Seniors look to escape excessive heat
COLUMBIA - With excessive heat fixed over Mid-Missouri, senior citizens looked for a place to escape the heat on Friday.
People over the age of 65 are more prone to heat-related health problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In order to check on seniors, Services for Independent Living runs a program called "Senior Outreach." Volunteers are matched with a senior and meet with them weekly to chat and get out of the house. The program is especially needed in the summer as temperatures climb.
"It's having that person to come in and check on you, but also to decrease their isolation at times like this because they obviously don't want to go outside," said the organization's volunteer coordinator, Madison Anderson.
She says it is hard to get volunteers when classes are out of session.
"I do get a lot of students, but they go home for the summer," she said. "I want people within Columbia, within the community that are consistent and year-round."
There are other places for seniors to beat the heat.
The Columbia Senior Activity Center seemed to be the hot spot at lunch time.
Ray Preety, a volunteer, said "We have card games. We have bridge club that meets twice a week. We have all types of exercise classes."
But even the activity center is seeing the effects of the heat. Preety said it has not been as busy as usual.
"People go away for the summer. Also, they don't want to leave their air-conditioned homes," he said.
A group of seniors said the activity center is the perfect place to escape the heat. They said it always makes them feel safer than being at home alone.