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For seniors in CMHA housing, a heat wave and no AC

CINCINNATI — If you’re reading this, it’s unlikely you need anyone to tell you it’s hot in Cincinnati. But “you can’t imagine” how hot it’s gotten inside The Redding, a senior housing complex run by the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, unless you experience it for yourself, resident Andrew Black said Wednesday.

“You can’t imagine how hot it gets in there,” he said. “It gets so hot it’s like you’re in an oven or something. All you can do is sit in there and sweat. Even in the hallways, it’s hot.”

The building’s central air-conditioning system is broken and won’t be fully repaired for at least two weeks.

CMHA representatives are doing spot-fixes until then. They’ve installed window units in individual apartments, including Black’s, and ordered a temporary replacement part for the central system. It’s expected to arrive Thursday.

Paula Smith, a spokesperson for the Council on Aging, said her organization is conducting wellness checks to ensure residents are OK in the meantime.

Seniors are at higher risk of heat-related health complications than other age groups, Smith added.

"Our bodies don't adjust as well to sudden changes of temperature as we age, and we’re more likely to have medical conditions that impact how our body responds to heat,” she said.

The Council on Aging may be covering The Redding, but it’s a good idea for anyone to check in on their senior relatives and neighbors when severe weather hits.

Smith recommended ensuring seniors in your life are drinking cool water, wearing light, loose clothing and staying in an air-conditioned space when possible.

"Probably the best thing would be to lay eyes on somebody, to see them, to see their physical condition and their living environment,” she said.

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