Folks escape cold at warming centers

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH)– New London’s senior center isn’t just for seniors this week.

“People are here right now meeting in the next room because the place they were planning on meeting has no heat,” said Elizabeth Witten

The Broad Street building is designated as the city’s warming center. A warm place to go for people of all ages. No one is turned away. Folks there may even cook you up a meal if you stop by at lunch time.

“I frequently hear of people who keep their thermostats very low and that alarms me,” said Witten.

Witten runs the senior center and says the elderly are among the most vulnerable, which is why she is happy to have the warming center available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. all week.

“Oh, it’s extremely important because seniors are more prone to hypothermia because they are on multiple medications that sometimes affect their immune systems, make their blood thinner, and they feel the cold much more,” said Witten.

With the wind chill factor, the 22-degree temperature at the warmest time of the day feels a lot colder to everyone.

“How is it in here?” we asked Irene Anderson of New London.

“It’s warm,” said Anderson. “I like it in here better.”

Many communities are opening warming centers for those who need a warm place to go or who are keeping their heat low at home for part of the day to keep their heating bills down.

“Hopefully they’ll be under the blankets at night and come to the senior center during the day if heating’s a problem,” said Witten.

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