The old Alaska stoves have a different coal feed and combustion blower set up. It is called a Triburner and the same motor turns both the combustion fan and stoker feed. Also the stoker feed is a flat plate called a carpet that slides under the coal and basically moves back and forth under the coal to make it go down the hill (onto the burner section of the grate). These stoves work OK but are not up to the ease of operation and efficiency of the newer models.
I'm operating an older Alaska with a power vent and I recommend two things to make this set up trouble free for your mom (aside from a complete cleaning and inspection):
1. Invest in a Coal-trol system from Automation Correct, they have a section on this site (you can talk to paul or Neil about which model is best for you).
2. Buy a Broan model 688 bathroom fan from Lowes or Home Depot ($15) and attach a piece of wood to the bottom side so that the outlet lines up with the combustion air inlet to the stove. Plug this fan into a speed control and run it all the times. Adjustment of the speed control should be made to minimze fly ash, perform this adjustment in sync with your adjustment of Stove Draft using the Barometric Damper and Power Vent speed. This will ensure complete burning of the coal and overcome the short comings of the Tri-burner.
The Alaska has been heating my whole 2,200 sq. ft. house since October and I am very happy with it for the money spent! I'm going to replace it next year with a used Harman Manum Stoker I got only becasue it has a better stoker unit and more heat output.
You can PM me when you get ready to set it up and I will give you the specifics of how I run mine if you like.
Hope this helps, good luck with your endeavor.