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Heat Can be Tough on Elderly

Heat Can be Tough on Elderly



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Shelley Osterloh ReportingOn average, about 1500 people die from excessive heat in the United States every year. Those most at risk are the very young and old. Salt Lake County Aging Services is concerned about the impact this high heat might have on older Utahns.

The kids love running through the fountain at the Gateway. Keeping hydrated and wearing wet clothes will cool you down. But you don't see any seniors out there. They may be living in homes without airconditioning or fans, and they are risk during these hot hot days.

Like other folks at the Liberty Senior Center, 69-year old Rita Torres enjoys the activities and companionship, but she says she's here more in the summer.

Rita Torres: "And you know, I come and I spend a lot of time here because it's cool."

She says without a fan for air conditioner, her house is unbearable.

Rita Torres: "At night I go outside and sit till 11:00 or 12:00, sit on the porch. Why? Because the house is too warm to sleep, it's just too warm."

A few days ago Rita was complaining about the heat.

Rita Torres: "I was saying that it was so hot at my home and I hated to go home. And Nancy says, 'well the county has a program where they give away fans. Would you like one?' And I said, 'Oh that would be wonderful.'"

Nancy Freeman, Mngr. Liberty Senior Center: "We haven't really got the word out to people that we have these available at senior centers, and apparently aging services is short on them right now also."

Rita got her fan, but others are on a waiting list. Salt Lake County Aging is asking the public to donate new fans so they can be distributed to those who need them.

Ken Venables,Salt Lake County Aging Services: "Definitely when the temperatures reach certain levels like today, a hundred degrees, there is always a waiting list."

Rita is hoping her new fan will mean cooler days and nights.

Rita Torres: "I'm very happy, you can tell."

Aging services has a list of other keep cool suggestions for seniors:
-Visit air conditioned buildings in your communities like libraries, malls, or your local senior center.
- Drink plenty of liquids and avoid drinks that cause dehydration like caffeine or alcohol.
- Take a cool shower.
- Wear large brimmed hats and lightweight loose clothing.

And remember if you have a elderly relative or friend -- check on them.

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