Articles from the December 1, 2023 edition


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  • Alaska Commission on Aging meets Dec. 5 via Zoom

    Senior Voice Staff|Dec 1, 2023

    The Alaska Commission on Aging will conduct its quarterly meeting Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., online via Zoom. The commission includes advocates from around the state with the mission to ensure the dignity and independence of all older Alaskans, and to assist them to lead useful and meaningful lives through planning, advocacy, education and interagency cooperation. The link to participate via Zoom is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86109693669. Those wishing to call in via telephone should contact the commission office for the Zoom phone...

  • Tech support scams are surging

    Michelle Tabler, AARP Alaska|Dec 1, 2023

    Have you clicked on a website and suddenly a loud voice comes on at the same time as a warning fills your screen? The threatening voice advises that you have been infected with a computer virus, warns you not to turn off your computer, and urges you to immediately call the number on your screen. Or have you received an unsolicited phone call from someone who claims to be from Microsoft, Apple or a security software company to tell you they’ve detected a threat to your computer? These are both tech support scams, a surging category of fraud a...

  • Still impressed by Alaska's new election system

    Juli Lucky, Alaskans for Better Elections|Dec 1, 2023

    It’s been one year since Alaskans used our new election system - nonpartisan open primaries and ranked choice voting - for the first time. What were the results? • Open primaries opened doors for voters and candidates. All voters could choose from all candidates, regardless of party, and those with the most support from a broad group of voters won. There were more candidates, leading to more competition in both the primary and general elections. • 99.8% of ballots were filled out correctly. With redistricting challenges, a special election, and...

  • The two lives of Anchorage's (and Denali's) Nancy Bale

    Lawrence D. Weiss, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2023

    When and why did you come to Alaska? I was swept up in that back-to-the-land movement of the late 60s, early 70s. And so was my husband at the time. He had gone to Alaska a couple of years prior. We had known each other from college. He liked what he saw and he wanted to go back, so we were married and drove up the Alcan in '71. It was in our VW bus after he'd outfitted it with the bed and the Coleman stove-and all that romantic notion of going off into nowhere. In my younger years I wanted to...

  • Sleuthing to solve your medical mystery

    Karen Casanovas, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2023

    Q: I have seen an internist and a gastroenterologist, but still have unexplained chronic ailments. What else can I do? A: With advances in internet searches and artificial intelligence (AI), it is tempting to self-diagnose. Don’t do it. Leave the analysis for professional providers. What you can do while searching for answers is to approach the situation like a mystery—by thoroughly and systematically cataloging your symptoms. Here are a few easy steps to take. Approach each medical mystery wit...

  • Self-care for the holidays and beyond

    Dr. Emily Kane, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2023

    A reader emailed me this question: I want to take better care of myself, but I’m having trouble committing. Any tips for creating a good routine? Here was my reply. Thanks for sparking a good column topic! Intention is key. That’s the best place to start. You said “routine,” which may sound less-than-exciting. But, honestly, excitement is overrated. In fact, our bodies respond very well to routine at all stages of life. And we feel so much better, and act more considerately, when applying consistent self-care. The basics include making healthi...

  • Medicare: Choosing doctors and other providers

    Sean McPhilamy, Alaska Medicare Information Office|Dec 1, 2023

    Choosing a medical provider can be both challenging and overwhelming for many patients. Here in the Great Land, Alaskans often travel significant distances to obtain healthcare. Medicare can help, when searching for and finding a provider. You can also save money by choosing providers who accept Medicare assignment. This last term, “assignment,” is an important one to remember, especially if you are newly enrolled in Medicare. First, a brief introduction to finding health care providers, fro...

  • Kenai Peninsula caregiver support program returns

    Dani Kebschull, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2023

    Good news from the Kenai Peninsula. The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program (KPFCSP) is now being administered by the Nikiski Senior Center. I’m Dani Kebschull, program coordinator of the KPFCSP. I’ve lived on the Peninsula almost all of my life and have spent my career working with, and providing services for, family caregivers - including 10 years with the KPFCSP. I’m excited to help rebuild this program and aid in its growth for the entire Peninsula. A caregiver can be anyone from a helpful neighbor who provides daily check...

