A new initiative offers heat wave relief to Montreal seniors

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As a heat wave continues to scorch the greater Montreal area, a new project is looking to buy hundreds of air conditioners for elderly residents.

AC for Seniors is a day-old initiative that has already raised tens of thousands of dollars to purchase cooling units for elderly individuals living in long term care homes.

"It's a grassroots movement to address a real problem that we have," said project co-founder Leah Lasry. "We already have $40,000 and that amount is growing."

Those funds will go toward purchasing new air conditioners that volunteers will install at CHSLDs and private senior residences across Montreal.

Seniors in need who are 65+ years old and living in Montreal can apply at ACforseniors.ca.

Lasry said learning that many local elderly are suffering from the heat, after so many have been impacted by the pandemic, spurred her and co-founder Ben Graur to action.

"Only a third of all rooms at CHSLDs have  air conditioning. And of course there are many people who live alone and may be sweating to death," she said. "We can't let people suffer like this. It's not  humane, it's not Canadian, it's not right."

Lasry said heat can lead to health complications and even death for seniors with certain pre-existing conditions, like multiple sclerosis.

She says her initiative is looking to avoid a repeat of the July 2018 heat wave that led to the death of at least 90 seniors across the province.

"There's no pricetag on saving a human life. My heart goes out to all the seniors who have been hit by COVID-19 and all those touched by the mortalities we've suffered in this province," she said.

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