As a power wheelchair user, I’ve learned a lot about driving a power chair in the winter. If you live in the Northeast like I do, you start to notice the colder air during the months of October and November. The next thing you know, there’s snow on the ground. This can be challenging for wheelchair users. Well, I’m here to shed a little light on this topic and suggest tips to make wintertime a little bit easier.
Although I do live in New York, I spend my winters down in Florida as a snowbird. So, for the last four years, I haven’t experienced snow. Before I became a snowbird, however, I was miserable during the winters in New York. I am unable to do as much in my power wheelchair and felt confined to my house. To prepare myself for this, there were a few things I did leading up to the first snowfall.
Make Plans with Friends
Every year before the snow started, I made a ton of plans with friends and family to go out to dinner throughout the months of October and November, long before the bad weather started happening. I liked soaking up as much social interaction as I possibly could.
Stock Up the Pantry
I also had a conversation with my parents about stocking up on certain foods over the winter. If we were hit with a snowstorm that dropped two feet of snow on the ground, there was no way I’d be able to go to the store. I also made plans that if a snowstorm was coming, I’d ask my friends or my parents if they could pick up food from the grocery store for me.
Create an Emergency Plan
Another tip that I learned over the years is you must plan for snow in the worst-case scenario. Think of how you can safely get out of the office in case of an emergency. We all know that snow and power wheelchairs aren’t best buddies. So, it’s important to have at least one or two people you can call on to assist you in leaving the house in the event of an emergency. Although I always had my parents to help, I also asked one of my friends be available in case I needed to be shoveled out or if I needed to get to my vehicle so I could go to a doctor appointment. Having someone on standby can be a lifesaver during the winter.
Don’t Go Out Alone
I always recommend that if you plan to go out and there is snow on the ground, don’t go out alone. Make sure you have someone with you just in case you get stuck in the snow, or you end up having to drive your power wheelchair across the ice. Having a buddy with you ensures you are not stuck outside in the cold for a long period of time.
About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.
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