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Fans available for elderly, disabled adults

Posted on May 1, 2021

Local news

Stock photo | Pixabay

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Aging and Adult Services is partnering with the N.C. Area Agencies on Aging and local service providers to distribute fans through Operation Fan Heat Relief until Oct. 31.

People 60 and older, as well as adults with disabilities, are eligible to sign up for assistance through the end of October at local aging agencies across the state. Since 1986, the relief program has purchased fans for older adults and adults with disabilities, providing them with a more comfortable living environment and reducing heat-related illnesses through the year’s hottest months.

As individuals age and develop chronic medical conditions, they’re less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. They may also be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat. Operation Fan Heat Relief helps vulnerable adults at risk for heat-related illnesses stay safe during the summer.

Last year, the division received $85,000 in donations, allowing for the distribution of 4,804 fans and 29 air conditioners.

For more details, residents of Nash, Edgecombe and Wilson counties can contact the area agency on aging administered by the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments at 252-234-5952.

Given the spread of COVID-19, officials say people should check on neighbors and friends 60 and older by phone or internet during periods of high temperatures when possible. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends people without air conditioning visit a cool space in a neighbor’s or friend’s house while adhering to the three Ws — wear a face mask or covering, wait 6 feet apart from others and wash hands frequently.

Donations from Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, Dominion Resources and Valassis fund the program, which allows area agencies on aging and provider agencies to purchase fans for eligible individuals. Provider agencies can also purchase a limited number of air conditioners based on applicants’ specific health conditions.

In addition to applying for fans, people 60 and older and adults with disabilities can take the following steps during high temperatures:

• Increase fluid intake.

• Spend some time in cool or air-conditioned environments regularly.

• Reduce strenuous activity during the afternoon.

• Before summer, speak with a physician about staying safe while taking medication that can affect the body’s ability to cool itself, such as high blood pressure drugs. 

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