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Tips for wheelchair users in the winter | Ohio


Ohio falls in the winter
Winter makes for spectacular scenery in Ohio - Igor Oliyarnik Unsplash

Although it's tempting to avoid putting the heating on for as long as possible: there's no use in denying the winter.


And whilst this season brings with it Christmas and snowy scenes, it can also present myriad challenges to wheelchair users.


In this guide, we'll cover some of the common issues wheelchair users face in the winter, how to overcome them and some general recommendations.


Looking after your wheelchair


Wheelchairs are becoming more and more resilient and reliable but regular and preventative maintenance can help you avoid any issues or breakdowns.


Here are some simple steps to make sure you can use your wheelchair fully throughout the winter:


Keep your wheelchair dry & clean

Inclement weather combined with salt used to grit roads can wreak havoc with wheelchairs. Make sure to thoroughly dry your wheelchair if it is exposed to any moisture to prevent any rust, and clean all surfaces to prevent a build-up of debris or dirt.


Read our full guide to wheelchair cleaning and disinfection here.


Stay charged

Batteries are prone to damage in colder weather, losing charge. Consider charging your battery fully before leaving your home or place of work as this is more likely to retain heat and therefore maximum function.


Check your tyres

It's more important than ever to have maximum grip in slippery conditions so make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and they are free of wear and tear.


Consider protective covers

Many manufacturers offer protective covers for sensitive areas of your wheelchair such as the control panel to protect against moisture. Speak to a wheelchair consultant to see how you can protect your wheelchair.



Looking after yourself


Winter doesn't just take its toll on wheelchairs, it can be tricky for our bodies to be exposed to colder weather. Consider the following steps to keep yourself healthy and able to make the most of the season.


Get the right kit

It might sound simple but it's worth checking early on that you have the right gear to face the colder months. A warm coat is great but a single journey without gloves or a hat is enough to never forget one again.


A simple checklist includes:

  • Gloves

  • Hat

  • Handwarmers

  • Thermal undergarments

  • Scarf

  • Waterproof jacket with down or other insulation


Stay active

Colder temperatures and darker nights aren't exactly conducive to frequent physical activity but it's important to stay active throughout the winter to benefit both your physical and mental health.


Consider taking up a new sport or activity that keeps you excited to exercise - even when a hot chocolate by the fire seems more tempting.


Read: how to exercise as a wheelchair user


Hot chocolate Ohio
A hot chocolate might seem tempting - just remember to stay active!

Take your health seriously

Colder weather can lead to multiple problems with your health that are linked to using a wheelchair such as stiff muscles or exacerbate common issues like arthritis or asthma.


If you find your health impacted by the cold, make sure to speak to your doctor.


Making the most of the winter


The colder months are full of holidays, events, and activities.


Attractions

Ohio is full of stunning natural attractions such as the Cuyahoga Valley National Park which looks particularly impressive in the winter. Although snow and other weather may present some issues to wheelchair users: read our full guide to wheelchair accessible attractions in Ohio for more information and further recommendations.




Travelling

Holidays and travel often go hand-in-hand with family members and friends crossing the country for Christmas and other events.


We've produced a guide to travelling in Ohio as a wheelchair user. Also, remember that the weather may cause delays so consider travelling with extra supplies for both you and your wheelchair.



Can we help?

If you have any questions about using your wheelchair in the winter, or would like to book a service for your wheelchair, don't hesitate to contact us and speak to one of our wheelchair experts.