Here in Calgary, no one needs to be told that winter begins on the 21st of December. Our thermometers do an adequate job of letting us know that freezing temperatures are already here. The cold, in addition to the snow on the ground, is a reminder that getting around won’t be as easy as it was during the warmer months of the year. This is especially true, of course, for wheelchair users.
Needless to say, there are a number of precautions wheelchair users should be mindful of during the winter. Here are three important tips for safe winter wheelchair use:
1. Give your wheelchair regular tune ups.
Winter is certainly the season when wheelchair maintenance is most important. The wear and tear on your wheelchair, when using it outdoors, can be insurmountable if not attended to after each use. Be sure to check the frame of the wheelchair for potential weaknesses, tighten all of the nuts and bolts and ensure your tires are in good shape.
As well, once entering the home from the snowy outdoors, be sure to wipe away any snow and ice from your wheelchair’s electronic components. You don’t want it all to melt and create a short circuit situation.
2. Keep your feet warm.
Keeping your extremities warm is an important to-do for any individual in the winter. But because a wheelchair user’s feet aren’t in motion, they are more susceptible to feeling the wrath of cold temperatures. Be sure to wear warm, insulated boots. That is, of course, unless they’re too uncomfortable for you to place on your wheelchair’s footplates. On SunriseMedical.com, Corey Barss explains his solution to this problem.
“For Christmas a few years ago, my parents gave me a pair of HotMocs, which are like over-your-shoe slippers with a pocket over the toe to hold hand warmers,” he reveals, “I wear them over my usual sneakers and can spend hours in the woods deer hunting and get home with toasty warm toes and no pressure sores on my feet from heavy winter boots.”
3. Try not to travel outdoors alone.
Naturally, you want to ensure that you are kept safe from injury by avoiding ice, potholes and other obstacles that the outdoor environment can throw your way. But in a worst-case scenario, it’s always wise to have a loved one with you to ensure the avoidance of a dangerous situation.
Remember that there are many wheelchair hindrances out there during the winter. We’re talking about slush, un-shovelled sidewalks, fallen leaves and branches, puddles, ice patches – you get the picture. If it’s impossible to have a buddy come along with you wherever you go, be sure to have a cell phone handy. That way, you can call whoever you may need in the event of an emergency.
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we provide a variety of wheelchair solutions for simple and complex situations. Contact us for manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, seating and positioning products, wheelchair lifts for home and even vehicle lifts for your wheelchair. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact page!