By AlaskaWatchman.com

I began serving as a commissioner for the Alaska Commission of Aging more than two years ago. It wasn’t something I had planned on, but I was honored to be a part of this team.

On many occasions the government gets a bad rap, but this commission is actually informative and helpful to Alaska seniors.

After the Covid outbreak, the commission worked on a statewide plan for seniors. This required numerous meetings and visits to different areas across the state, as well as one-on-one conversations with seniors about their concerns. We also had a questionnaire which was distributed to senior centers and across social media.

We take this information from the state plan, questionnaire responses, personal testimonies and the advice and information from experts to offer suggestions and recommendations to Alaska legislators and the governor. 

Our commission meetings are filled with experts from a variety of fields that specialize in serving our older neighbors. Key issues include housing and home modifications, medical care, transportation, advocacy, work-related support, Medicaid, Alzheimer’s help, senior caregivers and facility directors, food distribution, brain trauma aid, elder abuse intervention, job opportunities, and much more. Our commissioners have varying experiences and unique, specialized skills.

Recently we had special meetings that focused on specific topics. It was more laid back and conversational. Attendees came from all over Alaska and represented the needs of elders in their communities and nearby regions. 

All of these encounters are open to the public and can be found on our website

The Alaska Commission on Aging has a couple of current openings for new commissioners. Joining the commission is a four-year commitment with most of the work done via Zoom. Those interested in joining us can contact the Boards and Commissions office here.

Those who wish to listen in or share something at our meetings, can go to our website for more information. If it seems confusing, just call the number on the website and Jon or Marty will be happy to help you out.

The main reason I am involved with this commission is because our senior population is one of the fastest growing in the nation. We don’t have enough young people to take care of all the seniors projected to need assistance over the next five to ten years. 

I would love to see a task force dedicated to solving this problem and brainstorming ways to encourage our 20-to-40-year-olds to be open to new life, with a commitment to remain in Alaska and raise their children here. This is a real situation that must be addressed.

I hope this inspires people to get involved with the Commission on Aging. Everyone has a talent they can bring to the table.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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OPINION: Alaska Commission on Aging needs new members to help address critical challenges

Pamela Samash
Pamela Samash is a longtime Fairbanks area resident. She currently serves on the Alaska Commission on Aging, and is the president of Right To Life – Interior Alaska.


4 Comments

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Pamela thank you for this information and the link to the application to boards and commissions! I had wondered how one apples to serve on a state board or commission. I might know someone who would be interested in the Commission of aging and am forwarding the info.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    The reference to “experts “ in the article is unnerving and my watchful eye will never trust anyone who claims to be one! Government and experts is an oxymoron on steroids!

  • DONN LISTON says:

    As someone who has lived 60 winters in Alaska I regret that this commission is utterly worthless. AK seniors are an easy target for scammers who count on our overwhelmed courts to do nothing. Crime iis out of control and smart seniors are packing—to get the hell out of Alaska!
    Gov. Dunleavy’s silly senior commission doesn’t care…
    https://donnliston.co/2023/11/alaska-crime-capital-of-usa/

  • jon says:

    Yes, hopefully the Commission on Aging will go against the Republicans who want to steal your Social Security and Medicare.