Gov. Pat Quinn is urging people across Illinois to take advantage of the state’s warming centers as temperatures across the state continue to fall.
The state has opened more than 100 warming centers to provide shelter from the bitter cold.
The warming centers are located at Illinois Department of Human Services offices. IDHS warming centers are open to the public during regular business hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In addition to the IDHS warming centers, the Illinois Tollway Oases in the Chicago area are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Quinn and the Illinois Department on Aging also are encouraging relatives and friends to make daily visits or calls to older adults living alone.
Older persons are more susceptible to the cold, so seniors should set their thermostats above 65 degrees. People who lower the thermostat to reduce heating bills risk developing hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition in which the body temperature drops dangerously low. Also at an increased risk are older people who take certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition and who have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The following are tips seniors are encouraged to follow during cold temperatures:
• Dress in layers, both indoors and outdoors. Keep active. Make a list of exercises and activities to do indoors when you can’t get out.
• Eat well and drink 10 glasses of water daily; stock up on non-perishable food supplies, just in case.
• Keep extra medications in the house. If this is not possible, make arrangements to have someone pick up and deliver your medications.
In Madison County, warming centers are available at 606 W. St. Louis Ave. in East Alton and 1925 Madison Ave. in Granite City. More warming center locations are available by calling the IDHS hotline at (800) 843-6154 and at www.keepwarm.illinois.gov.