SAN ANTONIO – With the mercury hitting triple digits, thermometers are reading SOS: Save Our Seniors.
So many elderly people can’t afford proper air conditioning or fans to stay cool, so they’re going without this summer.
It’s a decision that can have deadly consequences.
When the stifling suns sends the rest of us scrambling for shade, you can usually find Ora Arch on her porch.
“Well, I don’t have a problem with heat,” she says. “Because I’m used to it.”
She has two window units in her East Side home. The one in the bedroom’s working fine. The one up front’s broken, so the house is hot – really hot.
Although, you won’t hear the 82-year-old complain.
"Well, I'm from the country,” Arch says. “Picked cotton, chopped corn. Whatever we had to do out in the field, that's what we did."
The rule of thumb: the elderly should not be inside a room hotter than 85 degrees.
"Anytime there's an enclosed area where there's no ventilation, there's no air circulating, the temperature can rise much, much more quickly than we think,” Monica Ramos with the Salvation Army says.
She says seniors are more susceptive to the dangers posed by extreme heat.
"A lot of seniors may have medical conditions or may be on medications that can dehydrate them,” Ramos says.
That’s why it’s so important seniors have proper ventilation and family members around to make sure they’re okay.
Arch says she has a good fan, but like so many, has no family – just a good friend.
“Me and the good Lord,” she says.
The city has a program called Project Cool
to distribute free box fans to seniors during the summer. Click here to donate or request a fan.