Fans are wonderful appliances to have in the summertime. Many models are portable and inexpensive, making them an ideal alternative to air conditioners, which can consume 90 percent more energy than fans. If youre a senior, however, you want to make sure your fan is safe, easy to use and practical for your lifestyle. Read on to see which features may work the best for you. Solid Base If you re prone to bumping onto things, or if you have pets or grandkids around, then you need a fan with an extra stable base. Limited room should exist between the fan blades and the base because, the longer the neck, the higher the fan s center of gravity. The base should also be broad to prevent the large diameter of the blades from teetering. Vornado 630B Circulator Fan This Vornado has a wide base with extra support, and the blades are situated just inches above it. You can bump into this fan with little damage done. Protective Grate The grate is another necessity if your eyesight or unsteady gait may cause you to get too close to the fan s blades. It s also vital if, once again, you have animals or grandkids in the house a lot. A fan s grate will protect any body parts from being nicked or sliced by the its fast-moving blades. Ideally, a grate s netting should be very fine to prevent inquisitive fingers and tongues from getting to the blades. Lasko 3520 20-Inch Cyclone Pivot Fan This grate features long, thin slits that won t let fingers slide in easily. It s also situated far in front of the fan s blades to ensure that, even if someone does bump into or grab onto the grate, it won t result in injury. Lightweight A lightweight, compact fan affords you the luxury of buying only one unit, which you can carry from room to room. For seniors, a lighter design is especially important even if the fan is stationary because, chances are, it will need to be adjusted or moved at some point. Obviously, the lighter the fan the more convenient it is for seniors who may have limited strength or back problems. There s an abundance of fans that weigh less than 10 pounds, though many models weigh less than five. O2-Cool Model 1054 10″ Indoor/Outdoor Fan This fan may be 10 inches tall, but it weighs only two pounds. Quiet One downside to fans is that they can be noisy, especially in small quarters. This can impede a senior s ability to watch television or hold a conversation if he already has trouble hearing. That s why it s important to purchase a fan that is proven to be quiet. The motor and the blades should make very little noise. 12″ Monceau Table Fan According to the manufacturer, the Monceau features a “whisper-quiet motor and an “aerodynamic blade design, which should make for a noise-free fan. Don t believe them? Take our advice and ask the store to test it out before you buy. Adjustable Speed Everyone s body runs a bit differently. Some people run cold, some people run hot. The elderly, in general, tend to run cold, which is why a fan with multiple speeds may be necessary. A lower speed will likely suffice on most mild to moderate days, but a high speed should always be available for scorchers to keep heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, exhaustion or dehydration at bay. Holmes HASF-1515 16-Inch 4-in-1 Stand Fan Three speeds is all you really need; anymore, and it gets a little cumbersome trying to figure out which setting is right for you. So choose a fan like the Holmes HASF with basic speed settings that should please everyone.