• When temps rise, Boston nonprofit provides 'a degree of comfort'

    By: Crystal Haynes

    Updated:

    BOSTON - The oppressive heat and humidity is breaking but it’s been a long stretch of brutal heat in New England. 

    Boston has already had 14 days over 90 degrees and that puts some of our most vulnerable citizens, like seniors, at risk. 

    Delivering a hot meal to a senior in need may seem like a small thing, but on a 90-degree day it’s no small task. 

    Boston nonprofit Ethos says it could mean the difference between life and death.

    “As seniors get older they become less aware of changes in their body temperature,” Raymond Santos explained. “Having someone to check in on them such as a Meals on Wheels driver or case manager is really critical."

    Dan William's mom is 91. 

    “It's a real degree of comfort that it provides for the family,” Williams told Boston 25 News of having regular check-ins. 

    A University of Chicago Medical Center study found that 40 percent of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. were among people over 65.

    “In the City of Boston, we have a number of frail seniors and they may not have traditional supports nearby,” Santos said. 

    Seniors are also connected to a case worker at Ethos. If a meal is missed, someone calls or makes a home visit by the next day. 

    John Ristuccia is also in his 90s and with Ethos, he’s able to stay in his home. 

    "Some people aren't as lucky as I am,” Ristuccia said. 

    Many seniors also have underlying health conditions that make them less able to adapt to heat.

    Also, many medicines that seniors take can contribute to dehydration -- another reason why checking in on seniors is so important.

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