HELENA — Helena, along with the rest of Montana, is going through multiple days of extreme heat. That weather can be particularly hard for vulnerable populations, including seniors.
Leaders with Rocky Mountain Development Council, which runs the Helena Senior Center and other services, say the heat has already been a serious concern for the people they serve.
“It’s been a year where there’s been an extended period of hot weather, and so we really want to encourage our clients to be able come down and enjoy Rocky, where they can enjoy an environment that might be a little cooler than their home environment,” said Rod Applegate, director of Rocky’s senior nutrition and transportation program.
Applegate said the seniors they work with may be more likely to stay in their homes and keep them closed up all day – and less likely to get the hydration they need.
“We want to make sure that they know that we are a resource for them, so if they have any concerns with the temperature within their homes, please give us a call,” he said.
Crews are currently installing a new air conditioning system at the Neighborhood Center, replacing old window units. That should keep the dining area even cooler, starting on Thursday. However, the center will be open Wednesday as well.
“We are open for you to come in, take advantage of activities, come in, read a book, visit with others in the cool new air conditioning that we have,” said Shawna Donaldson, the senior nutrition program manager.
The center will be closed this Friday, for the new Juneteenth holiday, and next Monday, for Independence Day. Otherwise, it will be open weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While you’re dealing with the heat, Rocky has several important tips:
· Drink plenty of fluids, especially water – even if you don’t feel thirsty. Dehydration may have already begun when you notice thirst.
· Stay out of the direct sun whenever possible, especially if you’re on medications. Some medicines may increase your sensitivity to sunlight.
· Keep your windows and curtains closed during the heat of the day, but open them up at night and in the morning, to get more fresh air.