Optimizing what, how, when, and why we eat is important for aging Elders. As Elders age, nutritional needs and bodies change. Fueling bodies properly helps to prevent the risk of falls, chronic diseases like diabetes, and nutrient deficiencies.

Southcentral Foundation’s Family Wellness Warriors Initiative employees connected virtually and enjoyed tea with Elder community members while listening intently to their wisdom and stories. As conversations with Elders often transpire, their attention turned to the next generation.

Did you know baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they break through the gums — which is typically around age 6 months?

Elder customer-owners lead by example receiving COVID-19 vaccine.

Wisdom of Elders serves as one of the integral foundational guides for the advancement and prosperity of all Alaska Native cultures. The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines coupled with the wisdom of Elders has contributed to a healthy start to a new chapter in the COVID-19 journey.

Alaska has unique seasons that include the midnight sun shining late in the night, captivating colors of autumn leaves falling to the ground, and the crisp mornings of winter. As the daylight decreases, it brings the bite of subzero temperatures and an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These changes can cause an increase in the diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder and other mental health challenges.

By SCF Public Relations

The holidays are traditionally a time when special memories are made as families and communities come together. With COVID-19 still active in many areas, including across Alaska, it is vital to try new traditions to help keep your friends, families, and communities safe. Families are tasked with finding new ways to share holiday cheer while remaining diligent in efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus.

“Now is the time to hunker down, keep within our households, be vigilant about mask wearing and distancing, and be safe at work and at home,” said Southcentral Foundation interim President/CEO April Kyle.

To minimize occurrences of the virus spreading to loved ones, it is best to celebrate this holiday season only with household members for in-person activities and to include others in your celebrations virtually by phone or video chat. Avoid hosting holiday parties, potlucks, and or gatherings that are not within your household.
“Celebrating holidays will take creative, virtual approaches this year since we are not able to have in-person parties, potlucks, and gatherings,” said Kyle.

Despite eagerness to spend time with friends and family as holiday plans are made, considerations should be taken for the associated risks.

“One idea is to gather virtually and share three or four things you are grateful for,” said SCF’s Clinical Director of Employee and Community Support KJ Worbey. “These can be small in size but big in meaning – hearing the laughter of a child playing, witnessing a moment of beauty in nature, enjoying a favorite recipe. This can generate positive feelings that can be savored. It is also a reminder that peaceful and joyful moments surround us when we stop to see them.”

While finding new ways to create holiday memories, remember to:

  • Physical distance at least 6 feet from others when possible.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask in common areas and in public.
  • Practice frequent hand hygiene.
  • Wipe down high-touch and shared surfaces.
  • Limit social contacts and keep your bubble small.
  • Limit public gatherings.

The containment efforts do work, and it is very important they continue. Working together, we can decrease the spread of COVID-19 and keep Alaskans healthy.

“Staying connected with family and friends is more important than ever,” said Worbey. “Strong relationships are a key component of resilience, and so is gratitude.”
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or need to contact your provider, if in Anchorage call (907) 729-3300.

By Senior Public Relations Specialist Brandy Gallagher

Having accessible health care is particularly important during these uncertain times. Eklutna Community Clinic and C’eyiits’ Hwnax Life House Community Health Center offer primary care and preventative care services to all members of the community. Establishing health care in your nearby community has many benefits including reduced travel-related costs and an opportunity for whole-family care.

These community health centers provide services for people of all ages, insured and uninsured, beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries. Qualified Alaska Native and American Indian customer-owners receive services with no out-of-pocket expense and non-beneficiaries’ services are charged on a sliding fee scale based on household income, size, and ability to pay.

Eklutna Community Clinic is conveniently located off the Glenn Highway in Eklutna between Eagle River and Palmer. This community health center offers primary care services, COVID-19 testing, flu vaccinations, and radiology services. Southcentral Foundation partnered with the Native Village of Eklutna to expand medical services and provide quality health care services to the Chugiak and Eklutna area. To register to receive services at Eklutna Community Clinic, call (907) 688-6031.

