Elderly at greatest risk for heat-related illness, death - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Elderly at greatest risk for heat-related illness, death

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You'd probably never guess that Jacqueline Conner is 81 years young, and after spending 51 of those years in Louisiana, the extreme summer heat is a familiar visitor.

"The sun does do a job on you so most of us wear a hat."

Conner now teaches swimming lessons at the Bossier Council on Aging, and emphasizes how important it is for seniors to stay hydrated during the summer months.

"We have a lot of water given to us, you know, but we need it when we're exercising."

BCOA Executive Director Tamara Crane says it's up to the community to keep an eye on our elderly.

Call regularly, drop in frequently, and make sure your neighbors who may be home-bound are keeping cool inside.

"If I see your paper still out by 11:00am, I'm going to come check on you. If I don't see your blinds open by 9:00am, I'm going to come check on you," Crane says.

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, nausea, muscle cramps and dizziness.

If you find someone suffering from these symptoms, get medical help immediately.

In the meantime, try to move the person to a cool place, get them a cool, non-alcoholic drink, and try to immerse them in cool water or cover them with wet cloths.

"Seniors sometimes have to make that difficult decision on whether to turn down the AC a little bit or buy medicine or food that month."

"You don't realize that someday you're gonna be there too, and you're going to want someone to help you," Conner says.

The Caddo and Bossier Councils on Aging want to keep area senior citizens safe and cool this summer and are providing fans to residents.

Contact the BCOA at (318) 741-8302 or the CCOA at (318) 676-7900 for more information on how to get a fan or on area activity centers.

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