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Local health agencies host fan drive to keep seniors cooled down this summer

Posted at 11:08 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 00:08:12-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Summer officially kicks off tomorrow and keeping cool is a priority.

Health care agencies like Signature Care, Visiting Angels, and Brazos Home Care are coming together to keep the senior community cooled down in these extreme heat temperatures.

“Nine times out of 10 the biggest fear is dehydration and of course, folks may not be able to necessarily have that air circulation in their homes at all times during the summer,” said Claudia Massie, Director of Patient Care, Visiting Angels.

Dr. Thomica James Evans is the medical director at Signature Care and says as we get older, it can be more to difficult to regulate our body temperature.

“As you age, your ability to what we call thermo-regulate, to regulate your body temperature is altered often,” said Dr. Thomica James-Evans, Medical Director, Signature Care. “Oftentimes, elderly patients or people are taking medications that interfere with your ability to regulate your temperature as well.”

This is Brazos Home Care’s first year helping with the fan drive and patients have already reached out about getting a fan.

“We want to make sure that everyone that needs a fan or assistance colling their home with a fan, has that ability,” said Melissa Palmarez, Social Media Coordinator, Brazos Home Care. “We have had several people have fans delivered already.”

Judith Defauw is a local senior in College Station and says she was planning to buy a fan.

“It was something I was going to buy, so you saved me that trouble and the money,” said Judith DeFauw, a local senior citizen. “I appreciate it.”

Judith says she doesn’t have a ceiling fan in her living room, and she likes the air to circulate as it helps her sleep.

She says now she can focus on her other necessities.

“I’ve got several other things I’m trying to get taken care of right now,” said DeFauw. “One is the hearing aids and I’ve managed to get my car insurance.”

Dr. James-Evans says senior citizens may experience temperature differences.

“Oftentimes, older people feel cold even when everyone else is warm,” said Dr. James-Evans.

She shares how to quickly cool yourself off if you find yourself overheating.

“Apply ice like under your arms and to the neck,” said Dr. James-Evans. “That helps cool off the core temperature of the body and can often get their temperate down enough.”

Ashley Allen and Claudia Massie work with local health agencies as they put on the fan drive.

They say this is the most donations they have received.

“They just kept coming in,” said Ashley Allen, Marketing Regional Manager, Signature Care- 24 HOUR ER. “It definitely tripled since the first year we’ve done it.

Even after the event ended, there were still calls and folks dropping them off,” said Massie.

Sandra Arellano Riveras is with the area agency on aging and says she’s already given out numerous fans to her patients

“I’ve already given out probably eight or nine of them when the temperatures started getting hot,” said Sandra Arellano-Riveras, Care Giver Coordinator Specialist, Brazos Valley Area Agency on Aging. “This contribution, this drive, really helps us throughout the year.”

All donated fans will go to our local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) and Adult Protective Services.

If you are interested in donating or receiving a fan, you can go to the Brazos Valley Council of Governments for donation drop-off or patient pick-up.