Elderly Benefit Most from Air-Conditioning

(p. A18) The aging process makes older bodies generally less capable of withstanding extreme heat, doctors say.

“They’re at extremely high risk of heat stroke and death,” James H. Diaz, a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at Louisiana State University’s School of Public Health, said of older people. “When we look at what happens with these heat waves, most of the deaths occur in the homebound elderly.”

In many communities, including in New Orleans and Houston, officials have opened cooling centers and shelters in recent weeks, with air-conditioned shuttle buses meandering through neighborhoods, picking people up. Programs are also in place to provide or repair air-conditioners or help people struggling to afford their electricity bills.

. . .

In . . . Orlando, Veronica King, 67, said she keeps her air-conditioner running even if she can’t afford to. “I have to figure out how to cover that bill,” she said, adding that she relies on machines that help her breathe. “When it’s hot, I can’t breathe.”

In Houston, where the heat index could reach 107 degrees on Sunday, Ms. Lowry and her husband, Jasper, 72, have come up with a compromise. They have two cars, neither with working air-conditioning. But they figured they could at least spare the money to repair it in one of them.

For the full story, see:

Shannon Sims and Rick Rojas. “Rising Temperatures Could Bring More Than Misery for Seniors.” The New York Times, First Section (Sunday, July 9, 2023): 18.

(note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated July 12, 2023, and has the title “Rising Temperatures Threaten More Than Misery for Oldest Americans.”)

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