Checking on Seniors in the Heat — “Beyond the Scope of Government”
ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)– In a city of 319,000 residents, spread out across 61 square miles, city health officials are worried about the some 35,000 seniors and disabled surviving this week’s heat wave.
Health Director Pam Walker says it’s a task beyond the scope of government alone.
“The capacity for government to go to every single home and see how people are doing is just not realistic,” Walker said, “So, the way we’re going to save lives are for people checking on each other. They know who their neighbors are and who’s going to need help.”
But the city is manning the phones, calling a list of some 1,500 people known to have special needs to make sure they’re ok. If no one answers, Walker says, someone will be sent to knock on the door in person.
Overnight, Walker says there were no suspected heat deaths reported and only four heat illnesses at area hospitals.
Citywide, the 2010 Census shows 35, 175 people over the age of 65 living in the city.
The breakdown by age brackets shows 10,045 people between the ages of 65 and 69; 7,644 between the ages of 70 and 74; 6,646 between the ages of 75 and 79; 5,462 between the ages of 80 and 84; and 5,378 are 85 and older.