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Keep an eye on seniors during this heat wave

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Extreme heat can have devastating effects on senior citizens, but there are resources available to keep them cool.

This time of year, when temperatures become dangerously hot, Meals on Wheels provides more than just a hot meal. Five days a week, Paul Nixon drops off meals to seniors in Utah County. On Tuesday, he checked on a client in Saratoga Springs.

“I try to keep a really good eye out on how they're doing. Making sure they're not too hot,” Nixon said.

If some of them are struggling with heat, Nixon can help.

“We take fans as donations that we sometimes give out,” Nixon said.

Afton January is with Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services. Every year, they ask the public and local businesses to donate new fans to help give seniors some relief.

“We're hoping with the extreme temperatures today and this summer will inspire some folks to get out, grab a fan and bring it on down to the government center and help us help our community," January said.

As temperatures climb this week, other agencies are working hard to keep seniors safe.

“I'll get seniors calling in just trying to figure out 'My house is way too hot, how can I not die of heat in the summer time?',” said Tanya Gale, Heat Program Coordinator for Mountainland Association of Governments.

Gale serves seniors in Summit, Utah and Wasatch counties. They offer programs for seniors who can’t afford AC or need help paying their utilities.

“It's a really good program. It helps a lot because there's usually a lot more going on in their lives than just their utilities getting disconnected," Gale said.

But everyone can do their part. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams encourages people to take this pledge and check on your neighbors during this heat wave.

Keep these tips in mind as well:

“Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of liquids. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Particularly if you're going to be out in the heat. Obviously, wearing appropriate clothing, light colors, cool fabrics, things that are breathable and non-restrictive are best,” said January.

There are there are places folks can go to get some relief from the heat. To find a cooling zone near you, or to donate a new or unused fan, click here: http://slco.org/aging-adult-services/

The cooling zones are free and open to the public.

For more information about senior services provided at Mountainland Association of Governments, click here: https://www.mountainland.org/