Se­niors helped out of sti­fling cen­ters

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS - FLORIDA By Terry Spencer and Jay Reeves

HOL­LY­WOOD, FLA. » Florida se­niors were ush­ered out of sti­fling as­sisted-liv­ing cen­ters Thurs­day while care­givers fought a lack of air con­di­tion­ing with Pop­si­cles and cool com­presses af­ter eight peo­ple died at a nurs­ing home in the posthur­ri­cane heat.

Dozens of the state’s se­nior cen­ters still lacked elec­tric­ity in the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Irma, and sev­eral fa­cil­i­ties were forced to evac­u­ate. While de­tec­tives sought clues to the deaths, emer­gency work­ers went door to door to look for any­one else who was at risk.

Fifty- seven res­i­dents were moved from a sub­ur­ban Fort Laud­erdale as­sisted-liv­ing fa­cil­ity with­out power to two nearby homes where power had been re­stored. Owner Ralph Mar­rin­son said all five of his Florida fa­cil­i­ties lost elec­tric­ity af­ter Irma. Work­ers scram­bled to keep pa­tients cool with emer­gency stocks of ice and Pop­si­cles.

Stepped- up safety checks were con­ducted around the state af­ter eight deaths at the Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter at Hol­ly­wood Hills, which shocked Florida’s top lead­ers as they sur­veyed de­struc­tion from the pun­ish­ing storm.

Older peo­ple can be more sus­cep­ti­ble to heat be­cause their bod­ies do not ad­just to tem­per­a­tures as well as those of younger peo­ple. They do not sweat as much and are more likely to have medical con­di­tions that change how the body re­sponds to heat. They are also more likely to take med­i­ca­tion that af­fects body tem­per­a­ture.

Most peo­ple who die from high body tem­per­a­ture, known as hy­per­ther­mia, are over 50, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health.

Statewide, 64 nurs­ing homes were still wait­ing Thurs­day for full power, ac­cord­ing to the Florida Health Care As­so­ci­a­tion. The sep­a­rate Florida As­sisted Liv­ing As­so­ci­a­tion said many of its South Florida mem­bers lacked elec­tric­ity. The group was work­ing on a pre­cise count.

A day ear­lier near Or­lando, fire­fight­ers helped re­lo­cate 122 peo­ple from two as­sisted-liv­ing cen­ters that had been with­out power since the storm. And at the 15,000-res­i­dent Cen­tury Vil­lage re­tire­ment com­mu­nity in Pem­broke Pines, where there were also wide­spread out­ages, res­cue work­ers went door to door to check on res­i­dents and bring ice, wa­ter and meals.

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