Articles from the December 1, 2020 edition


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  • Learn what scams to watch for in "Age Smart" online forum, Dec. 8

    Senior Voice Staff|Dec 1, 2020

    “Age Smart – Let’s Talk”, the series of monthly forums sponsored by AARP Alaska, Older Persons Action Group and the Anchorage Senior Activity Center, returns Dec. 8, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Events are currently held virtually on the internet, using Zoom. This month’s presentation is “Avoiding Holiday Scams,” by Michelle Tabler, AARP Alaska volunteer. The holiday season shopping season is here, and so are the scammers, ready to entice unsuspecting shoppers online by email and by phone to part with their money. Michelle is the former head o...

  • OPAG elects board officers

    Senior Voice Staff|Dec 1, 2020

    Older Persons Action Group, Inc. (OPAG) held its annual membership meeting on Nov. 19 and the following board officers were elected: Yvonne M. Chase, president; Jan Carolyn Hardy, vice president; Dylan Webb, treasurer; Eileen Lally, secretary. Other board members include Leonard T. Kelley, Sharon White-Wheeler, Robert Bracco, Pam Yeargan, John (Jack) Pauli, Beth Goldstein, Gail Opalinski. and Hollis Mickey....

  • Free networking event for Anchorage, Mat-Su areas, Dec. 9

    Dec 1, 2020

    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 is being continued virtually online via Zoom. The December meeting is Dec. 9, hosted by Bfit and Well fitness. Begins at 8 a.m. RSVP by calling Older Persons Action...

  • Positive paradigms emerging for long term care living

    Alan M. Schlein, Senior Wire|Dec 1, 2020

    So far, almost 40 percent of the nation's more than 240,000 COVID-19 deaths are from seniors living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. As the coronavirus pushes into what incoming-President Joe Biden calls the "very dark winter," efforts are being made to prevent a repeat of this continued death spiral and apply lessons learned so far. So what lessons can be learned and what can be done to inspire a meaningful shift in how the country cares for – and spends on – its elderly peo...

  • Make a difference as a Tax-Aide volunteer

    Allegra Hamer, AARP Alaska|Dec 1, 2020

    AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is now recruiting for volunteers for the 2021 season. Free tax preparation is an important boost for individuals and families in Alaska working to improve their financial stability. Sometimes a higher refund means keeping the heat on or helping with rent for our most vulnerable residents. Becoming a volunteer tax preparer is easier than you think. No prior tax experience is necessary, and all the training materials are provided. Volunteers should enjoy talking to people and feel comfortable asking questions, have basic...

  • December is Spiritual Literacy Month

    Nationaldaycalendar.com|Dec 1, 2020

    Spiritual Literacy Month is an annual designation observed in December. This December, broaden your mind and challenge yourself to read a book (or five) about spirituality, faith or religion. It’s important to remember that you can be spiritual without being religious. Religion is organized and has specific beliefs, that usually come with a strict set of rules. Spirituality is more of just believing in something bigger than humanity and being empowered, but not necessarily sticking to a set of rules or believing precisely what someone else b...

  • COVID-19 and the flu: Fact vs. fiction

    National Indian Council on Aging|Dec 1, 2020

    Flu season is just getting started, but misinformation about influenza and the coronavirus is already swirling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's likely that the viruses that cause the flu and the viruses that cause COVID-19 will both be circulating this fall and winter. But viruses aren't the only ill running rampant – misinformation exacerbates the situation. Online misinformation may be new, but the way it spreads is much like the way disease spreads across people. A...

  • When will you receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Lawrence D. Weiss, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2020

    The first fully approved COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped to Alaska for distribution perhaps as soon as the end of this year or early next year. Since it will be new, there won’t be much of it, so you will be assigned a priority. You will be vaccinated when the state of Alaska tells you it is your turn. Will you be in the top priority? The answer is a developing story with a few twists and turns. Late in August the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerted public health officials in Alaska and across the nation to prepare to d...

  • Surviving holidays, dementia and a pandemic

    Gay Wellman, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2020

    December is full of holidays and celebrations. It is a time of traditions. A time for family and friends. A time for decorations and festive scents. A joyfully busy time of shopping and preparations. However, holidays can also be stressful and lonely, especially for those caring for a loved one with any kind of dementia. The current pandemic makes these challenges even more difficult. COVID safety precautions necessitate that we all think about new ways to safely and creatively find joy this season. Many caregivers have the added concern of a...

