Soaring Heat Puts Older Illinoisans At Risk

Jun 20, 2012, 11:51 ET from AARP Illinois

AARP Provides Quick Tips to Beat the Heat – Reminds People to Check in on Elderly Friends and Neighbors

CHICAGO, June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With temperatures climbing well above 90 degrees this week across Illinois, AARP is reminding individuals to check in on elderly family members, friends, and neighbors who may be at particular risk of heat-related health problems such as heatstroke and heat exhaustion. 

According to the National Weather Service, 206 people died of heat-related exposure in 2011.  Thirty-three of the 206 deaths occurred in Illinois, the third highest in the nation.   

"It's critical that people watch out for each other when the temperatures start to climb and take precautions to ensure that elderly relatives, friends and neighbors have a cool place to seek shelter," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois Senior State Director. 

AARP has several quick tips for preventing a heat-related emergency:  

  • Do not engage in strenuous activity.
  • Stay indoors during the hottest times of the day.
  • Close your shades to keep out the sunshine.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, stay on the lower-level in your home -- heat rises.
  • Check with your local agency for cool places you can go, such as libraries, public buildings, or air-conditioned malls.
  • Wear light-weight, loose fitting clothing and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses or using an umbrella.
  • Drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty. This helps keep your body cool.

Several communities across the state are working with their local Post Offices in the Carrier Alert Program, a free service that allows letter carriers to check on the well-being of older adults and the homebound. Check with you local Post Office to see if your community participates in it, or visit this website for more information:

You can also work with your friends and neighbors to check on elderly neighbors – go to AARP's Create The Good program ( to find specific resources and toolkits for your local area.