When the summer heat arrived, in full force, it wasn’t unusual to find Dad sitting at the dining room table with sweat beading up on his forehead. When I’d ask him why he turned the air off, he’d claim having no knowledge of doing such a thing.

If the air conditioner was running constantly, because it was so hot outside, he’d turn it off as he worried it was money running out of his pocket, so he’d sit in a sauna instead.

Luckily, his house never had time to really heat up, since I stopped by several times a day to check on him. Eventually I had to put duct tape across the thermostat with a note that read, “don’t touch,” which would typically turn his concern to the duct tape I was wasting, but it was better than worrying if he was smothering himself.

Besides leaving notes telling him to stay inside, when the heat made it too dangerous to work outside, the only way to make sure he wasn’t over doing it was to stop by more often to check on him as the dementia stole his ability to know when it was time to cool down.

Every year hundreds of seniors die from sitting in a house without realizing they are slowly dying of heat exhaustion. The news is full of reminders on not leaving children and pets in a hot car, but we should also keep an eye on our senior family members and friends.

I can understand how we might overlook checking on a senior, who’s living on their own, but I still can’t wrap my head around how a person could forget their kid is in the backseat of a car. It worries me it’s becoming such a real problem automakers are installing rear seat reminders and car seats are being programmed to alert parents their kid is still in there. Apparently we are just becoming way too busy to remember anything except for where we put our cell phone. Have we become a society so self-absorbed we can’t remember to take care of those who can’t care for themselves?

I’m blaming it on social media. The cell phone is taking over our lives. We have chosen to be entertained by technology. It’s causing wrecks – not just with vehicles – our social skills are in ruins. We’ve replaced playing outdoors with ipads, conversations with texting, and Facetime with actual visits.

I’m not technology-challenged. I have all the bells and whistles on my iphone and computer just like everyone else. I depend on my cell phone. I feel lost without my cell phone and freak out if I think I’ve lost it. I ask my cell phone what the weather is doing, whether or not the Royals are playing or what to substitute for missing ingredients.

Sorry… I’ve got to go… my cell phone's almost dead.


-- Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com