  • Reduced health fair schedule during holidays

    Sharon Phillips, Alaska Health Fair, Inc.|Dec 1, 2020

    Alaska Health Fair is closing out our fall season, so please check our website for remaining appointment openings and changes to the schedule, www.alaskahealthfair.org. Our offices statewide will be closed from Dec. 21 through Jan. 1. We plan to post Spring 2021 office draw dates on our website before the holidays. We will reopen all offices on Jan. 4 to start preparing for our spring season. We are available for community and worksite events -- arrangements must be determined on an individual basis. Call Anchorage (907) 278-0234 or Fairbanks...

  • Remembering your loved ones during the holidays

    Amy Tribbett, Hospice of Anchorage|Dec 1, 2020

    According to grief.com, holidays mark the passage of time in our lives. They are part of the milestones we share, and they generally represent time spent with family. But since holidays are for being with those we love the most, how on earth can anyone be expected to cope with them when a loved one has died? This is the hardest part of grieving for many people, when we miss our loved ones even more than usual. How can we celebrate togetherness when there is none? When you lose someone special, your world lacks its celebratory qualities....

  • 5 factors that weaken your immune system

    Suzy Cohen, Senior Wire|Dec 1, 2020

    Everyone talks about masks. I like them and wear them but that is external protection only. While important and useful, I will be totally honest with you about them. The way we respond from a pathogen has more to do with our internal protection, as in our immune system. So ask yourself if it’s up to par. If it’s not, then you need to start fertilizing your garden of microflora (i.e., probiotics) and also avoid or minimize anything that weakens your immune system. In no special order, here are the most common factors that suppress your imm...

  • Free training, support for family caregivers

    Senior Voice Staff|Dec 1, 2020

    With senior centers still closed for most activities, the Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold all December peer support meetings on Tuesdays, 1 p.m., at its office at 44539 Sterling Highway, Suite 202 in the Blazy Mall in Soldotna. Social distancing will be respected, and masks will be worn at the meetings, and virtual attendance via Zoom can be arranged for those who can’t make it in person. Different topics will be discussed at each meeting. Bring your questions and ideas.. You may also schedule one-on-one a...

  • COVID-19 and rheumatic diseases; helpful wearables

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Dec 1, 2020

    COVID-19 infection rates low among older adults with rheumatic diseases Texas researchers are happy to report some reassuring news for older adults living with rheumatic diseases. A new study is showing that the COVID-19 infection incidence has been low among adults with rheumatic diseases, and most of those infected only have a mild course of illness. Additionally, deaths have been low among rheumatic disease patients infected with COVID-19. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge...

  • Obesity, smoking, COPD, diabetes, heart and kidney disease raise risks

    Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services|Dec 1, 2020

    When someone becomes seriously ill from COVID-19 and gets hospitalized or dies, there’s a tendency to wonder if that person had other ongoing health problems that made the outcome more likely. Then there’s the tendency to think those types of health problems affect only other people, not you or your family. But a new analysis in Alaska shows they affect most of us: Two out of three Alaska adults have an underlying health condition that can make COVID-19 more serious. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states strong evi...

  • Even Alaskan dogs must dress for the weather

    Laura Atwood, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2020

    We're Alaskans. Cold and snow doesn't keep us, or our canine companions, inside. As you're donning your coat, mittens, hat and warm boots, have you ever wondered if you should be dressing your dog for the weather too? In some cases, that answer may just be "yes." Here's some general tips on which dogs could benefit from an extra layer of warmth on chilly winter walks: 1. Small breed dogs tend to get cold quickly because they can't generate and retain enough body heat to stay warm. They may even...

  • Learn how assistive technology can help you

    Assistive Technology of Alaska|Dec 1, 2020

    Have lunch with Assistive Technology of Alaska (ATLA) and learn about assistive technology. Join each day at noon during the week of Dec. 7 for a variety of topics; see the schedule below. To learn more about ATLA, the webinars and how to register, visit www.tinyurl.com/ATLAwinterWebinars. Dec. 7: Navigating ATLA Programs Did you know that ATLA manages six programs and partners with other agencies on four additional programs? Learn about each one, what is provided, and how to qualify. Monday, Dec. 7 at noon. Dec. 8: Assistive technology for...

