Hearty roast dinners, gift giving and cosy open fires. Winter really is a season to tickle your tastebuds and satisfy all the senses. But what is it really like for disabled people? And what can we do, individually and collectively, to survive and thrive in what is not always a winter wonderland?
Travel and Transport
We know it is truly winter when traffic jams rise, trains slow or stop, and the car needs defrosting before it’s roadworthy! But there are things you can do to ensure that you’re as geared up as can be for bad weather and the effect it has. It is possible to buy long handled ice scrapers for the car, especially for wheelchair users who are unable to reach very far over the windscreen. It’s always good (although sometimes more expensive) to buy flexible train tickets where possible, just in case there are unexpected hold-ups, and there’s never been a better excuse than slippery floors to treat yourself to a stress-free taxi journey!
Delays in traffic and transport, and generally feeling unwell, can often play havoc with our work lives. Technology is not everyone’s best friend, but it can be a total saviour for a disabled person who wants to stay business savvy in tougher annual conditions. Work from home where possible to keep the risk of winter weather incidents low, skype colleagues and potential business partners when it’s appropriate to do so, and don’t be afraid of asking for patience on an automatic email reply if the winter bugs really grab a hold of you!
Keeping a home warm and making sure that colds and flu stay at bay is important all year round, but especially in winter. Your bedroom and living room, in particular, should be a minimum of 18 degrees, and the consistency of temperature is important to prevent conditions like hives. Electric blankets and hot water bottles can also be used (but not at the same time!) and you may even be eligible to get government help with a winter fuel payment. Cold weather does not have to mean a cold home!
And finally… If getting out and about is proving a problem in cold and slippery conditions, let your friends, relatives and colleagues know, and see if they can come to you! It may sound obvious, but all too often we push on alone and then find ourselves run down because we have forgotten to take a break or ask for help. Winter can be a truly magical time, but it’s also not much fun if it prevents us from doing what we love on a regular basis. Wrap up, take it easy and enjoy all that this winter wonderland has to offer.