  • Family caregiver support around the state

    Senior Voice Staff|Dec 1, 2023

    Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska (ARA) organizes caregiver support meetings around the state, including Anchorage, Eagle River, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau/Southeast, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Mat-Su Valley, Seward, Sitka, Soldotna, Talkeetna, Willow. Call 1-800-478-1080 for details. ARA also hosts a statewide call-in meeting on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of every month, 1 to 2 p.m. For information, call Gay Wellman, 907-822-5620 or 1-800-478-1080....

  • Embracing the spirit of giving and wellness

    Alaska Health Fair, Inc.|Dec 1, 2023

    As the crisp air envelops our great state, it’s not just the snowflakes that remind us of the season’s charm, but also the spirit of giving and togetherness. This December, as we observe Safe Toys and Gifts Month, we invite you to join us in reflecting on the choices we make when selecting gifts, not just for children but for adults as well. Active play and educational value. In a world increasingly dominated by screens, gifting items that encourage active play is more crucial than ever. For children, consider toys that promote physical act...

  • Low vision clinics Dec. 4-5 in Fairbanks

    Alaska Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired|Dec 1, 2023

    The Alaska Center for the Blind will hold two low-vision clinics and two support group meetings in Fairbanks, Dec. 4 and 5. At the low-vision clinics, a specialist will match the client with the best possible device for their condition. The Dec. 4 clinic will be at Ravens Landing. Also on Dec. 4, Center for the Blind staff will hold a support group at Timber Creek at 9 a.m. and another at Access Alaska at group at 1 p.m. Staff will be available for home visits in the afternoon. On Dec. 5, a low-vision clinic will be held at the Tanana Chiefs...

  • New tech to heal wounds, help people 'see' sound Also: Benefits of tai chi for Parkinson's

    John Schieszer, Medical Minutes|Dec 1, 2023

    New help for those with low vision or blindness Australian researchers have developed a new type of technology known as acoustic touch and it helps people “see” using sound. The technology has the potential to transform the lives of those who are blind or have low level vision. Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Sydney have developed new smart glasses that translate visual information into distinct sound icons. “Smart glasses typically use computer visio...

  • Adapting to winter weather with your car

    Christian M. Hartley, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2023

    As cold winter months intensify, it’s important that drivers take prepare their vehicles in case of snowstorms and the like. It’s especially important to have the proper supplies and safety items on hand in case you get stuck or stranded while driving in wintry conditions. Being prepared can help ensure your safety and peace of mind. One of the most important things to pack is a basic emergency kit. This should include items like blankets, warm clothing layers, gloves, hats, food that won...

  • Christmas and cultural exchange with Elder Mentor Maryann Johnson

    RurAL CAP Elder Mentor Team|Dec 1, 2023

    Hello! My name is Maryann Johnson. I'm from Montana. My grandfather homesteaded there in the late 1800s, and the family is still there. They came from Norway, and my other grandparents came from Poland. My grandpa started with 360 homestead acres and turned it into 4,000 acres. He built a beautiful two-story white ranch house. His was the first home with electricity and plumbing. It was pretty exciting times. They were just starting to put up telephone lines then, at the turn of the century. We...

  • Memories of Glennallen Community Chapel

    Maraley McMichael, Senior Voice Correspondent|Dec 1, 2023

    The small space between Mt. Sanford drive and Crossroads Clinic didn't seem big enough to hold the log church building from my childhood memories. How could the main room with the cathedral ceiling, the two-story Sunday school addition, the outhouses, the "extra room" mobile home, and all those parked cars possibly fit on that small piece of land? These were my thoughts back in December 1999, as I stared at the empty space where the Glennallen Community Chapel once stood. We had recently moved...

  • A bird for winter: Snowy owls

    Laura Atwood, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2023

    Bird Treatment and Learning Center (Bird TLC) has ten Ambassador Birds in our education program. We could not release these birds back to the wild due to the severity of their injuries or because they are habituated to or imprinted on humans. Two of these birds are snowy owls, an iconic bird of the far North. Many of us don't have the opportunity to see these owls because they are found primarily on the Arctic tundra. Our Ambassador snowy owl, Annik, whose name means "blizzard" in Iñupiaq,...

