Monday, August 01, 2011
Heat wave leaves remote, rural elderly indoors, sometimes without proper care and supplies
The heat wave moving across the central U.S. is taking its toll on elderly residents in remote rural areas, in some cases leaving them prisoners of their own homes. Sean Murphy of The Associated Press reports on it from Mulhall, Okla., population 200, one of many towns where temperatures have reached 100 or above for over 30 days in a row. Is there a Mulhall near you?
The local coffee shop, where elderly farmers and retirees usually gather, is almost empty as residents are afraid to go outside for any length of time or distance, especially in the middle of the day. "From 11 to 3, there's nobody here but me, my secretary and my helper," Ray Knight, owner of the makeshift cafe and adjoining steel fabrication shop, told Murphy.
In such communities, "where there are no longer any stores or other services, the elderly must drive other places for almost everything, and that has become daunting this summer," Murphy writes. Many elderly residents in remote areas are staying in their homes, delaying needed medical care and trips to stores for medications and necessary supplies, making them prone to other medical complications.
"I can't hardly do nothing when it's this hot," Bryce Butler, an 86-year-old World War II veteran, told Murphy. Butler said he usually runs errands in Guthrie, about 15 miles away. Marlene Snow, project director of the Logan County Areawide Aging Agency, told Murphy. "We go into plenty of areas where there's not even a service station, no drug store, no grocery stores." (Read more)