formally orders your admission to the hospital. Medicare Part B (medical) covers outpatient services such as emergency room services, outpatient surgery, lab tests, x-rays and observation services, and the doctor has not admitted you as an inpatie...

  • Don't get mugged by your diabetes medication

    Suzy Cohen, Senior Wire|May 1, 2013

    Dear Pharmacist: I have your Diabetes Without Drugs book and it has helped me, but I’m still on two of the original five medications for this condition. What nutrients should I take with my medicine? -- B.B., Micanopy, Florida Answer: For my new readers, the term “drug mugger” is something that my followers understand from 14 years of my writing, and it’s also the title of one of my books. It refers to how medications (or foods) reduce levels of vitamins, minerals and beneficial flora (probiotics) and cause side effects. But if you don’t k...

  • Raising awareness of the cruel mysteries of lupus

    Lupus Foundation of America|May 1, 2013

    Lupus is one of the cruelest, most mysterious diseases on earth – an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. Research shows lupus, which affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, is more pervasive and more severe than people think, and has an impact that the public doesn’t realize. May is Lupus Awareness Month and the Lupus Foundation of America is urging the public to join them throughout the month to educate others and improve public understanding of lupus – an important key to unloc...

  • Report highlights health disparities faced by gay seniors of color

    Senior Voice Staff|May 1, 2013

    “Health Equity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders of Color,” explores 10 policy areas where health and wellness can be improved for LGBT older people of color. The groundbreaking report examines policy topics such as federal funding gaps, the ways in which health reform implementation can reach marginalized people, LGBT-specific barriers within programs such as Social Security, and much more. The report was prepared by SAGE (Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders) and is available for free download at www.sageu...

  • Update on health and wellness research

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|May 1, 2013

    Wearing a contact lens at night may help restore age-related loss of near vision It may be possible to get rid of your reading glasses. Many older adults have age-related declines in near vision (presbyopia) requiring bifocals or reading glasses. Now, a newly emerging technique called hyperopic orthokeratology (OK) may provide an alternative for restoring near vision without the need for glasses. Researchers have just completed a small study showing that wearing OK contact lenses overnight can...

  • Support groups and training for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|May 1, 2013

    The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following meetings and trainings in May: May 3, Caregiver Peer Support meets at Nikiski Senior Center, 1 to 2 p.m. Presentation: “Stress: Portrait of a Killer.” May 6, Caregiver Training at Tyotka’s Elder Center, 1 to 3 p.m. This will be the last caregiver training at Tyotka’s until September. May 7, Caregiver Peer Support Meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 to 2 p.m. With a viewing of “Sunset Story,” an award winning documentary telling the story of friendship among women...

  • Family caregiver tip of the month

    Diane Halverson, Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program|May 1, 2013

    One of the best things that you can do for yourself and also for your loved one is to establish a routine or rhythm for the day. Our lives feel more comfortable when there is a rhythm, when one thing leads to another in a familiar way. Don’t let this make you feel that you are “in a rut.” Remember, if you are caring for a person with cognitive impairment, a comfortable and steady routine is a great source of security. If your loved one feels secure it just makes your job that much easier. When your loved one feels secure in a comfortable routi...

  • Here is some guidance about your rights as a tenant

    Diana Weber, Alaska Long Term Care Ombudsman|May 1, 2013

    For older Alaskans living on a fixed income, senior housing can be a great option. Sometimes, though, our office receives complaints about senior housing property managers who abuse their power, repeatedly entering tenants’ units without permission or threatening eviction if seniors complain about poor service. Thankfully, this does not happen often. It is very important for seniors to know their rights as tenants in order to avoid being intimidated. I’d like to recommend an easy-to-read boo...

  • Anchorage Veterans Memorial renovation is underway

    Theda Pittman, For Senior Voice|May 1, 2013

    As Memorial Day approaches, Alaskans prepare to honor our veterans who responded to America’s call to duty. Through parades, ceremonies and visits to the graves of loved ones, we take comfort in demonstrating that they live on in our hearts. In Anchorage, as the 26th anniversary of the Anchorage Veterans’ Memorial on the Delaney Park Strip approaches, this year those who commemorate Memorial Day may find the site under construction after years of effort to design and fund renovations dev...

