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  • How seniors fared in the 2024 legislative session

    Marge Stoneking, AARP Alaska|Jun 1, 2024

    The 33rd Alaska Legislature concluded its two-year session on May 15. The legislature set out to prioritize energy and education policy in 2024, and those issues did take much of the session’s focus, political will, and compromise, in addition to the usual budget process. AARP Alaska’s 2024 legislative advocacy pushed for policies and funding that support aging in place, financial security, and improved access to healthcare. We saw major successes in our work to restore and expand funding for critical programs serving older Alaskans, with add...

  • Ensuring health care for veterans exposed to PFAS

    Jonathan Sharp, Environmental Litigation Group, PC|Jun 1, 2024

    More than 10 percent of Alaska’s adult population are military veterans, many of whom live with a military service-related disability due to toxic exposure, such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). However, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs does not recognize a disease developed during service on a military site with known PFAS contamination as a presumptively service-related disability. The VET PFAS ACT of July 2023 aims to assure medical care to ill veterans and their dependents exposed to PFAS by sparing them from unnecessary b...

  • Keep Social Security strong for future generations

    Teresa Holt, AARP Alaska|Jun 1, 2024

    Social Security plays a crucial role in supporting retirees and ensuring financial stability for many Alaskans. One in seven Alaska residents (107,982 people) receive the Social Security benefits they’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work. These guaranteed payments remain stable throughout retirement, unlike investments tied to the stock market or employer-based decisions. These funds are a primary income source for most retirees and inject more than $1.7 billion into the state’s economy every year. In Alaska, the average monthly pay...

  • Social Security's commitment to the LGBTQI+ community

    Social Security Administration|Jun 1, 2024

    June is Pride Month. It’s a time to acknowledge the LGBTQI+ community and also celebrate diversity, love, and respect. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states. We recognize same-sex marriages in all states, as well as some nonmarital legal relationships (such as some civil unions and domestic partnerships). This recognition is important to determine entitlement to benefits. Here are a few things you should know about o...

  • Video assistance with Social Security questions

    Senior Voice Staff|Jun 1, 2024

    The Social Security Administration partners with locations throughout Alaska to offer a secure video service option. Video service is a convenient and no-cost way for people to talk directly to a Social Security employee through a secure computer link that includes two-way video and sound. The video service locations are available at: In Nome, Norton Sound Health Corporation, located at 1000 Greg Kruschek Ave. Video service is available for walk-ins on a first come, first served basis, on the second and fourth Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to noon. Kenai...

  • Alaskan veterans served and deserve services

    Dimitra Lavrakas, For Senior Voice|May 1, 2024

    In 2022, there were 53,692 veterans living in Alaska, making it the number one state with retired American military. While that's a 25.25 percent decrease since 2012, the statewide population total of 733,583 state population of that same year, means 10.10 percent of the adult civilian population in Alaska were considered veterans. Looking after soldiers Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson Retired Soldiers Council has a free newsletter, “Soldier for Life,” which can be viewed on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Alaska.Milit...

  • Do you know how well you fit your car?

    CarFit|May 1, 2024

    Older drivers are some of the safest drivers on the road. They're more likely to wear seatbelts and less likely to speed or drink while driving. Still, they're more likely to get hurt in a crash. As we get older, our bodies become weaker and injuries from accidents can be worse. Getting older also changes how well we can see, think, move and react quickly. These changes can make it harder for us to feel comfortable driving our cars safely. Older drivers might need new ways or special tools to...

  • Alaska Commission on Aging to meet May 15

    Senior Voice Staff|May 1, 2024

    The Alaska Commission on Aging with hold a quarterly meeting in Valdez on May 15 at the Valdez Convention and Civic Center. The event will be in-person, online via Zoom and by teleconference, starting at 8:30 a.m., breaking for an hour at noon, and resuming from 1 to 4 p.m. At the meetings, commission members review policy and activities regarding senior housing, transportation, health care and other topics, with reports and input from representatives from agencies and organizations serving seniors and their families and caregivers. There will...

