Just as you prepare your car for winter weather, it’s also a good idea to take a close look at your aging relative’s wheelchair and get it ready for ice and snow. As the family caregiver, you know how much your aging loved one relies on you, other family members and senior care providers. Their wheelchair is a vital part of their lives and is sometimes the only way they can participate in outings.
If your elderly relative relies heavily on their wheelchair, they will certainly encounter all kinds of challenges in winter. When you take the time to prepare your relative and their wheelchair for winter and brush up on tips for navigating wheelchairs in the ice and snow, you’ll reduce the risk of problems.
Winterizing the Wheelchair
The first thing you must do to winterize your aging relative’s wheelchair is have proper tires put on it. Worn, smooth tires will not be able to grip the ground and prevent slippage. The tires should be in good shape and if they are bald, they should be replaced before the snow flies. Some wheelchair brands even offer winter tires that provide extra traction. For extra comfort and warmth, senior care providers can put a cushion on the seat to provide an extra layer between the elderly adult and the chair.
Navigating a Winter Wonderland
While the snow may make things look pretty, it can transform the landscape from easy to complex for wheelchair travel. Seniors should be wary of ice and snow on sidewalks, pathways and ramps. Aging adults in wheelchairs can slip and tip over if their wheels skid on ice or they hit the side of a snowbank while going too fast. It’s always a good idea to plan for extra time when out and about in a wheelchair, as caution can help them avoid obstacles.
Dressing for Winter in a Wheelchair
Seniors should also dress properly for being outside in a wheelchair. When seniors sit for a long time, the circulation isn’t as effective and slows down making them feel colder. Senior care provider should help elderly adults dress warmly so they can be comfortable as they navigate in their wheelchair. Comfortable, non-restrictive layers will help keep seniors warm, and they should always wear a hat, waterproof gloves and warm shoes.
Senior care providers can also give elderly adults a very small blanket to cover the legs, but it should never be too large, loose or dangling down into the wheels. Senior care providers should also take along an emergency bag with a spare battery and an extra blanket in case the first one becomes soaked. Some senior care providers include an old hand towel to wipe down the wheels of the wheelchair when entering a store or other building to prevent moisture from being tracked in.
Getting around in a wheelchair is challenging any time of year, but when there are challenges from ice and snow, it may seem daunting. However, with support from family caregivers and senior care providers plus a winterized wheelchair, seniors can enjoy outings even with bad weather.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Spotswood, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care Serving Somerset and Middlesex/Union Counties today. Call (732) 607-8870.