Growth of Alaska's senior population outpacing available living options

Published: Apr. 26, 2019 at 5:55 PM AKDT
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Anchorage's senior community is growing at triple the rate of the national average — some of whom are facing the stresses of not being able to afford the high costs of living at facilities like Anchorage Pioneers Home, where some residents are seeing as much as a 140 percent rate increase.

At least two new senior living facilities are under construction in Anchorage to help support Alaska's fast growing senior community.

Facing the high cost of living can be extremely stressful for seniors, and for those who need it, there are plenty of resources and information available.

Ken Helander, Advocacy Director for AARP Alaska says one place seniors can find a wealth of information is the Office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman.

"That office is responsible to oversee how residents are satisfied if they live in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility," Helander said. "So, they have a really good finger on the pulse of which are good homes, which are quality homes that provide good care consistently, where residents are well cared for and happy, and where there may be some concerns."

There is also the Alaska Commission on Aging, as well as the Aging and Disability Resource Center.

"You can get referrals to all kinds of services at the Aging and Disability Resource Center," Helander said, "some of which would help to support a person in their home, some of which might help a family, and some of which might actually be able to screen for eligibility for other types of support and care."

However, sometimes the stress goes even beyond the cost.

"People form relationships where they live, so if they've been living at the Pioneers Home for a while, they know staff, and they know other residents, and they're probably friends," he said. "Even family members get to know one another, and get to know other residents."

Some residents might even be looking for another place to stay regardless of cost. At least two living facilities geared toward seniors are under construction in Anchorage, including Baxter Senior Living and Aspen Creek Senior Living. Managers of Baxter Senior Living say they've already received interest from former Pioneers Home residents, including two who have already registered.

"More people are drawn to us due to the influx in the prices in the Pioneers Home, and with the government cuts and things like that, it has drawn more people to us," said Damien Jones, General Manager of Baxter Senior Living. "I think us having this, I would say, the market value price, is helping out a lot."

Aging and Disability Resource Centers



Municipality of Anchorage

825 L Street, Suite 203

Anchorage, AK 99501

(907) 343-7770

Mat-Su Valley:


777 N Crusey Ave, Suite 101

Wasilla, AK 99654

(907) 373-3632

Southeast Alaska:

Southeast Alaska Independent Living Center

3225 Hospital Drive, Suite 300

Juneau, AK 99801


Fairbanks, Yukon-Koyukuk, Denali, and North Slope Alaska:

ADRC North

Fairbanks Senior Center

1424 Moore Street

Fairbanks, AK 99701

(907) 452-2552

Kenai Peninsula, Valdez-Cordova and Kodiak:

Independent Living Center

47255 Princeton Ave, Suite 8

Soldotna, AK 99669

(907) 262-6333

Western Alaska:

Bristol Bay Native Association

P.O. Box 310

Dillingham, AK 99576


(907) 842-1902

Office of the Alaska Long Term Care Ombudsman

3745 Community Park Loop, Suite 200

Anchorage, AK 99508

(907) 334-4480

(800) 730-6393

Alaska Commission on Aging

(907) 465-4879


240 Main Street

Court Plaza Building

P.O. Box 110693

Juneau, AK 99811