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Help local elders stay safe and endure hot weather this summer

Help local elders stay safe and endure hot weather this summer

Last summer when the call went out for help for our citizens, you answered.

"I don't remember a lot. All I know is when I came to myself, I was in the hospital," said James Johnson, who received a window AC unit.

James, 77, was suffering from serious health complications. Heart failure, breathing problems, multiple medications - he was dealing with it all in the sweltering heat with no air conditioning.

"It would be 85, 90 degrees outside, but it would be hotter in here. It was tough on it," he said.

Josh Newby with the Council On Aging says this is, sadly, the situation faced by thousands of seniors in our communities.

"It climbs into the 90s, if not the triple digits, on a regular basis. For a lot of our elders, they simply, they don't have air conditioning in their home. and because of the medications that they're on and because of the illnesses that they're living with, their bodies aren't very responsive to that heat. So, their bodies lose that ability to regulate that temperature and it becomes very dangerous for them," Josh said.

A window unit that had been in the home was decades old with corroded wiring. Mr. Johnson was afraid to use it because it was a fire hazard. With medical and household expenses, there just wasn't money to buy a new one. Last year, he reached out to the Council On Aging when he heard about people donating air conditioners and fans to help seniors like him.

"We're just the middle man. The community is the one that gave these donations. The community is the one that has this outpouring of love," Josh said.

"I have the unit going and the fan sitting there on the floor, blowing the warm air out and the cool air comes in. So, it's working out just fine," James said.

Just fine indeed. Mr. Johnson is breathing a little easier now and resting much better as well. For him and the others who were helped last year, the kindness of strangers has been more than a blessing.

"We give them the air conditioner; we give them the fan. I mean, there's tears streaming down their faces. They're so grateful. It's a lifesaver," Josh said.

Click here for more information on how you can get involved and help.

Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Nemours Children's Specialty Care.

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