  • Why Medicare/Medicaid Code 99483 matters

    Amie Northagen, Alzheimers Association|Apr 1, 2024

    As the Alzheimer's Association Alaska Chapter, our mission is to improve the lives of individuals affected by Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. We continuously advocate for comprehensive care services that address the diverse needs of patients and their caregivers. Code 99483 is currently covered for Alaska Medicare patients, but not for Alaska Medicaid patients. The inclusion of 99483 in Alaska's approved Medicaid billing code list would ensure enhanced care for Alaskans with cognitive impairment. Code 99483 represents a...

  • Alzheimer's in Alaska: Understanding the impact

    Amie Northagen, Alzheimers Association|Apr 1, 2024

    The journey of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or dementia is filled with challenges, both emotional and logistical. The recent release of the Alzheimer's Association's 2024 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report sheds crucial light on the pressing issues faced by those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers in Alaska and nationwide. The report paints a stark picture: 6.9 million seniors in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s, with 8,400 in Alaska alone. The financial burden is staggering, projected to reach $360 bi...

  • Appreciation for Alaskans who volunteer

    John C. Schieszer, For Senior Voice|Apr 1, 2024

    If you have a special talent or skill that may benefit a charity or organization, then now may be the ideal to offer your services or ask how you can be of help. April is National Volunteer Month and it is dedicated to honoring all of the volunteers in our communities as well as encouraging volunteerism throughout the month. For many of us, volunteerism was instilled at a young age. Scores of organizations in small towns, rural counties, and the largest cities would not function without...

  • ATLA virtual expo and open house, April 17

    Senior Voice Staff|Apr 1, 2024

    ATLA, Assistive Technology of Alaska, will present a “virtual expo,” followed by on-site activities in celebration of National Assistive Technology Awareness Day on April 17. The Virtual Expo will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with presentations on a variety of topics: “Top ios Accessibility Features for Seniors” (9 a.m.); “Adding Assistive Technology to Your Mental Health Tool Kit” (10 a.m.); “Utilizing Assistive Technology to Support Speech and Communication” (11 a.m.); “Assistive Technology for Caregivers of All Ages” (noon). These sessi...

  • Use this guide for a successful garage sale

    Kimberly Blaker|Apr 1, 2024

    Are your garage, basement and closets overflowing from the heaps of stuff you've been saving 'just in case'? If so, it may be time to put those languishing piles to good use-in someone else's home. Rummage sales are a great way to clear out, recycle, and make some extra cash. Follow these suggestions for a successful sale and a clutter-free home. The storefront A garage is usually the best place to hold a sale offering shelter and requiring little daily set up and tear down. If your garage is...

  • Be mindful when gifting services, enrollments

    Roseann Freitas, Better Business Bureau|Mar 1, 2024

    If you’re considering purchasing a subscription service as a gift, there are a few things you need to know before you start. Whether you're looking to elevate someone’s entertainment, simplify their mealtime, or pamper them with the latest trends, subscription services have got you covered. But be sure you’re making a wise investment. Do your research Research the company you're interested in by checking their social media accounts, consumer reviews and business ratings on BBB.org. Be sure to look for any red flags, such as complaints or scams...

  • Alaska senior services network urges legislative support

    Marianne Mills, AGEnet|Mar 1, 2024

    Editor’s note: AGEnet President Marianne Mills testified to the Alaska State Senate Finance Committee in Juneau on Feb. 20. Here is the text of her testimony. My name is Marianne Mills and I am the president of AGEnet, Alaska’s association of senior service providers. AGEnet stands for Alaska Geriatric Exchange Network, primarily made up of private non-profit organizations founded in Alaska. AGEnet’s goal is to help older Alaskans age in place, supporting them to live safely in their own homes and communities for as long as possible and avoid...

  • Social Security and government impostors

    Social Security Administration|Mar 1, 2024

    Do you know how to spot a government impostor scam? We continue to raise public awareness about Social Security-related and other government imposter scams during the fifth annual “Slam the Scam” Day on March 7, 2024. Knowing how to identify potential scammers will help safeguard your personal information. There are common elements to many scams. Scammers often take advantage of fears and threaten you with arrest or legal action. Scammers also pretend to be Social Security or other government employees and claim there’s a problem with your Soci...

  • Sexual abuse and Alaska's elders: What to know

    Erin Kirkland, For Senior Voice|Mar 1, 2024

    According to the National Council on Aging, five million individuals over age 65 experience sexual abuse each year, but such trauma remains the least-reported of all sexual violence. In Alaska, where sexual assault remains high (three or four times the national average) and continues to trend upward statewide, it’s still a struggle to make abuse against older Alaskans a visible epidemic requiring attention. Alaska’s Standing Together Against Rape (STAR), headquartered in Anchorage, is a statewide organization that since 1978 has responded to...

