As the mercury continues to rise in Oklahoma, AARP urges local residents to check on older friends and loved ones during the extreme heat.
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“Older Oklahomans are among the most susceptible to heat-related illness and deaths,” said AARP State President Marjorie Lyons, a retired nurse. “It is critically important to check on older neighbors and family members, especially those who live alone. Not only do older people lose some of their ability to adapt to heat, certain medications interfere with the body’s ability to handle heat.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, extreme heat kills more Americans each year than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes and floods combined, Lyons said.
AARP is making a special online toolkit available titled “Help Someone Stay Cool During Extreme Heat.” To access the kit, which offers an action list for heat emergencies, create a free login then visit the “how to guides” at Create the Good online.
AARP’s toolkit also offers a checklist on how to assess whether an elderly resident has access to air conditioning, ways to minimize extraneous heat sources and determine whether concern about high utility bills may be contributing to the non-use of air conditioners.
Lyons said it is important to note that while electric fans can provide comfort, when the temperature is extreme, fans will not prevent heat-related illnesses.
“Every heat-related illness and death is preventable,” she said. “That’s why AARP is encouraging you to check on people in your community during this heat wave. Take a minute and download our free toolkit then make a list of neighbors or others in your community who you think might be especially susceptible to extreme heat.”