WAYNE/PIKE - With excessive heat in the forecast, local senior care experts are encouraging families to make sure their aging loved ones are protected. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of heat, so seniors are being urged to take special precautions during the heat waves.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. On average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning combined (
http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/heat.php).Aging Administrator for the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging, Jacqueline Sturgis suggests seniors could visit their local senior centers, because they are cooling centers. The centers are opened five days a week. The Hawley and Hamlin Centers are opened 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the one in Honesdale is opened 8 to 4. Information is available at 253-4262.
Pike County Senior Centers are are located in Blooming Grove, Lackawaxen and Bushkill. For information on their hours call 775-5550.
Another "cool" destination may be your local public library. In Wayne County there are public libraries open in Hawley, Honesdale, Newfoundland, Hamlin, Bethany, Pleasant Mount and Lakewood. Informaton is available at 252-1220. In Pike County you may visit libraries in Milford and Dingman Township. Call 296-8211 for information on when they are open.
Jeff Huber, the President of Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network said seniors' bodies don't adjust well to sudden changes in temperature, and so, they are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat. Often times, he said, seniors may also be on prescription medicine that will impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibits perspiration. The following tips from the local Home Instead Senior Care office, will help seniors combat the heat: • Keep a glass of water in every room to quickly and easily access fluids. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you're not thirsty. • Go through the closet and remove all heavy materials, long sleeves and dark colors. Store them until fall. • Set fashion trends. If in need of new clothes, check out the latest fashion magazines. Look for short sleeves, lightweight rayons or cottons and light-colored clothing that reflect the heat. • Stay out of the sun during the hottest times of the day. Fill up bird feeders in the morning and water the lawn at night. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult. • Put down that broom. Save household chores, particularly washing and drying clothes and operating the dishwasher, for evenings, when the weather is cooler. • Take a nap during high heat times – between 3 and 5 p.m. in the afternoon, for instance – or find a good television program or movie to watch. • While napping or enjoying a movie, keep shades down and blinds pulled. Keeping a house tightly closed is more energy efficient. • Invite friends over for an iced tea break. Replace coffee breaks with iced tea or lemonade breaks in an air-conditioned spot – not the patio. Staying in an air-conditioned dwelling during hot days is safer. • Go on a shopping spree. If you don’t have an air conditioner, or if it is broken, spend the afternoon at the mall. The mall is a good place to shop or just enjoy cool drinks and a book. • Put away that meat loaf recipe for the summer and track down new recipes for fruit and vegetable salads. Foods like proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss. • If increased use of a central air conditioning system causes higher utility bills that are a problem for the budget, consider purchasing a fan or small window unit that can cool down a home at a lower cost. In fact, window fans provide an effective way to exhaust the day’s hot air during the night. For more information about the heat, visit the National Weather Service Web site at
http://www.noaa.gov and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site at www.fema.gov. Or, to learn more about Home Instead Senior Care, log on to www.homeinstead.com.