  • Apply now for assistance with heating costs

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2020

    Congress has released funding for the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), granting Alaska a total of $17.4 million to award assistance to low income households struggling with utility bills for the 2020-2021 season. LIHEAP is designed to safeguard the health and well-being of Alaskans by​ offsetting the cost of home heating for eligible Alaskan residents. LIHEAP assists households with income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines. The benefit is a one-time payment to the household’s vendor, sen...

  • Music in isolation: Senior center chorus adapts to pandemic

    Dianne Barske, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2020

    "Mute yourself! Is everybody muted?" What strange request is this from a chorus director, beginning a singing session? She's looking directly at us, checking us out. "OK, everybody's muted. Now let's sing." It's the world of Zoom, in the seasons of 2020. And I am thousands of miles away from the other chorus members as we begin singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." They are in Anchorage, and I am in a small farm town, outside of Portland, Oregon. We are all staring at our individual computer...

  • Life and holidays at the Kenai Lake cabin

    Maraley McMichael, Senior Voice Correspondent|Dec 1, 2020

    "My favorite place in Alaska is my Grandpa Clayton's cabin down at Kenai Lake," wrote Taral Clayton, my nine-year-old-niece back in 2004. "My Grandpa has a lot of neat things inside the cabin such as a whale bone, moose antlers, caribou antlers, and tree funguses. I like to go to Kenai Lake because there are so many different exciting things to do." I had just started reading the rough draft of her paper titled "Kenai Lake," which was a third grade school assignment. Since Taral knew I was a...

  • Nominees sought for Alaska Ocean Leadership Award

    Senior Voice Staff|Dec 1, 2020

    The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) has opened the nomination period for the 2021 Alaska Ocean Leadership Awards. The center established the awards to recognize those who have made significant contributions to ocean sciences, education and resource management in Alaska. Awards will be presented at a virtual event in March, 2021. Nominations for the 2021 Alaska Ocean Leadership Awards are open now through January 15, 2021. The award categories are as follows: Walter J. & Ermalee Hickel Lifetime Achievement Award: Awarded to an individual or...

  • Alaska's first law officer knew crime well

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Dec 1, 2020

    Alaska's first law officer in the Interior knew a thing or two about the criminal element. Frank Canton, appointed deputy marshal for Circle in winter 1898, had served with distinction as a peace officer in Wyoming and Oklahoma Territory. He'd also escaped from prison while serving time for bank robbery, murder and holding up a stagecoach in Texas. The sketchy lawman's reputation as a range detective in Wyoming, notably as a killer for ambushing rustlers, secured his appointment in Alaska...

  • Neil Sedaka still singing through the pandemic

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Dec 1, 2020

    Many performers have recorded videos of encouragement for fans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic months. But few, if any, have been as prolific as Neil Sedaka. With more than 150 mini-concerts posted since April on his YouTube channel NeilSedakaMusic, the singer, pianist and composer of 60s hits such as "Calendar Girl" and "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" continues to churn out the casual performances from behind his home piano several times a week and plans to continue into the Christmas season an...

  • Entertaining novels about people our age

    Lawrence D. Weiss, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2020

    Every day I take a 45-minute walk around my neighborhood, and the last few months I have noticed something rather curious. Every week or two I walk past a car parked in the street with someone just sitting in it, often reading a book. I don’t strike up a conversation because they seem totally engrossed in their pursuit, and pointedly sealed into their metal and glass capsule. Maybe they seek solace from the kids? The spouse? Loud music? Inner demons? Not really sure. Regardless of where you choose to read, or why, here are some suggestions y...

  • Same old story – new scams every day

    Karen Telleen-Lawton, Senior Wire|Dec 1, 2020

    I recall a joke from the last millennium where pranksters would call a senior on the phone, pretending to be from the phone company. “We’re working in your neighborhood and have some extra phone line. If you’ll yank hard on your phone cord you can have some extra line for free.” Supposedly the unsuspecting victim would yank on the cord and their line would go dead. Seniors can be the disproportionate butt of jokes. Some are funny and others are hurtful. Today’s scams are considerably more damaging than the jokes and pranks of old. Our best...

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