By Christine Hockin-Boyd, Community Lifeline Center
If you’ve been watching the weather reports you’ve noticed that large swaths of the country are experiencing extreme temperatures and drought. These extremes impact everything from summer recreation, to crops and food prices. But, they are particularly hard on seniors and the disabled who are often too alone, too ashamed, too afraid, or too confused to ask for help.
The American Geriatric Society’s Foundation for Health in Aging (FHIA) says that “…most of the Americans who die each summer of heat-related complications are over 50. Seniors become less sensitive to heat and the feeling of thirst as they age. And on top of that, certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, and medications commonly taken by seniors—water pills, allergy and sinus medications, and antidepressants—further increase the risk”.
FHIA warns that temperatures in the low 90’s [certainly below our hotter temperatures] can be very dangerous to seniors and the disabled.
Does an elderly or disabled person live near you? Check in on them from time to time, and don’t accept a quick “No need to worry – thanks for asking but I’m fine”. Seniors aren’t always aware they are suffering from heat exhaustion or dehydration. If possible get a sense of the temperature inside their home or apartment; perhaps offer to take them to the mall or somewhere – anywhere – to get some relief. Host them to an overnight stay at your home.
CLC provides box fans to those in need at no charge. And, in some cases where there is a need for utility payment assistance, or where cooling equipment is broken, assistance can be provided. Financial donations would be appreciated to ensure such items and assistance can be provided throughout the Texas heat.
Sometimes the best way to take care of those in need isn’t through a donation or volunteering. The best way to help can be paying attention: watching out for each other. Yes, together we can do more.
Community Lifeline Center serves with a positive attitude, because even where solutions are in short supply, hope is abundant.