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Older people vulnerable during hot weather, officials urge people to check on neighbors

A social worker said that many older people live in older homes, often with HVAC systems that may not work.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It has been a warm week in East Tennessee, with temperatures routinely reaching about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Most families have been able to hide from the heat in air-conditioned homes, but experts are urging people to check on their neighbors and make sure they're doing okay too.

"Many seniors live in our community that are in homes that are older and our seniors live on a fixed income, so frequently we may see seniors who have an HVAC system that's not working, not cooling," said Misty Goodwin, the Community Action Committee Social Services director.

The CAC said that they keep their senior center open for people without air conditioning, so they can stay cool in the summer heat. They also have eight box fans available for anyone who needs them, according to officials.

They are also asking the community to donate additional fans at the Ross Building near Western Avenue, so more seniors can stay cool.

Officials also urged seniors to drink plenty of liquids during the summer but said seniors should stay away from alcohol or caffeine. They also if a person's home is not cooling, they should ask a friend or relative for a cool place to stay or go to a senior center.