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Heat wave has advocates worried about Utah’s elderly

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is expected to stay in the 90s until Friday, nearing triple digits on Wednesday. As it heats up, advocates are worried the extreme temperatures will put some of Utah’s elderly at risk.

“Aging and Adult Services really advises all people, but particularly older adults or people who are over 60, to be very cautious in excessive summer heat,” said Afton January, Communications Manager with the Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services.

She said daily activities at these temperatures can become dangerous for the elderly when they don’t have air conditioning to help them cool down. They are especially at risk for heat stroke or sickness.

“Know the warning signs of heat-related illnesses,” January said. “Some of those warning signs include becoming dizzy, nauseous, having your heart rate become more rapid, experiencing chest pain, or difficulty breathing.”

The County created an interactive map to show public areas Utahns can retreat to for a few hours of free air-conditioning. The list includes community centers, rec-centers, and senior centers.

A snapshot of the map showing public cool areas in Salt Lake City.

Aging and Adult Services are also asking for donations to put fans in the homes of the county’s home-bound elderly who don’t have air-conditioning.

“As it heats up our meals on Wheels drivers are having conversations with clients to determine if they might need and benefit from having a fan to promote airflow in their home,” January said. “If you have a little extra cash, or a fan lying around, we will take it and distribute it to those who really need them.”

You can drop off donations at the Count Government Center, or any Senior Community Centers in the county.