It’s that time of year again in Southern Alberta! As Canadians, winter may run in our veins, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to adapt to the turning of the seasons, especially when you have a mobile disability. With your safety in mind, we’ve put together a list for getting winter-ready to make sure you’re safe and comfortable this year.
🗹 Always carry a cellphone in case of emergency
No matter how well-prepared you are, sometimes unfortunate circumstances do happen. The last thing you want is to be stranded in the cold if your mobility scooter battery gives out. If bad weather cuts off your power, keeping a cellphone with you allows you to call emergency services as needed. Whether you’re going out or staying home, always make sure you have a fully-charged phone with you at all times.
🗹 Layer up
Did you know that many wheelchair users experience thermoregulation issues? This means that a body’s temperature isn’t maintained easily and it makes some wheelchair users more susceptible to the cold. Whether or not you’re in a wheelchair, you can keep warm by wearing layers in the outdoors. Your head, hands, and feet are the first areas to lose body heat, so invest in some good-quality socks, hats, and gloves.
Looking to add some extra warmth? Consider carrying a hot water bottle with you, or a heat pack. Heat packs are particularly convenient because they come in small packets, making them easy to carry or store when not in use.
🗹 Maintain your scooter and charge your batteries
If you’re a mobility scooter user, you’re probably well-aware of the maintenance that comes with it. During the winter, it’s important to remember not to leave your scooter out in the open. The cold weather could kill your battery, and that means it won’t be able to take you where you want to go when you need it. Instead, store it in a dry, relatively well-heated place like a shed or garage, or even your home basement. Make sure that the control panel, in particular, is protected from wetness, ideally with a waterproof covering.
During the cold months, your battery drains more quickly and may need an extra boost. Charge your mobility scooter regularly to avoid getting stuck in the middle of your journey. Also make sure to check your tires for wear and tear, or invest in some winter tires for your scooter!
🗹 Keep your balance
Regular walking sticks don’t come with much grip when it comes to snowy conditions. Since it only comes in contact with a small area on the ground, most sticks are unable to provide the proper balance. There are walking sticks that come with spikes and provide more traction in the snow, while some have four contact points for added stability. Assess your needs and make sure that you are choosing the solution that works for you.
Still concerned about your balance? Try walking close to railings or walls so that you have something to hold onto even if you slip.
🗹 Wait for the snow to clear
Sometimes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Mobility devices don’t function at their best in icy and snowy conditions, and this can put you at risk. Instead of venturing out by yourself, consider enlisting the help of friends and family until the weather improves, or use a trusted mobility transportation service such as Access-a-Ride (Lethbridge) to get around.
We know and understand the frustrations that the winter winds bring. Are you interested in learning more about how to prepare for the impending ice and snow? Our awesome team is ready to help! Visit us in-store or contact us for information and advice. At Leading Edge Mobility, we want to help you take your freedom and mobility back into your own hands—safely.