Safekeeping from heat stroke/exhaustion imperative in summer for seniors

Published on June 09, 2017 with No Comments

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It’s that time of year again in the beloved Sunshine State – the sun is setting later, the temperatures are rising, and the humidity is becoming almost stifling. While many residents and tourists take this opportunity to explore the sandy white beaches of the Gulf Coast and enjoy an abundance of outdoor activities, low-income, and often home-bound, elderly residents are suffering in the heat.  

Elevated temperatures can be extremely dangerous for aging adults, many times resulting in heat stroke or heat exhaustion. People’s ability to notice changes in body temperature decreases with age and many seniors also have underlying health conditions that cause them to be less adaptable to heat. Even medicines that seniors take can cause dehydration at higher levels. A recent University of Chicago Medical Center study found that 40 percent of heat-related fatalities in the United States were among people over the age of 65.

 Thankfully, several guidelines can help keep seniors safe in the hot weather:

• Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible

• Routinely check on a friend or neighbor and ask them to do the same

Take cool showers or baths to cool down

• Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink

• Do not use the stove or oven to cook

• Keep an eye on the heat index: High humidity inhibits the body’s ability to cool itself through sweating

• Wear light-colored, loose clothing when outside

• Wear sunscreen: A sunburn not only can hurt when you try to move but it can actually make it more difficult for the body to cool down

• Take it easy: Avoid intense exercise and strenuous activity, particularly outdoors

• Know the warning signs of heat-related illness: Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting, red/dry skin, and breathing problems that you should seek immediate help

 In an effort to raise awareness about these potential issues and ensure that local seniors are comfortable in their homes during the summer, Council on Aging of West Florida and WEAR ABC 3 partner with Cat Country 98.7, NewsRadio1620, and Magic 106.1 FM every year to procure the community’s donations of new air conditioner units and fans during the Senior Chill Out. While

utilizing all-day media coverage, donation centers are set up at three Lowe’s Home Improvement stores throughout the area for one day. Afterwards, hard-working volunteers help to install the units for seniors who need it most in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.


This year’s 2017 Senior Chill Out will take place on June 30 from 6:00 am to 6:30 pm at select area Lowe’s Home Improvement stores. Donations can be made at the following locations:

• Lowe’s on Fairfield Drive in Pensacola

• Lowes on Airport Boulevard in Pensacola

• Lowes on Highway 90 in Pace

• Lowe’s on 9 Mile Road in Pensacola

• Lowe’s on Highway 98 in Gulf Breeze


In addition to these wonderful in-kind donations, monetary donations are also welcome and will be used for the purchase of additional fans and air conditioning units. Last year, the 2016 Senior Chill Out raised just over $8,000 to help with additional purchases.


With your help and support, Council on Aging and its media partners can continue to help aging adults stay safe in the summer heat.


For more information or to make an online donation, please contact our office at (850) 432-1475 or visit Please also note that A/C units and fans will not be handed out at the Senior Chill Out event. If you are a senior in need, please call the Council on Aging office to be placed on the waiting list.


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