The first week of summer has been welcomed with extreme heat across Texas and many other areas of the nation, and breaks in the triple-digit temperatures will probably be brief until the cool breezes of autumn are welcomed.

That means the reports of illnesses and deaths as a result of excessive heat will become more common. And that means people who see others in physical danger must be willing to react.

Senior citizens arenít the only demographic susceptible to problems as a result of hot weather, but they are more vulnerable. They are also disproportionately represented in statistics that track hospitalizations and deaths as a result of the heat.

Many senior citizens are weakened because of deteriorating health, whether thatís heart disease, respiratory ailments or lapses in judgment. Younger or more able people who are in their families, in their churches or in their neighborhoods should be on guard and prepared to respond ó even if that means intervening against their wishes.

Many senior citizens are more sensitive to cold weather, so they enjoy the warmer months. Some, due to financial worries, decide to leave the air-conditioner turned off.

Many senior citizens prefer not to complain about being uncomfortable, and it may take nothing less than severe pain to prompt them to ask for help. They donít want to be a burden to others, but by the time they signal their discomfort, it could be too late. Many try to sweat it out in overheated homes and apartments, but their bodies are able to cope with the conditions as well as they once could.

The solution could be as simple as taking a person shopping in the heat of the day, or offering a gift of a few dollars to offset utility bills so the air-conditioner can be set at an appropriate level. Stepping in to help is not necessarily being a busybody. It may be a lifesaving act.

Brownwood Bulletin