Skip to Content

Extreme temperatures dangerous for local seniors

Temperatures across Mid-Missouri Tuesday reached as high as 93 degrees with heat indices making it feel like 106 degrees.

According to the Missouri Department of Health, 18 people in the state died from heat-related illnesses in 2014. Between 2003 and 2013, there was a total of 358 reported heat-related deaths, half of which were people at least 65 years old.

“As we get older, it’s a little harder for us to regulate our heat, said Al Barrier, a retired doctor from University of Missouri Healthcare. “And there are delays between getting cool and getting warm. So if we’re trying to protect ourselves from heat, there’s a delay in that and the protection doesn’t last as long.”

Seniors went to the Columbia Senior Center Tuesday to escape the heat, enjoying activities like playing cards and reading books. Barrier, who is 73 years old himself, went for the first time on Tuesday to play bridge.

Many seniors said they have air conditioning at home, but still don’t like to be outside too much on extremely hot days.

“I can work outside maybe from six in the morning until eight,” he said. “If a senior is used to exercising or walking, they need to do it very early or right at dusk when the heat is gone. Trying to do that in the middle of the day is not healthy.”

Services for Independent Living is a non-profit center in Columbia. It has a visitation program where volunteers visit with seniors who live alone to socialize and check in on them.

Katie Derrick, the Volunteer Coordinator, said although most of their clients have air conditioning, on extremely hot days they may check on them more often.

“I think it’s important to check on seniors to make sure they’re doing okay because they are more vulnerable to not be okay on days like today,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard for them to remember to do simple things like drink more water or try to stay inside during those peak hours.”

Derrick said volunteers will also do yard work for seniors to help them avoid the heat.

Columbia has several cooling centers open to the public during months of hot weather. You can find a complete list of the locations here.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

ABC 17 News Team


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content