Palma.—The Red Cross has launched a public information programme entitled “Heat Wave” which is designed to make people over 65 aware of the health risks entailed in a particularly hot summer season and how they can best ensure they stay fit despite the high temperatures.

Last year, there were 446 people in this age bracket which benefited from the Red Cross “home help” service, 312 of them on Majorca, 88 on Minorca and 46 on Ibiza. A spokesman for the Red Cross said yesterday he had no doubt that these figures will triple this year.

The free “Heat Wave” programmes consists of informative chats to the elderly in their own homes. The “do's and don'ts” of coping in a heat wave are carefully explained by trained advisors who also provide useful gifts such as sun hats.

In July and August, a Red Cross team makes follow-up visits to the elderly either by calling in personally or by phoning, particularly those whom the advisors considered to be at most risk. The team makes a point of familiarising its members with any special circumstances which could put the elderly at risk, such as not having any family members close by.

The majority of cases visited by the Red Cross are people who live alone and who may well be using other Red Cross services such as “domestic home help” or “meals on wheels” and there are many others besides; 75 percent of beneficiaries are women. There is a free telephone service for people seeking Red Cross assistance 900222999 which is operated 24 hours a day. Fortunately, temperatures came down a little on Sunday with night-time minimum temperatures dropping slightly, with southerly winds.