Shade Brigade looking out for senior citizens in summer's heat

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - A national corporation is looking out for senior citizens this summer. Emeritus Assisted Living has debuted a new campaign called the Shade Brigade, which sends employees out to deliver care kits filled with drinks, fruit and other hydrating items, as well as information about how to stay safe and cool in the heat.

The visitors also perform safety checks for the seniors.

Christine Chisholm with the Emeritus' Shade Brigade in Bakersfield says the goal of the campaign is not to solicit business, because the community is almost always at capacity, but to look out for the health and well-being of local seniors.

"We care for 132 seniors here that we know are safe and get ongoing care. It's really to look out for those seniors in their own home that may be isolated," she says.

Hugh Brown's wife is a resident at Emeritus, but he still lives at the family's home. He says he believes the Shade Brigade can be very helpful.

"I think it could be a great program, especially where people come into elderly peoples' homes. You can tell a lot by just walking in, whether it's too hot or too cold, or by the smells," says Brown.

"A good example," says Chisholm, "is we went to a lady's home to deliver a care kit and checked her air-conditioner and found that it wasn't working properly. Last year, a couple of seniors actually passed away due to heat stroke, so we want to do our part here in Bakersfield to help prevent that if possible."

Brown says he is just glad they are doing it.

Health professionals say to look for signs of dehydration like dry skin and lips, increased thirst, decreased and discolored urine, muscle weakness, joint pain and cramps.

Also to be aware of heat stroke, which is a more severe case of dehydration.