OUT & ABOUT: Make sure seniors stay cool

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Sharon Dooley | Daily News contributing writer

The Council on Aging of West Florida, serving Santa Rosa and Escambia counties, uses its Senior Chill Out each summer to raise heat exhaustion awareness among seniors and caregivers.

Part of the effort includes distributing air conditioners and fans to low fixed-income seniors in the two counties.

“The elderly, their bodies can’t regulate to temperatures like they used to,” said Josh Newby, marketing and communications director of Council on Aging of West Florida. “If there are seniors in need, if they need relief from the heat, they would call our office.”

Helping raise the funds to purchase those cooling units is the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation.

Pensacola-based Home Instead Senior Care franchise owners Stacy Robello and Kaipo Robello initiated an application to the foundation with the West Florida council in mind.

“The foundation is a national program that helps senior organizations,” she said. “The foundation is for everybody.”

The fundraiser is web-based and can be made beginning July 1 at www.GIVE65.com. In addition, the foundation matches every donation up to $5,000. Local donations remain local, Robello said.

To learn about Senior Chill Out, call 850-432-1475 or visit www.coawfla.org.

The Walton Okaloosa Council on Aging doesn’t distribute cooling units, but it does offer financial assistance with summer electric bills.

The help is income based, and senior recipients must have either an overdue notice or face an imminent disconnect of the electricity.

To learn more, call 892-8165 or visit www.wocoa.net/services.

A few months ago, Pat Dougherty made a gusty change at Papa Joe’s Hideaway, a Fort Walton Beach bar and grill, turning the bar into a smoke-free facility.

“What inspired me was the state of Florida,” she said.

Her Buffalo wings became so popular that the food sales changed the Papa Joe’s status from a smoking-allowed bar to restaurant status under the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act.

“Nonsmokers are very happy that it’s smoke-free,” Dougherty said.

Papa Joe’s outside deck provides a smoking section.

Dougherty made the changes on her own, but other smoking-allowed business owners who wish to make the transition can get help through the Okaloosa County Health Department and its Tobacco Free Florida/Okaloosa County programs: 833-9240, ext. 2351, or tobaccofreeokaloosa@flhealth.gov.

To learn more about Papa Joe’s Hideaway, visit www.facebook.com/papajoes.hideaway.

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