A heat wave can be dangerous for some vulnerable groups, especially seniors. Many of St. George’s Society’s elderly beneficiaries live alone and do not have family members or friends to make sure they are protected during extreme weather conditions. Thanks to a generous contribution from our board member Vaughan Tredwell, we were able to take action to avoid the severe health problems often caused by hot weather.
The Society’s social workers began the process by identifying who of our beneficiaries is at most risk. The criteria is often: single, multiple medication prescriptions and diagnosis, no family involvement, poor ventilation in apartment, fear about leaving windows open, and most importantly lacking the resources to replace or buy cooling supports.
St. George’s Society social worker, Julie Rosenberg, and volunteer, Chris Evans, utilized their knowledge of Brooklyn and found a small family-owned appliance store to purchase two air conditioners and five fans for seven Brooklyn beneficiaries (interestingly, all our identified beneficiaries lived in Brooklyn). Julie and Chris delivered the fans to five different locations and the air conditioners were installed and in use a day later. Thanks to Julie and Chris hand-delivering the fans, the Society not only saved money on delivery charges but more importantly, provided these beneficiaries with feelings of care and protection.
A couple of weeks earlier, Mary Lamasney (SGS social worker) was contacted by a doctor at New York Methodist Hospital who was concerned about one of our beneficiaries. The doctor explained that the elderly gentleman had been to the ER with an elevated blood pressure, chest pains and dehydration. He was concerned about the senior’s apartment being too hot, especially since he was on multiple cardiac medications, so Mary agreed that an air conditioner was needed immediately.
Initially the beneficiary refused an air conditioner because he was concerned about an increase to his Con Ed bill each month but Mary reassured him that the Society would help if the expense became too much for him to manage (so far he has not required any additional financial assistance). We were able to get an air conditioner unit delivered that afternoon; his superintendent carried it up the three flights and installed it with a safety bracket. It is now operational and the beneficiary is medically stable and extremely thankful.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Vaughan Tredwell and all of our generous donors for helping us to provide lifesaving assistance to people who depend on it.