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Older Americans Month

May 2018 is Older Americans Month in Alaska – a time to celebrate the past and continuing achievements of older Alaskans as their contributions to the State, communities, and families are deeply rooted and ongoing. The theme for the 2018 Older Americans Month is “Engage at Every Age” emphasizes that you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being and celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.

In Alaska, Governor Bill Walker has proclaimed May 2018 as Older Americans Month to honor the foundational contributions of Alaska’s pioneers who helped build our great state, seniors who defended our freedoms as members of the U.S. Armed Forces, in addition to calling attention to the growing number of Alaskan Centenarians who celebrated their 100 year birthday, or more, this year.

As part of Older Americans Month, the Governor’s Office with the Alaska Commission on Aging, are recognizing Alaskans who are 100 years and older as distinguished Alaskan Centenarians.  Their names are being read aloud as part of Older Alaskans Month celebration activities. Each Centenarian will receive a personalized commendation and a certified Older Americans Month in Alaska Executive Proclamation from the Governor’s Office to recognize their achievement of this notable milestone.

The Alaska Centenarian Project

How does one live to be 100 years old and beyond? While the growing number of Centenarians is a testament to the benefits of living a healthy and socially active lifestyle in addition to advances in medical technology and the quality of long-term support services, having a positive attitude is also a keystone factor, according to personal statements from Alaskan Centenarians. Remaining optimistic, living with purpose, being able to enjoy a good laugh, and maintaining social relationships are the building blocks for living a long, happy life.

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In the United States, there are 53,364 American Centenarians (U.S. 2010 Census). The majority of them are women living in urban areas with higher concentrations found in the Northeast and Midwest.  According to data from the Alaska Division of Permanent Fund Dividend (2016), there are at least 83 Alaskans who are 100 years and older, up from a count of 62 in 2010.

  • Francisca J. DalsFoist, 100
    Anchorage

  • Ruth Ehrlich, 104
    Anchorage

  • Alice Green, 100
    Anchorage

  • Helen N. Osborne, 100
    Anchorage

  • Louise E. Welker, 102
    Anchorage

  • Rose L. Cope, 100
    Fairbanks

  • Jean Roger Therrien, 100
    Fairbanks

  • Louise Thompson, 103
    Fairbanks

  • Willy Lou Warbelow-Young, 102
    Fairbanks

  • Gladys Briske, 103
    Palmer/Wasilla

  • Hallie O. Dixon, 101
    Palmer/Wasilla

  • Lela Oman, 102
    Palmer/Wasilla

  • Carlene J. Sanders, 101
    Palmer/Wasilla

  • Nadine Pence, 101
    Homer

  • Horace W. Anderson, 101
    Talkeetna

  • Harriett T. Botelho, 101
    Juneau

  • Lorraine M. Osborn, 101
    Juneau

  • Teresa Lapinski, 101
    Ketchikan

  • Lawrence K. Bahovec, 101
    Wrangell

  • Cora B. Mosher, 100
    Sitka

  • Kay F. Hill, 100
    North Pole

Alice Stevenson Green, Anchorage (age 100):
“Alice joked that she lived a long life because she didn’t follow the advice to eat green vegetables and drink lots of water. Seriously, she credits her Aunt Frances who raised her as Alice’s mom died during childbirth.” Alice was born prematurely, weighed only four pounds, had club feet, and contracted pneumonia during her first year of life. Alice was an educator, one of Alaska’s first women Presbyterian religious leaders, and one of Alaska’s leading social justice advocates. She earned multiple college degrees. Alice was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame on May 1. She was honored as an Alaskan Centenarian at the Anchorage “Older Alaskans Month Kick Off Event” at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center.

Traditional Chief Fred Ewan, Gulkana (age 102 years old):
Lives a traditional lifestyle, subsistence lifestyle in Gulkana, which is near by the Copper Center. He states “I wished more young people would talk with Elders and be interested in what we have to say. We are survivors, and hard times are coming, and I don’t know if they know how to survive.”

Horace Anderson, Talkeetna (age 101):
He writes “Keep yourself clean. Stay away from liquor. Eat moderately, and don’t stuff yourself. Stay away from the bad things that go on in the world. His 2017 Thanksgiving prayer was also included with his consent form: “I am thankful for accepting and enjoying things I have, and not wanting for things that I did not have or could not afford. Too many people get caught up wanting things they don’t really need and doing anything they can to get them.”