With a significant drop in temperature comes an icy sidewalk, frigid weather and a higher risk of injury. This makes the colder months challenging for those that use mobility equipment, but with some crucial tips and preparation, your loved ones using mobility home medical equipment can enjoy the season without having to worry about a slip or fall or when the next snow storm will occur. Whether you're concerned about the lift being slower for a vertical porch lift or your vehicle lift due to the decrease in temperature or are concerned about sidewalks and entry ways being blocked, the winter season is about to become easier for those using mobility products. These incredible tips should never be underestimated when bearing the bold cold.
Have More Than One Exit
While it may not always be plausible, it is recommended to have a back-up exit route within the home for anyone dealing with mobility issues. With the stormy weather fast approaching, those dependent on wheelchair ramps or vertical platform lifts may not always have a well-needed escape route if an emergency was to happen. There are endless possibilities that can cause a common exit to become blocked or inaccessible at many times well throughout the year, but especially throughout the winter. The safety of your loved ones should never be dependent on when someone gets around to shoveling the snow. Be sure to implement a back-up exit plan of some sort. This could be as simple as clearing the walkway up to the rarely used side door or opting for a barrier-free design. At the very least, consider having plenty of walkway and ramp safety put in place. This could be as simple as having a homemade solution of 50% vinegar and 50% water in a spray bottle to de-ice the surfaces or more extreme with heated driveways and ramp floors.
Double Check Mobility or Accessiblity Equipment
For those dealing with mobility issues, it is crucial to take extra precautions when preparing for the cold weather. Dedicate some extra time to go over all of the mobility care equipment, including wheelchairs, walkers, vehicle lifts and vertical porch lifts and ensure that everything is working properly. This could be as simple as having snow cleared from under a vertical platform lift and elevating it a few inches off the ground or tightening screws on mobility equipment. You may want to consider bringing the mobility equipment into a professional home medical equipment company for preventative maintenance. They will check the brakes and battery, which are both crucial for safety.
Don't wait until well into the winter to call schedule the preventative maintenance on exterior elevating equipment like a vertical porch lift.
Consider having a backup manual wheelchair or backup power source available as well if a motorized wheelchair or other electric medical equipment is used. An excellent accessory which is available for your manual wheelchair is the Otto Bock wheel blades that will significantly increase your mobility during the winter season. Additionally, there are some things that should never be skipped over when coming inside from such treacherous weather. Wipe down all surfaces of your chair to prevent rusting and to promote the longevity of your chair or mobility equipment.
Have a Home Emergency Kit
In addition to having a backup wheelchair and power source, consider creating an emergency kit as it is highly recommended for not only the home but for any automobiles that may be driven by those with mobility difficulties well. They're simple to create and some recommended items to include are; two fully charged batteries for a wheelchair (if applicable), thick socks, a warm blanket, a full pack of water, canned food and a charged phone, whether cellular or a wireless house phone. Adding in a first aid kit is also a great idea as well.
Preparing for Travel
Despite the stormy roads, this is a season that is accompanied with plenty of traveling, whether it's to the mall to finish holiday shopping or visiting family and friends. For those facing barriers to mobility, there are some precautions that should be taken to ensure safe traveling well throughout the season. Snow tires for the car should never be underestimated, but modifications to your wheelchair's tires are just as important for wheelchairs. Doing so will promote the grip that the wheelchair will have on snow and ice, as modifications can help to avoid getting stuck in the snow or sliding on ice. You can also create your own wheel grips with some nylon cable ties. Simply wrap 25 to 30 times evenly around your wheels, being sure to point the buckles to the inside of the wheel, and you'll have additional grip during the winter months, at a fraction of the cost. For even more grip, you may want to consider adding grip to mobility equipment or purchasing gripper driving gloves, as the chill and ice can sometimes stick to the surface of canes, wheelchairs, walkers and forearm cuffs. So install your snow tires on your car and at the same time add grips to your wheelchair's wheels, whether creating them on your own or purchasing small ski-blades.
The winter season doesn't have to be treacherous for those dependent on mobility equipment, and properly preparing for the colder weather is as simple as following these 4 steps. MEDability has all the mobility products you need. Call for a free trial on rollators, mobility scooters and wheelchairs or a home modification assessment.