  • Rambles

    Senior Voice Staff|May 1, 2013

    The Alaska Brain Injury Network and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) present “Artistic Journey for Brain Injury Awareness,” May 11 in Anchorage, featuring folk music, art and educational presentations to highlight brain injuries and their impact on individuals and families. Informational booths will be on site, along with door prizes, raffles, and desserts provided by Sugar Spoon. The event takes place 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the ANTHC building, 4000 Ambassador Drive. Call 274-2824 or visit www.alaskabraininjury.net for more informa...

  • Sitka offers free house signs

    Senior Voice Staff|May 1, 2013

    A well-displayed street number on a house is essential for emergency first-responders – it means valuable seconds locating the house, its driveway and in some cases the front door. The number also means prompt delivery services (anybody order a pizza?). Recognizing this need, the Sitka Fire Dept. is spearheading a program to distribute free house numbers to homeowners, merchants and property owners. Throughout the month of May, the numbers will be available at the Sitka Fire Station, True Value Hardware and Spenard Builders Supply. Numbers w...

  • Alan Young recalls his most memorable role

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|May 1, 2013

    What do David Filby, Wilbur Post and Scrooge McDuck have in common? They were all characters (“The Time Machine,” “Mister Ed,” and “DuckTales,” respectively) played by actor Alan Young. A resident of Studio City, Calif., for over 50 years, Angus, as he was once known, was born in Northern England. His Scottish father soon moved the family to Edinburgh, then later to Canada when he was six. He suffered from prolonged bouts of asthma as a child and was bedridden for months at a time. During those depressing weeks, his spirits would be lifted b...

  • Six ways to pay less tax on your retirement funds

    Teresa Ambord, Senior Wire|May 1, 2013

    How long will your tax-deferred retirement savings last as you use them to supplement your Social Security checks? Obviously the answer is affected by how much you saved and the unknown factor of how many years you will live in retirement. But it also depends to a large extent on how much Uncle Sam leaves you after he takes what he calls his fair share. This is when the juggling act begins, figuring out ways to live comfortably and still make your retirement income stretch. Here are some ideas to help you save money by reducing how much Uncle...

  • Social Security's 'triple crown' of social media

    Robin Schmidt, Social Security Administration Alaska|May 1, 2013

    From the stables to the tracks, people across the United States are already talking about this year’s Triple Crown. The three biggest thoroughbred horse races in the nation — the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky; the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland; and the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York — take place in the coming weeks. It has been 34 years since a horse has won all three and taken the U.S. Triple Crown. Social Security has a horse in the race, so to speak. We offer our own “Triple Crown” of social media at www.socia...

  • Social Security experts answer your questions

    Senior Voice Staff|May 1, 2013

    Staff from Alaska’s Social Security office will be available for questions via videoconferencing at the following locations and times: Kodiak Job Center, on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (May 14 and 28), 9 a.m. to noon. Kenai Senior Center, on the first and third Wednesday of each month (May 1 and 15), 9 a.m. to noon. Ketchikan Job Center, every Thursday (May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30), noon to 3 p.m. Social Security provides toll-free telephone service to all of Alaska. Residents in Alaska’s southeast communities can call the Jun...

  • Windows gives you a second chance with Control + Z

    Richard Sherman, Senior Wire|May 1, 2013

    Q. Sometimes when I drag a file from one location with the intention of placing it in another location, I fumble with the mouse and it winds up in the wrong spot. When that happens, is there some way I can cancel what I just did so I can start over? A. Windows does provide a second chance of sorts in the form of an Undo keystroke command for this type of oopsie. (It’s a technical term.) The universal Undo command is CTRL + Z, which works just about everywhere within Windows. You can use it copying or moving objects, pasting and even when e...

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