Summer tips for elders on staying cool

MEIGS COUNTY — As summer heats up, the Area Agency on Aging 8 offers the following tips on staying cool and details on Ohio’s Summer Crisis Program for elders.

Increase fluid intake; drinking water is best. Avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine because they can add to dehydration and increase the effects of heat illnesses. Do not take salt tablets without a health care provider’s advice. Monitor or limit outdoor activities taking frequent breaks.

The elderly are more prone to heat exhaustion. Symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or fainting. Elders experiencing these symptoms should move to a shady or air-conditioned area and apply cool cloths.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation. Call 911 immediately. Symptoms include a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, red, hot and dry skin with no sweating, rapid pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, unconsciousness, and gray skin.

Before medical help arrives, begin cooling the person by any means possible, such as spraying the person with water from a garden hose or by placing the person in a cool tub of water.

The Home Energy Assistance Program is a federally funded program designed to assist eligible Ohioans meet the cost of summer cooling. The Summer Crisis Program assists households with at least one member age 60 or older, or one member with a documented medical condition that would benefit from continued electric service. Eligible households can receive up to $250 to purchase an air conditioner or fan, and/or to assist in the payment of an electric bill.

“Financially vulnerable seniors and adults with disabilities may qualify for, but are not yet enrolled in, benefits that could help them pay for prescription drugs, or heat and cool their homes,” Gwynn Stewart, communications director for the Area Agency on Aging 8, said. “We have professional information and referral specialists who can help folks get details. Simply call 1-800-331-2644.”

AAA8 region residents may apply for the Summer Crisis Program at area Community Action organizations from July 1- Aug. 31. Eligibility for assistance is based on the emergency criteria and income guidelines are available at

AAA8 serves Athens, Hocking, Meigs, Morgan, Monroe, Noble, Perry and Washington counties. For more information on the Summer Crisis program, call 1-800-331-2644.

To enroll in the Summer Crisis program, contact the Gallia-Meigs CAP at 1-800-282-0880.