LOA is once again offering fans or air conditioners to seniors to help combat heat stress brought on by high temperatures. As the thermometer starts to climb, the risk of heat stress increases. Hot weather can strain older persons’ bodies, especially the heart. Some prescription drugs may also reduce their ability to handle the hot weather.

The danger signs of heat stress include dizziness, rapid heartbeat, nausea, throbbing headache, lack of perspiration, chest pains, weakness, breathing problems, cramps and confusion. Older persons should seek medical advice if these symptoms occur. Proper precautions can make the heat more bearable:

• Seek cool surroundings (visit libraries, malls, etc.)

• Drink extra fluids,

• Wear light, loose fitting clothing,

• Reduce physical activity,

• Avoid hot foods and heavy meals,

• Avoid alcohol, and

• Take cooling baths and showers.

Seniors interested in receiving fans from the “Fan Care” program can call the LOA central office for more information at 345-0451. LOA starts accepting applications for the program on May 1. To be eligible for Fan Care persons must meet the following criteria:

• Live in Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Botetourt County, Salem, or Craig County,

• Be 60 years of age or older,

• Have a need for cooling assistance,

• Meet monthly income guidelines

The Cooling Assistance Program, which provides air conditioners to elderly with medical conditions requiring cooling assistance, will begin accepting applications also on May 1. Persons must meet the requirements for Fan Care, but cannot already have a unit in the home.

Donations toward the purchase of fans and air conditioners are being accepted at LOA’s central office, 706 Campbell Ave., Roanoke, 24038-4205. The LOA also accepts donations of new fans and air conditioners for distribution. For more information or to make a donation visit us on the web at: http://www.loaa.org/fan-care/

The annual “Fan Care” program is sponsored locally by Virginia Power, American Electric Power and LOA Area Agency on Aging.