Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — 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 to eligible recipients through Operation Fan Heat Relief.
People age 60 and older, as well as adults with disabilities, are eligible for assistance and can contact aging agencies across the state May 1 through October 31. 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 hotter months of the year.
As individuals age and develop chronic medical conditions, they are 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.
In addition to applying for fans, people 60 and older, as well as 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; and
Speak with their physician before summer about how to stay safe while taking medication that can affect the body’s ability to cool itself (e.g., high blood pressure drugs)
The program is made possible by donations from Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, Dominion Resources and Valassis, which allow regional area agencies on aging and provider agencies to purchase fans for eligible individuals. Provider agencies can alo purchase a limited number of air conditioners based on a person’s specific health conditions.
Last year, the division received $85,000 in donations, allowing for the distribution of 4,804 fans and 29 air conditioners.
Given the spread of COVID-19, people should check on neighbors and friends age 60 and older by phone or internet during high temperatures when possible. Visiting a cool space in the house of a neighbor or friend is recommended if one doesn’t have adequate cooling, but adhering to the 3Ws — wear, wait, wash — is recommended.
For more details, individuals may contact their Area Agency on Aging or the Division of Aging and Adult Services’ Housing Program Consultant at 919-855-3419.
More information about Operation Fan Heat Relief, including tips on preparing for extreme heat and a list of local agencies distributing fans, is available at www.ncdhhs.gov/operation-fan-and-heat-relief.