Seniors swelter at Salem retirement home

Louise Marner lives in the United Methodist Jason Lee Manor in Salem, July 1, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Louise Marner lives in the United Methodist Jason Lee Manor in Salem, July 1, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Louise Marner lives on the first floor at Jason Lee Manor retirement home in Salem. Even with the curtains drawn and two large fans going, it’s 79 degrees inside.

But her friends on the second and third floors of are sweltering in the heat wave.

“I would describe it like an oven,” she told KOIN 6 News. “It was 91 in one of the men’s rooms the other night.”

A fan inside one of the resident's room at the United Methodist Jason Lee Manor retirement home in Salem, July 1, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
A fan inside one of the resident’s room at the United Methodist Jason Lee Manor retirement home in Salem, July 1, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

There are no air conditioning units in many of the rooms at the facility owned by United Methodist. There were, but they were recently removed when the management put in new windows.

“Now if we want new ones the residents have to buy them themselves,” she said. “And they’re $289  and at this point you can’t find an air conditioner. It’s been too hot.”

But Cathy Parkinson, the executive director of the home, said United Methodist’s Jason Lee Manor is independent living.

“Obviously we want to do whatever we can to keep the residents cool,” Parkinson said. “And it’s up to them to provide air conditioning units.”

The new windows were put in to cut down on energy costs and Parkinson said there are plans to get air conditioning units in the walls of the room this summer. But they don’t have enough money yet and the heat wave came sooner than expected.

“So we’ve tried today to get some of the bigger air conditioners to put in the second and third floor hallways at each end to get the air going and residents could open their rooms and take advantage of that,” she told KOIN 6 News, “but there are none to be found.”

To keep residents comfortable, there are common cooling rooms with AC units and hydration stations, like the dining room. Those with health conditions are being loaned air conditioners.

“But this is just the beginning of July,” Louis Marner said. “We are going to have more hot weather, I think. And it’s hot.”

United Methodist’s Jason Lee Manor is a non-profit facility, Parkinson said. She said if anyone had AC units to donate, they would be put to good use.

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Meals on Wheels in the Portland-Vancouver area will deliver donated fans to the homebound seniors they serve.

Anyone with a fan to donate can drop it off at the Meals on Wheels headquarters, 7710 SW 31st Avenue, or to any of the 35 meal sites in Multnomah, Washington and Clark counties.

Stay with KOIN 6 News for the latest weather details on Heat Wave 2013.

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