New report: seniors vulnerable to extreme heat

Q: My 85-year-old father still lives at home alone. I just called and he told me that his air conditioner is broken. He’s in no hurry to get it fixed. The forecast for his community tomorrow is in the upper 90s and I am worried!

A: Contact a repair individual or do what you can fast to convince your father to get his air conditioner fixed. If that doesn’t work, call a friend or companion to take your father to a cooler place during the heat of the day. A local Home Instead Senior Care office could assist in a situation such as this by providing a CAREGiverSM to help your dad stay safe during the hottest times of summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging people – senior citizens in particular – to prepare themselves for the extreme heat of summer after releasing a report showing the U.S. averages 658 deaths a year from this heat. That’s more deaths than from tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightning combined.

In this new report, more than two-thirds of the deaths (69 percent) occurred at home, and 91 percent of those homes lacked air conditioning. Most of those who died were unmarried or living alone, and 72 percent were male.

“Taking common sense steps in extreme temperatures can prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths,” said Robin Ikeda, MD, MPH, acting director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The CDC is urging Americans to stay cool, hydrated and informed. Extreme heat affects everyone, but the elderly, children, the poor or homeless, persons who work or exercise outdoors and those with chronic medical conditions are most at risk.

Extreme heat can lead to very high body temperatures, brain and organ damage and even death. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and cool themselves properly.

A study released recently in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that 7,233 heat-related deaths occurred in the United States from 1999 to 2009.

And an analysis of 2012 data indicates that deaths are on the rise. In a two-week period in 2012, excessive heat exposure resulted in 32 deaths in four states – four times the typical average for those states for the same two-week period from 1999 to 2009.

For more information about the heat, visit this new page from the Centers for Disease Control at extremeheat.

For more information about Home Instead Senior Care, contact DeLauter at 866-522-6533 or visit

DeLauter is the owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Lewisburg, which serves Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Lycoming, Clinton, Montour and Columbia counties.