Winter and Limited Mobility – What You Need to Know


Many of us love winter and its beautiful snowy, frosty days. But for those with limited mobility, even those that love the snow, the season can present unique challenges. The combination of cold weather, slippery surfaces, and reduced mobility can make daily tasks more difficult.

Whether you suffer from mobility issues yourself, or you are close with someone who needs assistance, in this article, we’ll explore the challenges that those with limited mobility mayface in the winter. With the aim to provide you with awareness of issues and tips for overcoming and avoiding them, so that you and your loved ones can enjoy a safe and comfortable winter.

Slippery Surfaces and Risk of Falls

Surfaces are more likely to become slippery in winter, due to ice from melting snow or frost. Pavements may also stay wet for longer after rainfall. You could be walking down a street or simply walking around your drive or pathway – slipping and falling accidents could happen anywhere.

This can be potentially dangerous for anyone, but is particularly a risk for those that already have limited mobility issues and/or the elderly.

To help minimise the risk of falls in these conditions, you can:

• Regularly check the weather before you go out, you can do this by using a weather app on your phone.
• Invest in footwear that is non-slip, and has sturdy treads that improve your traction.
• If you use assistive devices like canes or walkers, use ones that have ice grips to help give you more stability.
• Depending on your mobility level and where you are travelling, you may even want to opt for a mobility scooter. It could make things a lot easier for you in this kind of weather. Lightweight folding mobility scooters could be an ideal solution for your travels.
• Salt your driveway to prevent ice from forming.

Maintaining Your Mobility Equipment in Winter

Winter weather can be tough on lots of outdoor items, particularly mobility devices. Exposure to harsh cold for prolonged periods can potentially lead to malfunctions or reduced performance. Not good if you need to get somewhere.

Our tips for maintaining your mobility equipment to its fullest:

• Clean your mobility device regularly, keeping it free from snow, ice, dirt, and road salt.
• Store your device indoors if you can, as this will protect it from the elements. Making sure it stays dry and safe from extreme temperatures.
• There may also be winter accessories designed for your mobility device, such as snow tires or covers if you can’t bring it indoors.

Winter Can Limit Accessibility

Snow, ice, and flooded areas can make it difficult to access doorways and vehicles, especially if you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter.

To help combat this limited access, you can do a few thingseither by yourself or by asking for assistance. Here’s what to keep in mind:

• Keep pathways clear by shovelling snow as soon as possible after the snow has fallen.
• You can install ramps at entry and exit points. Portable ramps may also help in certain circumstances.
• Winter can lead to reduced transport options, which will make it more challenging for you to get around. Try to plan outings ahead of time, and research back up transport options or other times for trains, etc. Make sure these transport options have the accessibility you need.

Exposure to the Cold

Since individuals with limited mobility may not be able to move around as much or as easily, they may struggle with regulating their body temperature. This can mean being more susceptible to health issues that are related to cold temperatures.


• Dress in layers, potentially using thermal undergarments to stay warm and comfortable.
• Always have a blanket nearby, on your sofa or in your vehicle. Try heated electric blankets.
• Make sure your home is properly insulated. This way you can maintain a comfortable indoor temperature year-round and use your heating efficiently.

Seasonal Depression or Feelings of Isolation

The harsh weather may mean those with mobility issues won’t be able to get out as much as they might want to. The dark, cold, and potential isolation could lead to seasonal depression.


• Maintain a healthy social life with friends and family via video and phone calls. You can even try virtual support groups or explore accessible indoor based activities if any are offered by your local community.
• Stay engaged in your favourite hobbies or activities in order to keep mood levels up.
• Remember to seek professional mental health support if you feel you are struggling.
• Don’t forget to take care of your physical health too, stay hydrated and consume nutritious meals.

Final Thoughts

With a bit of extra planning, there’s no reason a person with limited mobility can’t enjoy winter as much as any other season. Stay safe and consult a professional for more advice and tips.