Kamloops seniors struggling more than most in dealing with the smoke that blankets the city | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops seniors struggling more than most in dealing with the smoke that blankets the city

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August 09, 2017 - 1:36 PM

KAMLOOPS - Like many demographics in Kamloops, seniors have seen many of their normal summer activities and traditions ruined by wildfire smoke. However, while most of us can hop in the car and head to a lake or a mountain campsite to escape the smoke, most seniors have been forced to sit and watch the summer go by.

As more seniors are electing to do what they can to stay inside and away from the smoke, the Kamloops Centre for Seniors Information in the Brock Shopping Centre has become a refuge for many seniors in town who don't have adequate ventilation and air conditioning in their homes, says centre director Brenda Prevost.

She adds it isn't so much the grey haze blanketing the city that has impacted seniors the most.

"I just spoke with a senior who says the gloomy atmosphere more than the smoke is just kind of depressing and getting to people," she says. "People need sunshine."

Prevost says a lot of the seniors she has spoken to also express concern about what could happen if a fire sparked up closer to Kamloops or even within the city. In particular she has heard concerns from seniors that live along Ord Road in Brocklehurst who worry the dry brush that covers the mountainside across the road from their homes could catch fire.

Nearly everyone has had to alter their plans this summer, whether it is not being allowed to have a campfire or holding a sports camp inside. Seniors with health or mobility issued have the added struggle of changed routines. 

"Many of our senior population don't like a whole lot of change in what they are doing," she says. "So as this goes on for more and more days it just becomes more upsetting in a lot of ways."

The good news from Prevost at this point is she hasn't heard of any stories of seniors dealing with health emergencies because they tried to keep up their routines despite the smoke. She says the people they have been talking to are pretty conservative when it comes to putting their health at risk.

Prevost wants to get the message out to any seniors in the community who have been forced to stay in doors for weeks that they are always welcome at the information centre located at 9A - 1800 Tranquille Road and they are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Environment Canada has had a special air quality statement in effect for the entire South Thompson for several weeks now and it is expected to last as long as the smoke does. The advisory says seniors are especially at risk from the poor air quality which has been hovering around a 10 rating or "high risk" since the weekend after climbing over 40 last week.

For more information on the Environment Canada air quality, go here.

For more information on B.C. Wildfires, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Mike McDonald or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.


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