Letters to the Editor

Check up on elderly neighbors during summer heat

Heat exhaustion can sneak up on you, causing increased body temperature, rapid pulse, headache and fatigue. If you don’t get cool, you’ll dehydrate, possibly suffer a stroke, or worse, die.

Of 8,000-plus heat-related fatalities reported annually in the United States, 36 percent are among those age 65 and older, according to a Centers for Disease Control heat-related illness survey. Hospitalizations for heat-related symptoms increase for those over 85.

The founder of Griswold Home Care knew first-hand the dangers seniors face living alone; a parishioner at her Philadelphia-area church died from dehydration, inspiring her to start a company that could provide around-the-clock care in the home. This July 30, on what would’ve been Jean Griswold’s 88th birthday, Griswold Home Care of Northern Vermont honors her memory by encouraging those with elderly friends, relatives or neighbors to take five minutes to check in on them, particularly in very hot weather.

Studies show there are far too few professional caregivers for aging adults, a trend expected to continue for the next 10 years or more, so non-professionals play a vital role in keeping seniors safe. Information and inspiration for both professional and family caregivers can be found at

Giving just a few minutes of your time to ensure a senior’s well-being can be highly rewarding. You might even save a life.

David Rosen
Griswold Home Care director


Coexistence over killing

Last year, Protect Our Wildlife launched a statewide “Living With Wildlife” campaign to help towns pursue nonlethal methods to address human-wildlife conflicts. In Vermont, countless wild animals, including beavers, foxes, raccoons and others are killed under a dangerously vague statute that allows landowners and municipalities to kill wildlife that’s merely suspected to cause damage to property. No reporting is required, so our own Fish and Wildlife Department has little to no data on how many animals are killed.

The good news is that Protect Our Wildlife recently partnered with the Town of Marlboro to help prevent beavers from being trapped in leghold and body-gripping traps, while also preventing beaver-related flooding and subsequent road damage. With grant funding, we provided financial support to install three culvert protective water flow devices, called Beaver Deceivers, on Grant Road in Marlboro. This site is one of three that the town will have protected with such devices to save the wetlands and maintain these rich ecosystems for beavers and many other species of wildlife.

Water flow control devices are the most efficient and cost-effective tools to prevent beaver-related flooding and road damage and also to protect these keystone species. Traditional methods of removing beavers usually involve shooting or using leghold or body-gripping traps, both of which are not only cruel, but offer only a temporary “solution.”

Good wetland habitat will host beavers; we can learn to live with them.

Beavers have tight-knit family units with the babies living in the lodge with their mother, father, brothers and sisters until they are about 2 years old, at which point they are not yet mature enough to mate, but independent enough to leave the area and start building their own lodge, using the skills they learned from their family. Trapping and killing leaves babies orphaned and results in a futile loop of trapping and killing with no long-term benefits.

As our planet continues to face the real effects of climate change, including drought, we should learn to value these invaluable environmental allies and embrace coexistence over killing.

Brenna Galdenzi
Protect Our Wildlife president