Advisory commission serves Anchorage seniors

The Anchorage Senior Citizens Advisory Commission (ASCAC) is pleased to announce the annual Kick-Off event in celebration of Older Americans Month. The Anchorage event will be held at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center on Thursday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to noon. There will be entertainment, a guest speaker, door prizes and a proclamation from Mayor Sullivan.

Also on the agenda is the presentation of the Ron Hammett Award to recognize an individual whose exceptional and dedicated service have made a significant impact on the quality of life for seniors in Anchorage. Mr. Hammett exemplified outstanding service to seniors and their families. The award honors him and those who, like him, work tirelessly as advocates for seniors. Nominations are due to the Commission by April 22. For nomination forms, call 343-4770.

Since 1963, May has been a month to appreciate and celebrate the vitality, contributions, and achievements of older adults. The 2013 theme is “Unleash the Power of Age!” This year’s Older Americans Month event promises to be a great and enjoyable celebration of the many contributions of Older Alaskans. Mark your calendar for May 2 and join in the fun.

Some readers may only know about the Senior Citizens Advisory Commission from their attendance at the Older Americans Month Kick-Off event. But, there is much more to the commission. Its purpose is as follows:

1. Advise the mayor, assembly and appropriate department heads with respect to aspects of aging which affect the welfare of senior citizens.

2. Conduct surveys and compile and distribute to seniors information on housing, health, nutrition, transportation, education, recreation, legal services and social/mental health services.

3. Carry out educational and public relations programs designed to create public awareness of seniors’ needs and create public awareness of seniors’ contributions.

4. Assist and provide programs that alert older persons to the resources and services available to them.

There are many activities the commission has undertaken in support of this mission. Just a few of them are: the Annual Providers’ Meeting at which seniors and the service providers for them are brought up to speed regarding national, state or local aging issues, policies or needs. They also network, “compare notes” and discuss problems and possible solutions.

Also, the commission is involved in the Elders’ Summit. This year it will be held on May 13 and 14 at the Millennium Hotel. The summit’s main purpose is learning through sharing and listening to the elders, seniors and pioneers. There will be presenters and roundtable discussions. The summit runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days. The registration fee is only $10 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch.

Further, the commission is working on the Senior Friendly Business program (see above) to educate merchants about seniors’ economic contributions and help the merchants provide an experience that encourages seniors to shop in their stores. This will make it easier for seniors to shop and help power sales growth for the merchants – a win-win situation for everybody.

The commission is also in the planning stages of a needs assessment survey to evaluate what the current needs of today’s seniors are and to better plan for their future needs. Also, the survey will help assess what will be the needs of an exploding future senior population.

If the purpose and these programs are of interest to you and you would like to join this worthwhile and effective group, there is currently an opening on the commission. Go to the Boards and Commissions section of the Municipality of Anchorage’s Web site and fill out the application. The commission encourages people from various ethnic backgrounds to apply.

For questions or further information contact Lynda Meyer, Municipality Staff Liaison, at 343-4770. You need not be a senior citizen to apply. You just need to be concerned about today’s – and tomorrow’s – seniors.

Sandra Camery is an Anchorage Senior Citizens Advisory Commission member and executive director of Mabel T. Caverly Senior Services in Anchorage.

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