Aug 14, 2019

Extreme heat impacts seniors, the poor

Everyone feels it when temperatures and humidity soar for days at a time. But as waves of extreme hot temperatures become more common during the summer months, some neighbors are more vulnerable to the effects—seniors and the poor. 

Evidence shows that individuals in the Medicare population are at a higher risk for hospitalization and death during a heat wave. Extreme heat can also negatively affect pregnant woman, individuals with heart, lung and kidney problems, and the poor. 

For some of us, heat is an inconvenience—we have access to air conditioning at home or the ability and resources to find please to keep cool. These options are rarely the case for seniors, especially those on a fixed income, without family or neighbors nearby to help. Seniors with mobility issues are especially at risk. 

Likewise, low-income households often can’t afford extra appliances like air conditioning, or the additional electricity it takes to run a cooling unit or even extra fans. 

The results can be deadly.     

You can make difference:  

  • Check on elderly and low-income neighbors and family members 
  • Share information on what resources are available to help 
  • Offer rides to ‘cooling centers’ like libraries, community centers and churches 
  • Help Catholic Charities provide emergency assistance for higher-than-typical utility payments 

While enjoying your summer, remember your neighbors and make sure they can stay cool, too.