As Another Major Hot Spell Arrives, Concerns Rise Over Elder Oregonians

Jul 29, 2021

With triple-digit highs expected across Oregon through Saturday, memories of last month’s deadly heat dome are prompting senior advocates to be vigilant.

Cool spaces with a fan (if AC isn't available) is one way to duck the heat.
Credit Swaminathan Jayaraman / Unsplash

Authorities say at least 116 Oregonians died in the late June hot spell.  Many were isolated, lacking air conditioning, and elderly.

Regional forecast map for the Pacific Northwest, showing areas to be hit with triple digit highs.
Credit NOAA

Bandana Shrestha is the state director for AARP Oregon.  She said it’s essential for older residents to keep cool, hydrated, and informed.

“Tune into your radio. Stay informed by looking at how the heat index is going up,” said Shrestha.

“For those people who especially rely on mediation or CPAP machines, if there’s an electric outage that could be really deadly. So being aware of what’s going on is really important for those folks and for caregivers who have family members who use those devices.”

Shrestha said having relatives or neighbors check in on elders is important. And if they lack AC, to invite them over during the peak temperatures.  People should avoid cooking, strenuous activity, and dehydration.

“People should be drinking water and not when you get thirsty, but ahead of time,” added Shrestha. “Unless you have physicians saying, ‘Don’t drink a lot of water, you should avoid that.’ But staying hydrated generally for a lot of people is a good thing to do.”

Cooling centers can be found online at many city and county government sites as well.

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