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Winter can be a beautiful season, but it also creates unique challenges for wheelchair users. Ice, slush, snow, and cold can make wheelchair travel difficult even over short distances, but preparation can go a long way towards getting you to your destination in the winter weather. Read on for 8 tips on maintaining and moving your wheelchair this winter!
Difficult outdoor conditions can make a small mechanical issue into a major problem. Make sure you get your wheelchair inspected and adjusted before winter sets in, so that the frame is solid, connections are tight, and all parts are properly lubricated and function well. Check your caster axles for debris that can wear out your bearings, and make sure the tread on your tires hasn't worn down.
When not in use, make sure your chair is being stored in a warm, dry spot indoors, rather than an unheated garage, carport, or similar. Use a dry cloth to wipe off your chair after using it outdoors, to remove any ice, snow, or salt that could rust or damage it.
If you're going to be outside, especially for extended periods of time, make sure you're dressed appropriately. Be careful when covering any areas of your body that have impaired sensation. Some options:
Clothing isn't all you need when outside in the winter. Make a list of additional gear you might need and precautions you might need to take when going out. These could include:
Make sure your ramps, walkways, sidewalks, and driveway are clear of ice and snow, even if you have to get someone's help. Wheelchairs usually require around 36 inches or more of clearance, and all pathways should be cleared in ways that they won't refreeze. Snow mats for paths and grip tape for ramps will help with traction.
Moving through snow and ice with your chair can be quite different than normal travel. You may want to travel with a friend or family member who can help you in the worst conditions. In situations where solo travel is possible, let people know your travel plans -- when you're leaving and expect to arrive, where you're going -- in case you're delayed by weather conditions.
Have you been to our storefront? Mountainside Medical Equipment offers wholesale medical supplies on a cash & carry basis. Get top brands for the highest quality assistive and mobility devices at the lowest prices right here!
Mountainside Medical Equipment’s storefront is located at 9266 Old River Road, Marcy, New York 13403. It’s open from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.