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Heat hit seniors hard as Mid-South temperatures soar

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the temperature climbed past 90 in the Memphis area Thursday, some senior citizens said they just can't take the heat.

Unfortunately, heat exhaustion doesn't discriminate based on age.

Juanita Towles says she has no choice but to stay inside. It is just too hot to be outdoors. She is lucky — she has a working air conditioning unit to keep her cool.

"It's too hot, no I can't do it. But I love outside," Towles said. "I'll fall out in a minute. If anybody fall out it will be me."

But just a couple of blocks over, 81-year-old Helen Burns is sweating it out on her porch, hoping a breeze will blow her way.

"I do what I have to do," Burns said.

Burns has Alzheimer's and doesn't have a working AC window unit. Burns' daughter drove in from St. Louis to check on her mom — and found her in her hot home.

"It was out when I got here but I don't know how long its been out, so we went and bought fans," she said.

But the clockwise motion of the fan doesn't quite beat the heat, and lately Burns prefers to sit on the porch and wait for the wind to blow instead of toughing it out on the inside.

"I gave her a bath and got her dressed and it was hot in the bathroom, so if it's hot in the bathroom it's hot out here."

The daughter says she nearly passed out just trying to care for her mother inside, but even in the midst of suffering her mother still finds the strength to smile.