C’eyiits’ Hwnax Life House Community Health Center is located at the Ahtnahwt’aene’ Nay’dini’aa den Gathering Place (Ahtna People Chickaloon Place). The building also houses the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council’s Health and Social Services Department. This community health center offers primary care, behavioral health, select pharmacy options, scheduled specialty care, COVID-19 testing, health education, flu vaccinations, nutrition counseling, and well-woman services. To register for services at C’eyiits’ Hwnax Life House Community Health Center, call (907) 631-7665.

Primary and preventative health care should be a priority at all ages, even during a pandemic. Community health centers aim to help you and the people you love stay healthy. These clinics provide timely, affordable, quality, and convenient health care. All insurances are accepted, including Medicaid and Medicare.

By SCF Public Relations

Southcentral Foundation’s Family Wellness Warriors Initiative hosted virtual learning events to raise awareness for National Domestic Violence Awareness and Action Month. The virtual commencement featured Alaska Native cultural performances and special guest speakers Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Amanda Price and Alaska Native Heritage Center Executive Director Emily Edenshaw.

Activities included webinars, radio interviews on KNBA, and traditional storytelling to break cycles of abuse for the next generation. The webinar discussion explored how latest data and evaluation outcomes show development of protective factors and the reduction of risk factors associated with domestic violence and child abuse.

FWWI seeks to address the devastating problems of domestic violence, abuse, and neglect in the Alaska Native Community. Its purpose is to equip organizations and individuals to effectively address the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical effects of domestic violence, abuse, and neglect.

Click below to hear the KNBA radio interviews focused on encouraging healthy lifestyle choices and relationships.

  1. A Template for Raising the Next Generation

    Listen to the values and stories passed down to a young girl growing up in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region. These stories highlight the Yup’ik value of raising children with positive encouragement.

  2. Walking Soft

    Hear the story of a girl’s experience as she walked on the soft tundra with her Lakota grandfather. She remembers the Indigenous values of connecting softly with others, discovering healing on the other side of our stories, and how our own healing whispers hope and promise to the next generation.

  3. When He Remembered He Was a Warrior

    Listen to the story of a Tlingit Elder who shares his journey of healing from addiction and how community helped him find his inner warrior.

  4. She Will Become the Words That You Speak

    Hear the story of an Alaska Native woman, who remembered the wisdom of her Cup’ik grandmother. Her grandmother’s words helped the young woman find hope amid her own struggles.

Receiving a flu vaccine this fall may be more important than ever. The vaccine not only reduces your risk of getting the flu, but protects children, Elders, and those who are most vulnerable. The flu vaccine may also help prevent being infected with both COVID-19 and influenza at the same time, which may cause severe illness or death for those who are at a higher risk. Getting vaccinated also helps to preserve health care resources.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses for everyone 6 months of age and older. The flu vaccination can help prevent you from getting the flu or reduce the severity and duration if you do. Practicing hand hygiene, covering your cough, wearing a mask, and physical distancing from others with the flu may help slow the spread but the best way to fight the flu is to get vaccinated.

The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated too early (for example, in July or August) is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults.

“Flu vaccines are safe and are the best protection to prevent getting sick from the flu, and to help protect others. Now is the best time to get a flu vaccination,” said SCF Senior Medical Director of Quality Assurance Dr. Donna Galbreath.

Though they are different types of viruses, influenza and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses and may present with similar symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and sore muscles. If you are experiencing symptoms or have questions, contact your provider.

The CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading this fall and winter. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever to help prevent the possibility of getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

Protect and respect everyone in the community this flu season by getting the flu vaccine and maintaining immunization schedules, wearing a mask, and practicing safety measures. Working together, we can keep Alaskans healthy.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, flu, or need to contact your provider, if in Anchorage call (907) 729-3300. See below for a listing of Rural Anchorage Service Unit facilities and phone numbers. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.