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:
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:
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 www.coawfla.org. 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.
Council on Aging of West Florida is compliant with the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability. Learn more at www.bbb.org.