Seniors get a breeze with Senior Cool Care Program on the Peninsula

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - This heat wave is taking its toll on everyone, especially those who can't get around as easily -- such as the elderly.

Doctors say seniors ages 65 and older are much more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, so staying hydrated and cooling down is critical.

The Peninsula Agency on Aging is hoping to bring a bit of relief with their Senior Cool Care Program.

"This is the tenth year we have done this, and so far this summer we have given out more than 100 fans and a dozen A/C units," said Jennifer MacPherson, care coordinator with the agency.

MacPherson spent Thursday delivering fans to low-income seniors who need a bit of a breeze.

"I can use all the help I can get," said 78-year-old Hattie Robinson. "Ah... this feels amazing."

For Robinson and other seniors, cranking up the A/C can have crippling health effects.

"If it is too cold in here, your bones and your joints don't work together and they snap, crackle and pop on you," said Robinson.

And that's not to mention seniors who qualify for the free fan or A/C unit live in low-income housing, and so they can't constantly run the air conditioning.

Getting the fan is easy. Here are the eligibility requirements one must meet to receive a box fan or A/C unit:

  • Must be 60 years of age or older
  • Must need additional cooling in he home
  • Must meet household income requirements
    - Less than $1,561.00 per month for 1 person
    - Less than $2,114.00 per month for 2 people

The agency also stresses that seniors need more than just a fan to deal with these simmering temperatures.

"Seniors can get more dehydrated, they are prone to heat stroke, and once they age, their body temperature rises and many often have underlying health conditions," said MacPherson.

Related: Heat exhaustion vs. heat stroke - the difference medical professionals want you to know 

They stress -- as do doctors -- to guzzle down fluids, wear light clothing and simply just stay inside.

"If you do have a neighbor, I would definitely recommend checking on them if they are elderly," said MacPherson.

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