Commissioners provide fans and air conditioners to seniors

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(Gloucester Township, NJ) – To help senior citizens beat the heat this summer, the Board of Commissioners is once again distributing free fans and window unit air conditioners to residents aged 60 and older with an income of $25,000 or less.

“With blistering temperatures on the horizon this week, it is critical that our seniors have adequate means to cool themselves down,” said Commissioner Virginia Betteridge, liaison to the Camden County Division of Senior Services which oversees the program.  “Many seniors live in homes without air conditioning or fans which can be extremely dangerous when the temperatures rise to extreme levels. But the Division of Senior Services is working to ensure that no one will have to brace this heat without cooling measures.”

During the hottest days of summer, senior citizens should wear lightweight clothing and avoid strenuous activity in the hot sun or in other hot areas.  If you must be out in the sun, wear a head covering.  A wide-brimmed hat or visor will not only protect your head from the intense rays of the sun, it will also provide a shield for your eyes. Those taking regular medication should consult with their physician. Some medications can cause an adverse reaction in hot weather. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids, warm and cool because the body loses fluids in the heat, drinking lots of liquids helps to avoid dehydration.

“The national weather service has issued a heat advisory for Tuesday with temperatures expected to climb into the 90s through Saturday,” Betteridge said.  “These types of conditions can cause heat related illnesses in senior citizens and other vulnerable populations.”

The early warning signs of heat stress are decreased energy, slight loss of appetite, faintness, light-headedness, and nausea. People experiencing these symptoms should go to a cool environment, drink liquids, remove excess clothing and rest.

Serious signs of heat stress include unconsciousness, rapid heartbeat, throbbing headache, dry skin, chest pain, mental confusion, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, staggering and difficulty breathing.  People experiencing these symptoms should get immediate medical attention.  While waiting for help, move the person to a cool area, remove excess clothing, spray with water, and fan the person.  In an emergency, dial 911.

To request a fan or air conditioner, to obtain more information, please call the Camden County Division of Senior Services at (856) 858-3220.