Sunday was National Senior Citizens Day, and Alaska has its fair share of older residents, many who are aging with the state. Denise Daniello, executive director of the Alaska Commission on Aging in Juneau, says many of those people arrived in Alaska because of the oil boom in the 1970s.
“There were a lot of young people who were born between 1946 and 1964 who moved to the state to strike it rich and to pursue jobs here in Alaska during that time and, unlike a lot of other migrants who’ve come in the past to Alaska to make their fortune, this particular group of people stayed.”
She says right now seniors represent around 16 percent of the total state population, which includes the people who put down roots in the ‘70s.
“People do take vacations, they go to warmer environments, but I think what people find is that their social networks, their way of life, many have jobs, so home is in Alaska.”
For the seniors who do move to Alaska later in life, whether on their own or to be closer to family, they can carve out a home in places like Kodiak.
Laurie Murdoch is the executive assistant at Senior Citizens of Kodiak and explains some of the local offerings for the older population.
“There’s some great senior housing, they have the new senior housing across the bridge, Emerald Heights. That’s all senior housing. There’s senior housing at Bayview Terrace, so the housing issue I don’t think is a bad thing. We have a beautiful new care center called Chiniak Bay Elder House. So, I think the services and things for seniors is pretty good.”
So, while many seniors choose to migrate south to warmer climates, others will stay here in Alaska to continue combing the beaches, walking the trails, fishing the streams, and otherwise living the Alaska style of life.