Aging Services seeks donation of fans for elderly

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Help your neighbor – CDC tips on how to keep an eye on a nearby senior

ROCKINGHAM — The head of the Richmond County Aging Services told The Pee Dee Post this week that additional fans are needed to help county seniors cope with the heat and humidity.

Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jacqueline Welch, executive director, said 31 fans have been purchased or donated and given to seniors but another 21 people are on a wait list.

The need, Welch said, varies year to year. In 2013, the agency distributed 59 box fans to county senior residents but “in 2012, we gave over 100.”

The agency, which doubles as the Rockingham Senior Center on South Lawrence Street in downtown Rockingham, has already received donations from some businesses and nonprofit organizations including Bryant’s Turf and Landscape, Denise’s Diner, Pee Dee Electric and the Ellerbe Lions Club.

Handling the heat is serious business. According to a report presented in September 2012 at the North Carolina Public Health Association meeting in New Bern, heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the U.S. at approximately 700 deaths per year. And the impact is final — more than 80 percent of those who suffer heat stroke die from from heat stroke.

Statistics indicate emergency room visits for North Carolina patients for treatment of heat-related illnesses is on the rise — and more so for rural areas.

Donations of box fans are greatly appreciated, Welch said, but noted that with cash donations, her agency — working a partnership with an area business — can purchase box fans at a discounted rate not available to the public.

Either type of donation works well, Welch said, because both types serve the county’s senior population.

“I don’t want to turn down a fan if someone wants to bring it,” she said.

The only requirement is that it must be a new item and not “gently used,” as has been accepted in past years.

When asked if the heat or humidity was more intolerable for seniors, Welch said it was both. And what’s worse, she said, is the senior population that has air conditioning in their homes but choose not to use it “because of the cost.”

There are no income guidelines for seniors, age 55 and up, to receive a fan. To help the Richmond County Aging Services or to request a fan, call Welch at 910-4997-4491. Fan scan be dropped off t 225 S. Lawrence St. between 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Friday.

 

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