Meals on Wheels volunteers check on their clients during hot days

Soaring temperatures leave seniors susceptible to heat stress

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - With people over 65 considered more susceptible to heat stress given their age, illnesses or medications, Meals on Wheels volunteers try to check on the welfare of its 3,500 clients in Bexar and three surrounding counties.

Meals on Wheels director Jim Snyder said volunteers look for any changes in their clients' look or behavior, and if needed, get them the help they need.

Snyder urges others to do the same by checking on their older neighbors or family members.

"Check on them to make sure they're doing the right thing. To stay cool, stay hydrated and they're taking care of themselves," Snyder said.

Yolanda De La Cruz, 72, a Meals On Wheels client, said she hasn't bothered to fix her two window units or central air conditioning because she's on a fixed income.

De La Cruz said City Public Service has noticed her low usage.

"It's not because I don't want to use it," she said. "It is because I have no money to pay for it."

De La Cruz said she uses box fans and ceiling fans, and when she wakes up at night sweating, she has to sit in front of her fan.

De La Cruz said she's more fortunate than most seniors because her sons and daughters check on her daily, often asking that she stay with them.

But like many seniors, she'd rather stay at home. 

"This is my house, so this is where I like to stay," De La Cruz said.

She said she drinks a lot of water, and when the "coolest" part of the house gets too hot, she likes to sit on her porch in the shade.

"That's the way you got to do it. You have to survive one way or another," De La Cruz said.

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