  • Become a Long-Term Care Ombudsman volunteer

    Alaska Long Term Care Ombudsman|Dec 1, 2023

    Do you want to improve the lives of older adults in long-term care facilities? We need caring people like you to advocate for Alaska seniors. As a Long Term Care Ombudsman volunteer, you’ll speak up for residents of assisted living homes and nursing facilities across our state. We’re seeking compassionate volunteers to protect seniors’ rights and dignity. No experience required—just bring your empathy, patience and desire to help. Free training provided so you feel completely supported. Volunteer in Anchorage, Bethel, Eagle River, Fairban...

  • Holiday parties with Access Alaska

    Senior Voice Staff|Dec 1, 2023

    Access Alaska is hosting Holiday Bash parties at its offices in Anchorage, Mat-Su and Fairbanks. Bring your family and friends and enjoy some snacks while participating in holiday crafts, games and an ugly sweater contest. The Anchorage party will be Dec. 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Access Alaska office, 1217 E. 10th Ave. RSVP required by Dec. 11. Call 907-248-4777. In Wasilla, the party will be on Dec. 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Mat-Su Health Foundation location, 777 N. Crusey St. RSVP required by Dec. 11. Call 907-357-2588. The Fairbanks...

  • 'Eskimo Scouts' volunteer by thousands

    Laurel Downing Bill, Senior Voice Correspondent|Dec 1, 2023

    When the U.S. Government needed them, Alaska's Native population came out in droves. From the beaches of Bristol Bay to the far corners of Bethel, Kotzebue and Barrow, villagers didn't hesitate to provide Alaska with a line of defense after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Col. Marvin "Muktuk" Marston, who'd been put in charge of organizing the Alaska Territorial Guard, traveled along 5,200 miles of western Alaska coastline to personally address the Natives, including a stop in...

  • Eddie Muller's case of the missing marshmallow monkey

    Nick Thomas, Tinseltown Talks|Dec 1, 2023

    If reading bedtime stories to the grandkids is a cherished family tradition, Eddie Muller has an unusual tale to share this holiday season: a gritty feline sleuth searches for a stolen artifact while encountering a host of seedy underground characters prowling through a shadowy urban setting. If that sounds like the plot from 1940s film noir cinema, you're no dope. In his first published children's book, "Kitty Feral and the Case of the Marshmallow Monkey," the Turner Classic Movies host has...

  • Getting back to the basics about wills

    Kenneth Kirk, For Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2023

    I enjoy watching the presidential debates every four years. I think the first one I saw was Carter-Ford in 1976, when I wasn’t even old enough to vote. But there is a common mistake that candidates make in these debates. They assume that everyone watching knows about all of the stuff which the political reporters have been talking about all week. A lot of the most critical swing voters —the ones who are actually watching to decide who to vote for, as opposed to just rooting for their fav...

  • App store refunds, junk calls, password managers

    Bob Delaurentis, Tech Talk|Dec 1, 2023

    Q. Is there a way to get a refund for apps purchased in an online store? A. There are numerous app stores but the two largest are from Apple and Google, and both offer a refund process. Keep in mind that there are two types of purchases. One type is the cost of the app itself and the other type is an in-app purchase or subscription. The rules are different depending on the purchase type. Requesting a refund for the purchase price of an app is straightforward. In-app subscriptions are much more varied, policies are affected by terms and...

  • Smart home devices for aging in place

    Jim Miller, Savvy Senior|Dec 1, 2023

    Dear Savvy Senior: I’ve been talking to my mobility-challenged mother, who lives alone, about automating her house with some smart home products to make it more convenient. She’s very interested but we’d like to get your opinion as to which types of smart devices are most helpful for seniors aging in place. –Searching Daughter Dear Searching: If your mother is game, smart home products—such as smart lights, video doorbells and voice-activated speakers—can be very useful for aging in place. These devices can add safety and convenience to a home...

  • Kodiak shines as a best place to visit

    Dimitra Lavrakas, Senior Voice Travel Correspondent|Dec 1, 2023

    Travel agents are coming back Many of you in your senior years still avoid the use of computers. This is both good and bad. Good because it makes you comfortable not having to wrestle with the never-ending new applications and websites, but bad because you could shop for vacation bargains online. Travel disruptions in recent years due to the pandemic, lack of trained pilots and extreme weather, look to be a permanent consideration in your vacation plans. That's where travel agents come in and...

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