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City Offers Options To Keep Elderly Safe After 2nd Heat Related Death

By ABC-7 Reporter/Anchor Abe Lubetkin

EL PASO, Texas – When paramedics arrived at the home of an eighty-four year-old El Paso woman last week, it was too late.

Her air conditioner was broken, and she was suffering from heat stroke. The next day she died in a hospital -the victim of a preventable death.

Triple-digit heat is tough for anyone who has to spend an extended period of time outside, but elderly people are particularly susceptible.

If you’re worried about someone in the heat this summer, you have several ways to make sure he or she is safe.

One option: Adult Protective Services (1-800-252-5400)

“We do not need people to be dying or getting sick because of extreme heat,” said Paul Zimmerman, a spokesman for the regional office of Adult Protective Services. He said heat-related calls are the agency’s top priority.

“We can come in and can assist. We can maybe connect them with community resources to help them possibly pay an electric bill, or fix a broken air conditioner.”

Volunteer caseworkers will make face-to-face welfare checks within 24-hours of receiving a call.

Another Option: The City of El Paso’s “Calling All Seniors” Line (915-541-4025)

You can add your name – or the name of an elderly friend or relative – to the city’s “Calling All Seniors”list.

Volunteers willcall as often as the recipient wants.

If volunteers can’t get in touch with the call recipient, they will notify police, who will then do a welfare check.

A Third Option: Personal Welfare Checks

Of course – if you’re worried about someone, you can always drop by and make sure the person is all right.

That’s what El Pasoan James Perry said he does.

“Make sure they’ve got plenty of liquid in the house,” he said. “Ice cold water – ice.”

Zimmerman from Adult Protective Services saidsome seniors don’t like to run their air-conditioners because it’s a drain on electricity that makes monthly bills more expensive.

Agency caseworkers advise those seniors to turnon theair on for at least 15 minutes every hour or so.

That solution isn’t perfect, but it’s better than running no air when it’s hotter than 100 degrees.

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