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Senior citizens keep cool at Washington Park Senior Center

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — We’ve seen heat and high dewpoints all week, leading to hot, sticky conditions — conditions that can be deadly for the vulnerable, like the elderly and young children. Folks with Milwaukee’s Interfaith were checking on some of the city’s elderly on Thursday, July 18th.

Betty Smith is with Interfaith, a Milwaukee program for older adults. On Thursday, she checked on a client whom she worried may not be doing well in the heat — bringing her a fan and making sure she was drinking a lot of water.

When it gets hot, many seniors go to senior centers, like the one at Washington Park. Being indoors in the air conditioning is especially nice when temperatures are in the 90s, dewpoints are high and no air conditioning is available at home.

Mike Keim was at the Washington Park Senior Center on Thursday. He is without air conditioning at home, and said he had a fan in every room Wednesday night, but says they didn’t work very well.

Health officials say the elderly, the very young, those on certain medications and those with underlying health issues are most vulnerable during a heat advisory.

“I have bronchitis, emphysema. I have asthma,” Dora Sims said.

With all of her health challenges, Sims says she knows she must protect herself.

“I get in the van and I come here. I’m in here until I get ready to go. Then when I go home, I’m in my house and I don’t go out no more. I have central air,” Sims said.

For the vulnerable, it’s important to stay informed about the weather conditions and act accordingly.

“I have one air conditioner. It’s a sleeve air conditioner. It’s in living room, so the last couple of nights I’ve been sleeping on the couch to get the benefits of the air conditioner. I close the bedroom door and the bathroom door,” Jim Stoke said.

Many senior citizens say they enjoy coming to the Washington Park Senior Center both for the air conditioning, and the ability to socialize.

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