For Elderly, Shelter From the Heat

By Tom Bacon

A Coeur d' Alene assisted living center is offering a reverse twist on the standard shelter-from-the-cold programs common in Spokane and other cities in the region. The Courtyard Assisted Living Center is offering air-conditioned respite from the pernicious heat - along with plenty of free water. The Courtyard will welcome older people at least through Friday.

The center, located at 2100 East Sherman in Coeur d' Alene, will be open for drop-ins from 10 in the morning until 7 o'clock in the evening - no ID required. Gretchen Tester, who is marketing director for the assisted living center, said seniors, especially, are at high risk for heat-related illness or incapacitation, so the idea is to provide them a safe, cooling place to find some relief.

Experts say the very old and the very young are most at risk. Babies are unable to let adults know they're thirsty or suffering from heat exhaustion. And people age 65 or older may be unable to adjust to sudden changes in body temperature. Underlying health problems, obesity or inexperience in dealing with hot temperatures or humidity may exacerbate the problems.

A heat advisory issued for eastern Washington and the Idaho panhandle was scheduled to expire Tuesday with temperatures expected to drop back into more normal ranges by the end of the week.
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