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DOROT Mobilizes Volunteers to Focus on Well–Being of Frail Elders During Heat Wave

DOROT Mobilizes Volunteers to Focus on Well-Being of Frail Elders During Heat Wave
Morgan, DOROT Summer College Intern

Isolated Older Adults Remain Connected and Safe with Help of DOROT Volunteers

As another week–long heat wave stretches across the eastern part of the United States, DOROT is mobilizing dedicated volunteers to ensure that the agency’s frail clients—many of whom live with chronic illnesses as well as mobility challenges—are prepared, comfortable and well hydrated.

DOROT volunteers were contacted to assist with outreach to vulnerable and homebound older adults, whose susceptibility to heat–related problems is compounded by their isolation. Calls were made to hundreds of seniors who participate in DOROT programs in the New York metropolitan area to confirm that they were comfortable in their homes, had properly functioning fans or air conditioners, were staying well hydrated and were aware of the city’s many cooling centers. Calls will be made continually throughout the week.

DOROT staff briefed the volunteers regarding the questions they should ask and services available from DOROT to ensure that the immediate heat–related needs of seniors in the community were properly addressed. These services—all provided by volunteers—included deliveries of water or fans to seniors who needed them, shopping on their behalf to enable them to remain indoors, and escorting them to local cooling centers if their apartments were intolerably hot. The assurance calls also offered seniors other tips for dealing with extreme heat, such as consistent fluid intake and remaining alert to symptoms of heat–related illness.

One of the seniors who was contacted told the volunteer, “You gave me such good advice. I was about to go out when you called. I stayed home in my air conditioned apartment and I really feel very good. You also gave me other suggestions which I really appreciate.”

“DOROT volunteers, who play an important role in the lives of older adults in our community throughout the year, provide vital reassurance during difficult times,” said Mark L. Meridy, Executive Director of DOROT. “Heat waves are particularly dangerous for seniors and a simple phone call to check on their well–being can have a tremendous impact. Everyone we have called has been incredibly grateful to be thought of and provided with important information.”

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