After a long and cold winter, summer is finally here. Having some fun this season does not have to break the bank. Here are some ideas to enjoy with your family.

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.