In a letter today, AARP has urged the President to release more than $200 million in emergency energy assistance after the nation was swept by a searing heat wave last week. Emergency funding, found in Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) contingency funds, can be released at the President's discretion to aid communities and individuals affected most by their inability to cool their homes in 100 degree or higher weather.
"The safety and security of low income Americans, especially older Americans, should not be compromised," said Bill Novelli, AARP CEO, in his letter to the President. "Beyond concerns with widespread personal hardships, ignoring energy assistance needs has proven to be penny-wise and pound-foolish - with a substantial human and economic toll that includes increased heat-related illnesses and deaths, and unanticipated health care costs."
Since many Americans are unable to pay their utilities, or are forced to choose between utility payments and other imperative expenses, LIHEAP is a resource for many during the hottest and coldest times of the year is. The program provides aid for those who need extra help paying their utility bills. To find out if you are eligible for this, and other public services, visit the AARP Benefits QuickLink at http://www.aarp.org/money/lowincomehelp/quicklink/.
Areas of the nation continue to experience unseasonably warm weather. Until emergency funds are released, AARP continues to encourage older Americans nationwide to heed warnings and avoid the heat. As many know, older people, children and others with certain medical conditions (e.g., heart disease) are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness and death. Now is not the time for chores or running errands.
"Heat waves like the one we recently experienced can be miserable for all ages, but potentially life threatening for older residents," said Elinor Ginzler, AARP Director for Livable Communities. "We especially encourage friends and family to check in with their loved ones on a regular basis and make sure they are doing what they can to beat the heat."
Ten Tips for Beating the Heat
- Relax and put off chores and any strenuous activity.
- Stay indoors during the hottest times of the day.
- Close your shades to keep out the sunshine.
- If you do not have air conditioning, stay on the lower-level in your home--heat rises.
- Check with your local agency for cool places you can go such as libraries and public buildings, or a mall with air conditioning.
- Wear light-weight, loose fitting clothing and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses or using an umbrella.
- Drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty. This helps keep your body cool.
- Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages.
- If you have a chronic medical condition, talk with your doctor about additional precautions you should take to prevent heat related illness. Some conditions and medications may place you at higher risk.
- Neighbors, friends or family should check in on older people in their homes to make sure they are not suffering from the heat.
The full text of Bill Novelli's letter to the President can be accessed by clicking here: http://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/presscenter/novelli_letter_LIHEAP_071807.pdf
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50 + educators; and our website, www.aarp.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.