Soaring Heat Puts Older Illinoisans At Risk

Jul 18, 2013, 12:26 ET from AARP Illinois

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

CHICAGO, July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With temperatures climbing well above 90 degrees this week across the state and heat indexes into triple digits, AARP is reminding Illinoisans to check in on elderly relatives, 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, 155 people died of heat-related exposure in 2012.  Thirty-two deaths occurred in Illinois, the second highest in the nation. Seventy-five percent of all heat-related deaths in the nation affected individuals 50 and older. 

"It's critical that people watch out for each other in this kind of weather and take precautions to ensure that elderly relatives, friends and neighbors have a cool place to seek shelter," said Gerardo Cardenas, Director of Communications for AARP Illinois. 

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.

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.