If you are spending this winter on wheels, it can sometimes be difficult to regulate your temperature and stay warm. Winter weather can be challenging for those who struggle to regulate their body temperature, have issues with circulation or whose muscle use and flexibility is impacted by the cold. Staying independent and active during winter is important for everyone who uses a wheelchair, so here we catalogue all the best ways to keep yourself warm in your chair this winter.
1. Stock up on hand and foot warmers
Deciding whether or not to wear gloves while using a wheelchair is a personal choice. Some wheelchair users swear by them, finding that they protect their hands from the cold, while others argue that gloves make their hands too slippery to use the chair. Others still find they have struck a happy medium by finding gloves that are specially built to have better grip than normal gloves or mittens.
Another options that can help is stocking up on hand and foot warmers. Your hands and feet are one of the places where a substantial amount of heat is lost, so it’s important that you keep these parts of your body warm. Available from most chemists, hand and foot warmers are small packets that can be stored flat, and when “snapped” instantly heat up. They are easy to carry, and will warm up on demand, meaning that if you don’t dress warmly enough, or don’t like gloves, you always have a warm-up option at hand. They are also an option if you are transitioning frequently between indoors and outdoors, as you can use them rather than layering up each time you go outside, which is tiring and time consuming.
Hand and foot warmers can also be used for people whose hand issues don’t allow the easy use of gloves, or who struggle with getting gloves on and off. Electronic rechargeable hand and foot chargers can also be purchased online or at many pharmacists.
2. Adapt coats or buy specialised adapted winter wheelchair clothes
Wheelchair users each have their own favourite materials and brands, but many recommend a short polar fleece for the top half, and swear by warm socks. Short polar fleece stops are extremely warm, without the issue that long coats or shaggier materials may have when it comes to getting caught in wheelchair mechanisms and spokes.
Specialised ponchos with slits at the back for both rain, snow and general winter cold are also available on the internet from specialty retailers. These have the benefit of being easy to get on and off, and being specifically designed for wheelchairs to keep users safe and warm while maintaining the ability to easy take layers on and off quickly.
3. Make use of hot baths, showers and steam
Winter can be very challenging for wheelchair users when it comes to impacts on muscles and health. Winter and cooler temperatures cause muscles to contract, which can cause pain and other medical issues. Steam, warm baths and showers (if showering is possible) are some ways to soothe and warm up muscles after a day in the cold. The steam also helps in relieving muscle tension as well as warming you up, which should help ease some of the cold winter related issues for active wheelchair users. If you need extra bathroom accessories or grip rails, you can view our range here.
4. Invest in lambskin covers and wheelchair accessories
Lambskin a one of nature’s amazing insulators. Lambskin wheelchair comfort items really are the best accessories that you can purchase for your wheelchair, year around. It is cosy and comfy to sit and lean on, and it also helps with insulation – meaning that it’ll keep you warm in winter and cooler in summer. Not only will lambskin help with temperature regulation, and stop warmth from escaping through the chair from underneath your body, it also helps reduce the risk of ulcers and pressure sores if you are sitting in your chair for long periods of time. Lambskin is available in a lot of different shapes and applications for wheelchair users, including ‘slippers’ to go inside shoes, armrests, knee pads, and seat covers.
At LifeMobility, we aim to help wheelchair users pursue the active and independent lifestyle they are wanting by matching unique individuals to the mobility aids and accessories that will assist them. To view our range of wheelchairs and accessories, click here. To contact us, please click here.