June 20 marks the Summer Solstice. Take advantage of the opportunity presented by the longest day of the year and the first day of summer to educate potential clients about sun safety and heat-related illnesses.
People age 65 and older are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses because they are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Becoming a community advocate for senior heat safety is easy. Here are some tips to help you get started.
- Visit the CDC’s Extreme Heat Media Toolkit page to download and print copies of their informative brochure. Be sure to visit their page on Heat and the Elderly for more great tips. The Arizona Department of Health Services has another great toolkit focusing on heat safety and older adults.
- Contact your local Area Agency on Aging and become an active participant in your community’s summer fan drive to help cool needy seniors and other vulnerable residents. Volunteer to spread the word about the effort and help collect the fans. If there’s no fan drive in your community, partner with your local fire department and collect fans to donate to seniors in your area.
- Contact a local senior center and offer to host a class on heat safety and heart health — heart disease was the underlying cause of death in nearly 60 percent of heat-related deaths between 1999 and 2003. Distribute branded paper or battery-operated fans to attendees, and have plenty of cool, refreshing drinks on hand. Contact TAG Partners at 866-232-6477 for information about branded fans, cups, and other promotional products.
- Contact your local newspaper and offer to write a guest editorial about summer heat safety for seniors. Simply write a letter to the editor expressing the same sentiment in short form if your guest editorial offer is declined.
- Contact your local news stations, newspaper offices and radio stations and volunteer to connect them with a clinician who can speak about heat safety and the elderly or disabled for stories they may be working on about summertime heat.
- Another danger of the summer sun is the sun’s damaging rays. Contact your local minor league ballpark concessions and co-sponsor (with a local dermatologist) an informational booth during the ball game about the importance of skin health and guarding against overexposure. Distribute small bottles of sunscreen or lip balm at event – contact TAG partners for more details on available options.