GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. – The Camden County Freeholder Board is distributing free fans to senior citizens to help with the summer’s heat. To be eligible, residents must be age 60 and older with an income of $25,000 or less to receive a fan.
“Many senior citizens are living in homes without air conditioning or other means of cooling,” Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Division of Senior Services, said in a press release. “Extreme heat like we’ll experience this week can be especially dangerous for those who don’t take the proper precautions to cool their home. Make sure that you are releasing as much hot air as possible by opening windows and using fans to circulate the air.”
The Camden County Division of Senior Services, which oversees the free fan program, suggests that 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. Those taking regular medication should consult with their physician to ensure that it is still safe to do so. Some medications cause an adverse reaction in hot weather. Seniors should be sure to drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids, warm and cool, to avoid dehydration.
“The national weather service has issued a heat advisory beginning today and stretching into the weekend,” Rodriguez said. “The forecast shows heat indexes in the low- to mid-90s, before temperatures climb as high as 100 degrees on Saturday. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat-related illnesses in senior citizens.”
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.
“We have already distributed dozens of fans this summer and are prepared to get even more in the hands of seniors who need them,” Rodriguez said. “For more than a decade we have worked with senior organizations and municipal emergency management coordinators to distribute fans to seniors. Please take the proper precautions to ensure that this summer is safe and enjoyable.”
To request a fan or to obtain more information, please call the Camden County Division of Senior Services at 856-858-3220.