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The Citymeals Blog

Food for Though
Dorothy - Heat

Braving the Heat, No Easy Feat

It’s that time of the year – when simply standing outdoors can be too uncomfortable to bear. Summer heat affects all New Yorkers, but it can be particularly agonizing for the homebound elderly. With age, it becomes more difficult for the body to regulate temperature, and older people can be at increased risk for heat-related illnesses during periods of intense heat and humidity.

When the temperatures soar, Citymeals’ volunteers and delivery staff double-down, checking in on 18,000 of their elderly neighbors each day. And last week, CBS New York followed along as they braved the latest heatwave to deliver meals throughout the city. On one of the steamiest days yet, volunteer Emily Engel Peso explained, “It’s really humid. The heat I can kind of deal with. But today feels like you’re in a sauna… without any of the luxury.”


For this reason, Citymeals encourages all New Yorkers to check in on their frail aged neighbors during the summer months, especially those who live alone. Classic symptoms of dehydration to look out for include:

  • Dry, flushed skin
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness
  • Thirst
  • Onset of confusion

Of all types of natural disasters, extreme heat is the leading cause of death for Americans. Remind your frail aged neighbors and loved ones to drink water, wear light, loose fitting clothes, stay indoors, limit physical activity, and use air conditioning or a fan if possible. New York City cooling centers also help locals find nearby hubs with functioning air conditioning.

Food For Thought