Those 60 and older as well as adults with disabilities are eligible to receive fans May 1 to Oct. 31 to help stay cool during the warmer months.
The state Division of Aging and Adult Services has partnered with North Carolina area agencies on aging and local service providers to distribute the fans to those eligible through Operation Fan Heat Relief, which is intended to help vulnerable adults at risk for heat-related illnesses stay safe during the summer. Those eligible can apply at aging agencies across the state.
Since 1986, the relief program has purchased fans for older adults and adults with disabilities, providing them with a more comfortable living environment and reducing heat-related illnesses. Last year, the division received $85,600 in donations, allowing for the distribution of 5,185 fans and 27 air conditioners.
As individuals age and develop chronic medical conditions, they are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature and may also be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat, according to the release.
In addition to applying for fans, the division recommends vulnerable adults to increase fluid intake, spend some time in cool or air-conditioned environments regularly, reduce strenuous activity during the afternoon and speak with their physician before summer about how to stay safe while taking medication that can affect the body’s ability to cool itself during warmer temperatures.
Given the spread of COVID-19, if those 60 and older are visiting a cool space in the house of a neighbor or friend, which is recommended if one doesn’t have adequate cooling, physical distancing of at least 6 feet, wearing a cloth face covering and hand-washing should be practiced.
The program is made possible by donations from Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress and Dominion Resources, which allow regional area agencies on aging and provider agencies to purchase fans for eligible individuals. Provider agencies can also purchase a limited number of air conditioners based on a person’s specific health conditions.
For more details, individuals may contact their Area Agency on Aging or the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services’ Housing Program Consultant at 919-855-3419.