  • Underutilized burial benefits for veterans

    Jim Miller, Savvy Senior|Mar 1, 2024

    Dear Savvy Senior: What types of funeral benefits are available to old veterans? My 83-year-old father, who has Alzheimer’s disease, served during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. - Planning Ahead Dear Planning: Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Cemetery Administration actually offers a variety of underutilized burial benefits to veterans as well as their spouses and dependents. Most U.S. veterans (both combat and non-combat) who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge are eligible for burial benefits. To verify your dad’s dischar...

  • Free tax assistance from AARP Tax-Aide

    Senior Voice Staff|Mar 1, 2024

    AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide Program in Alaska is available to prepare taxes this season through April 15, 2024. Assistance may be in-person at various locations around the state; online via web, or a combination of the two. Do-it-yourself is also an option using the online assistance. Find a Tax-Aide location and schedule near you with the site locator at https://taxaide.aarpfoundation.org/ or by calling Alaska 2-1-1 information and referral line by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221. You will be instructed on what to bring to your preparation v...

  • Free Q&A with state senior services

    Senior Voice Staff|Mar 1, 2024

    Training specialists and other representatives from Alaska’s Senior and Disabilities Services are available via Zoom on the first and third Monday of each month (March 4 and 18) for “Individual and Family Office Hour,” noon to 1 p.m. Ask questions about benefits eligibility, the Medicaid waiver, and other services available through SDS. For information and the Zoom meeting address, email sdstraining@alaska.govsdstraining@alaska.gov or call 1-800-478-9996 or 907-269-3666....

  • Video assistance with your Social Security questions

    Senior Voice Staff|Mar 1, 2024

    he Social Security Administration partners with locations throughout Alaska to offer a secure video service option. Video service is a convenient and no-cost way for people to talk directly to a Social Security employee through a secure computer link that includes two-way video and sound. The video service locations are available at: In Nome, Norton Sound Health Corporation, located at 1000 Greg Kruschek Ave. Video service is available for walk-ins on a first come, first served basis, on the second and fourth Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to noon. Kenai...

  • AARP Alaska legislative priorities in 2024

    Marge Stoneking, AARP Alaska|Feb 1, 2024

    AARP 2024 legislative priorities focus on sustainable funding for senior safety net programs, adequate healthcare access, improved public services, and financial security. Senior safety net programs While most older Alaskans are self-supporting, some need financial assistance or no-cost services to remain independent. Senior safety net programs like Meals on Wheels, senior transportation, and the Senior Benefits Program provide foundational support to help low- and moderate-income elders remain in their homes and communities. Senate Bill 170...

  • Romance and dating scams are booming

    Michelle Tabler, AARP Alaska|Feb 1, 2024

    Romance scams are big business for criminals because millions of people are using dating sites. According to the Federal Trade Commission, $547 million was lost to romance scams, up 80% from 2020, with much of that money paid with gift cards and cryptocurrency. And this is just the tip of the iceberg-many people never report scams because they are too embarrassed, or because they don't know where to report the theft. Both men and women are susceptible to these types of scams. It's estimated...

  • Networking for Anchorage, Mat-Su area providers

    Senior Voice Staff|Feb 1, 2024

    Interested in learning more about fellow 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, sponsored by Older Persons Action Group, Inc., is an opportunity for all the above. Informal, early and free, the event begins at 8 a.m., second Wednesday, at a different host location each month. Breakfast provided. The next date is Feb. 14, hosted by the UAA Trust Training Cooperative. Call Older Persons Action Group, Inc. at...

  • Access Alaska seeks peer mentors for new program

    Access Alaska|Jan 1, 2024

    My name is Desiree Rodriguez, and I am the peer mentor advocate at Access Alaska. I happen to be in a wheelchair because of a spinal cord injury from cancer when I was age three. Although I grew up disabled, I have been fighting for my independence since I was 12. Today, I work full-time and live independently. My goal is to help people feel like they are part of a community and reach their goals. Access Alaska provides independent living services to seniors and people with disabilities. We are well known for our lending closet, where people ca...

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