Thursday, November 4, 2010

Winter Survival Tips for people with disabilities

Well it’s almost here, soon we will be driving in a winter wonderland, time to get your self ready for freezing cold days, snow covered road ways, slippery walkways and winter fun. Some look forward to winter and having a great time, sure there are many things to do this time of year, for some it means taking advantage of ski hills, winter festivals and for some lucky kids playing hockey in the back yard ice rink. Then there’s those things most don’t look forward to and that’s scraping off the car, shovelling the driving way, then having a snow plow drive by only to create a snow bank at the end of your driveway, resulting in more shovelling. You see for some the winter means nothing but hard work for nearly 6 months. Sure winter has it’s moments but for some of us winter can be the most challenging time of our lives.

Like most I never look forward to winter weather, I hate how fast the seasons change, I am not a fan of freezing cold temperatures, and sure snow is beautiful but slippery walkways and ice isn’t really that fun to deal with. The winter season usually leads to many problems, some related to the Muscular Dystrophy and some related to people just not taking care of slippery walkways and parking lots. When it comes to winter some days I wonder how so many are able to deal with it and make it through the day. You see for those of us with Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy once winter arrives all the stress and frustration begins. You could ask anyone with a physical disability who struggles walking in deep snow or on ice if they look forward to winter and they would tell you that winter can be a very stressful time of year. Most of us with disabilities would much rather just stay inside relaxing instead of going out and risking a fall or injury. The one thing that bugs me the most about winter is how fast the weather changes, it’s crazy one minute its clear skies, then the next thing you know here comes the snow and freezing rain. It has happened to me so many time’s, I go into the mall, the next thing I know I come out and the walk to my car is now a slippery one, thanks to the freezing rain that fell while I was shopping. Some of you might understand what I feel like when I hear we going to get freezing rain. You see where I live my parking spot is so far away from the buildings entrance, that at certain times my walk to the car can be a very challenging one. To be honest I am some what envious of those people who are lucky enough to have close parking spots. I really wish I lived somewhere with underground parking, maybe it is time to start looking. You see in the city I live in apartment buildings are not required to have parking for people with disabilities, so it is a common sight to see no accessible parking, let’s hope that changes soon.
I will admit snow does look pretty nice on the ground
When it comes down to it I believe that the issue’s those with disabilities face during the winter time could be eliminated if people just did what they were suppose to do during the winter. Most would agree snow and ice removal is very important, but sadly many businesses and even home owners don’t take it very seriously. It is frustrating to know that simple things such as people not clearing walkways and parking lots of snow and ice is what is holds some of us back from being able to make it through the season. I truly believe some people just don’t care and that worries me, it seems like people in society are just more concerned with their own needs, than to take the time and think about others. So I would like to ask all home and business owners to please take care of your property during the winter as this would go a long way in helping those living with disabilities.

Lastly there a few things I have learned over the years that have helped me make it through the winter, so please consider some of these suggestions:

-Every winter buy a bag of salt, or even better buy some type of environmentally friendly product that does the same job. You can spread it around your vehicle to help reduce ice build up, helping to reduce the risk of slip and falls.
-Look into purchasing a pair of Yaktrax slip on ice walkers, these are usually made of rubber and have metal coils or spikes on the bottom that help give you better traction in slippery winter conditions.

-If you live in apartment building if possible look into requesting a parking spot that is close to the entrance, this will help limit walking distance reducing the risk of a fall. Also if possible try and find a place that offers underground parking.

-If you are currently working try and make sure to let your employer know about your situation, this gives them the opportunity to act appropriately.

All I can say is that when it comes to winter just be careful, and hopefully some of the suggestions I have made help you make it through the winter.
 
 
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