Dangerous heat poses dangers for elderly - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Dangerous heat poses dangers for elderly

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To beat the heat, hydration and air conditioning are your best bets, but not everyone can afford those energy costs.

If you didn't know Edith Steinfatt, you'd think she was made for the outdoors.

"I just live outside," said Edith Steinfatt. "I'm not really an inside person at all." 

The problem is in the past, Steinfatt would water her plants outside without drinking a drop of water herself. 

"I try to think about it," said Steinfatt. "Where I came from, we didn't drink water. I'm not used to drinking water."

Steinfatt moved from Germany 10 years ago. She's still getting used to the hot, humid summers. Since the heat index has officially reached triple digits, doctors urge everyone to take a break at least every 15 minutes while outside.  

"If I get too hot, I go inside to cool off," said Steinfatt.  

Steinfatt makes a point to close her blinds to keep the heat out and her energy bill lower. For people who can't afford to cool their homes, the state has a program which offers assistance, and Senior Connections is also giving away fans to older adults in need.  

Teresa Steinfatt is the CEO of Home Instead Senior Care. Her staff focuses on assisting seniors with personal care like helping around the house or doing day to day activities. That also means making sure her clients take these temperatures seriously.  

"We do. We see cases each and every day especially when it heats up for a week time frame," said Steinfatt. "We have to make sure our care takers are taking care of our clients with special needs, light housekeeping, and to make sure they stay hydrated when they're outside working in the yard."

That means not under-estimating the strength of this heat - even for the biggest green thumbs. The deadline is September 30.

The cooling assistance program is open to households with a child under six-years old, an adult 60 or older, or a person with a disability. Those households must meet the income and eligibility requirements. The deadline to apply is August 15. 

Cooling Assistance Program - http://www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/ea/index.cgi

Cooling Assistance Application - https://commonhelp.virginia.gov/access/

Senior Connections Fan Care Program - http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wwbt/DOC/Press%20Release%202013%20FAN%20CARE.docx

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