Getting outdoors is important year-round to stave off depression, help regulate sleep schedules and get a dose of vitamin D when the sun is shining. But dressing for all types of weather becomes challenging when you are disabled and using a wheelchair or scooter.
With a little research, there are a number of solutions that will keep those using mobility devices warm and dry during the winter months.
Lap blankets with a water resistant outer shell can protect riders against rain and snow while seated. Be sure to look for one with adjustable straps to prevent the blanket from slipping and getting caught up in the wheels. Wheelchairs can also be lined with shearling or another insulating material to offer added warmth.
Capes designed to cover rider and wheelchair are also a simple solution to keep the chair dry and driver cozy. Adaptive clothing has come a long way in recent years offering both fashion and function for disabled clients. Check to make sure older hands can manage any snaps or buttons and double check that the length will stay clear of wheels. Machine washable fabric is a must!
Check tires on wheelchairs and scooters during the winter months. In some cases dirt bike tires or pneumatic tires can offer better traction on snow and ice. Be sure to wipe down all metal wheelchair surfaces to prevent rusting from water and salt and to keep the equipment in good working order. Try using kitty litter for traction on ramps and sidewalks, especially if the rider has an assistance animal as rock salt can be hard on paws and some ice melters are dangerous to ingest.
Try making plans to run errand during daylight hours to benefit from natural sunlight as well as enjoy, if only slightly, warmer temperatures. Temperatures drop after dark and make for slippery roads and sidewalks. Always let someone else know your plans and have back up transportation in case you run into difficulty. Carry a charged cell phone in an accessible pocket or bag for easy access. There are a variety of strap-on carriers that can keep essentials close at hand while avoiding dealing with a purse or wallet that might slip off the lap.
To learn more about mobility products visit your local home healthcare store online or in person.