Program offers free fans for Orange County seniors

(July 10, 2017)—The Orange County Department on Aging encourages at risk adults to take advantage of Operation Fan Heat Relief  (OFHR), a summer program intended to provide a more comfortable living environment and reduce heat-related illnesses for older adults and adults with disabilities. The Department on Aging has a limited number of fans and air conditioners to assist those at risk.

“The air conditioner has made such a difference in our home life already in just the few days we have had it,” said a grateful OFHR recipient. “My wife is quite sick and it has helped add comfort to her life.”

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, as individuals age and develop chronic medical conditions, they are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. They may also be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat.

Since 1986, local companies, including Duke Energy, have made contributions through the Division of Aging and Adult Services to Area Agencies on Aging to purchase fans in support of OFHR. Ellison Jones, family caregiver program coordinator with the Triangle J Area Agency on Aging said, “Our seniors and adults with disabilities suffer each year from the North Carolina summer heat.  We are extremely grateful to our electric utilities for making it possible to prevent a bit of that suffering.”

To take advantage of the Orange County OFHR program, individuals:

  • Must live in Orange County
  • Be at least 60 years old or an adult with a disability
  • Have a home situation that threatens your health or well being

Fans may be picked up at the Passmore Center located at 103 Meadowlands Drive in Hillsborough or the Seymour Center located at 2551 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

To receive an air conditioner recipients must meet the fan criteria above, and:

  • Provide a health provider statement of need
  • Be approved by an Aging Transitions social worker

To see if you qualify, please call the Orange County Aging Helpline at (919) 968-2087.

For more information about the Orange County OFHR program, please contact Robin Bailin at 919-245-4252. To learn more about OFHR and hot weather tips for seniors, visit

Orange County OFHR fans and air conditioners are provided by grant funding from Duke Energy of the Carolinas and Valassis Giving Committee, and donations from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.