The Union Recorder

January 29, 2014

The elderly are at risk in this frigid weather, assist

The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — A temporary shelter, organized by members of the community, is giving a number of locals warmth during this latest cold weather snap.

As temperatures dip below freezing and forecasts of sleet and possible snow make their way central Georgia, we should all be reminded of those who may be in need of resources and assistance to fend off the cold.

Many of those in need are some of the community's most susceptible - children and the elderly.

Many elderly members of the community live alone and may need someone to look in on them throughout the day. Check in on older neighbors as the temperatures drop and offer assistance if needed. It is important to also not overlook the caregivers who care for them as well.

Extreme cold can pose a health threat to everyone, but recent colder temperatures are especially dangerous for the elderly.  

Those over the age of 65 account for nearly half of all hypothermia deaths. Hypothermia can develop in older adults after relatively short exposure to cold weather or even a small drop in temperature, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Experts say as the body ages, the ability to maintain normal internal body temperatures decreases, creating insensitivity to moderately cold temperatures.

Many times senior may not realize they are putting themselves at risk until symptoms appear, which is why neighbors should offer a lookout.

Those seeking shelter in the inclement weather can be directed to Northridge Campus Church, located at 555 N. Columbia St. The church opened its doors at 2 p.m. Tuesday to bring residents in from the cold.

Take some time to check on your neighbors, particularly the elderly, and loved ones to see if they have access to heat and are dressed warmly.