Winter is not too far off and with the colder weather comes ice, sleet snow and rain. And for people who have mobility issues and are less ambulatory than they used to be, the importance of staying safer during the late fall and winter months is critical.

As the beautiful Fall season brings down all those glorious colored leaves, it can also present a significant falling hazard—it's easy to slip on wet leaves coming in and out of the house or car. In addition, the rapidly dropping temperatures can leave a slick coating of ice after a rain event, often not detectable (referred to as 'black ice), especially at night.

The dangers do not just exist outside the home, but inside, as well. In the event of a winter storm, it is not uncommon to lose power—preparing for this should not be overlooked. The loss of power, means loss of heat. If you or your loved one is either confined to a wheelchair , a bed or have difficulty getting around, staying warm can also be a challenge.

Be proactive rather than reactive!

  1. Medications should be readily available: if you also have a medical device that runs on battery power, make sure it is fully charged.
  2. Charge cell phones: in the event of a power outage, phone lines may not work so be sure all your devices are fully charged.
  3. Working flashlights: check the batteries and make sure you have working spares!
  4. Stock up on non-perishable food items: no need to be hungry during a power outage! Keep plenty of food available and in close proximity.
  5. Ample water supply: often, after severe storms, the water supply can be compromised—always have more on reserve than what you think you will need.
  6. Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning: if there is a loss of power, be very careful if using a generator- NEVER put this in your home!

Post storm, upon exiting your home, non skid mats/wheelchair ramp at the doorway can be very helpful—as mentioned before, the pavement can get quite slippery. Also consider having a transfer aid to get in and out of your car; this will help you to keep your balance and act as a prop for stability.

Note: Salt, sand or kitty litter can help to melt the snow and ice quickly.

If you have a neighbor that is infirmed, chronically ill and lives alone, think about checking in on them if there is a storm or power outage.

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