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Health & Wellness

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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Pioneers’ Homes a haven for Alaska’s elderly By SAM FRIEDMAN sfriedman@newsminer.com While giving a tour recently, Fairbanks Pioneers’ Home administrator Vickie Wilson pointed out differences that she said separate the homes from senior housing in the Lower 48. One difference is the effort to make residents feel they are in a home and not an institution, she said. That’s done in part with small touches such as Alaskana artwork (some of it made by residents), a play area for visiting children and several house pets — a dog and a bird were spotted on a recent walk-through but the home also has cats and has had visits from a reindeer and a potbellied pig. The Fairbanks Pioneers’ Home is now home to about 85 people with an average

age of 89. Residents range in mobility from those that require 24-hour assistance to those whose abilities allow them to participate in house programs such as Fairbanks Summer Arts festival performances, an annual trip in the Riverboat Discovery and a train trip to Denali National Park. The home also has an area for caring for people with dementia. Having different levels of medical care under one roof is another big advantage of the Pioneers’ Homes, Wilson said. “In the Lower 48, there are places where if you can’t take care of your pills yourself you have to move,” she said. The Fairbanks Pioneers’ Home is the second-oldest of the six state-owned senior homes. The oldest, in Sitka, opened in 1913.

Sam Harrel/News-Miner

Residents of the Fairbanks Pioneers’ Home participate in chair exercises Monday, March Please see PIONEERS, Page 12 5, 2012.

– where i belong – PEOPLE FIRST › “I came up to Fairbanks for a one week vacation — 13 years ago. Today, I work as a MRI technologist at the FMH Imaging Center. I feel lucky to be surrounded by such amazing technology and a medical team that makes a difference in people’s lives. My life may not be glitzy and glamorous, but I’ll take it.” Amy / MRI Technologist

community-owned fmhdc.com

Health and Wellness - Spring 2012  
Health and Wellness - Spring 2012  

A guide to staying healthy in Interior Alaska, geared toward Alaska's growing elderly population.