Men Shoveling a Sidewalk

Let’s face it—for the many wonderful aspects that come from living in New Jersey, winter might not be one of them. The east coast tends to get hit pretty hard come December and January, which makes getting around more difficult. With all the ice, sleet, and snow that we get, driving and walking suddenly become not only a challenge, but a hazard. This is especially true for people with different mobility needs. Navigating winter in a wheelchair, on crutches, or even just in older age can pose a great risk, but Able Care Group is here to help.

There are a number of ways you can maintain your mobility in winter, and a variety of steps to take to ensure your mobility solutions continue to function properly. Offering installation on wheelchair ramps, vertical platform lifts, and commercial and residential elevators, we have the resources and technology to make getting around ordinary—not an obstacle. Take a look at some of the ways you can keep up your accessibility in winter, and contact New Jersey’s top choice for mobility products today.

Clear sidewalks and walkways.

This is something that every person should take part in, not just those who have limited mobility. Ice and snow can create for some slippery driveways and surfaces, and sidewalks and walkways should always be cleared for pedestrians and vehicles alike. After any snow storm, it’s essential to keep up on shoveling and de-icing as necessary. Sprinkle rock salt onto your driveway and sidewalk to provide some extra traction.

Sometimes, a steep driveway—even one that has been salted and shoveled—can still pose a threat for people relying on wheelchairs, walkers, or crutches. An alternative to clear your driveway even more effectively is to have in-ground heat mats to help melt everything away. However, this can sometimes be a bit costly if your driveway and house have already been built.

Take care of your wheelchair ramp(s).

Wheelchair ramps need to be maintained a little bit differently from a sidewalk or driveway when it comes to winter care. Since wheelchair ramps are made of metal, they require some alternative methods of treatment in order to be safe for colder weather. Salt and magnesium chloride can be tough on metal surfaces, as they are a bit abrasive (and can occasionally be corrosive as well).

Sand is a better alternative for your wheelchair ramp, and instead of shoveling, you might want to consider sweeping snow off instead. With a metal shovel, the surface of the ramp can be scratched or harmed. Additionally, water could seep into any cracks and cause rust, which can lead to other damage. Just like how we brush off our cars when they’re covered with snow, the same actions should be taken for a metal wheelchair ramp.

Stay ADA compliant.

As a business owner or property manager, you are probably already aware of the liabilities that could happen from any injuries that occur from poorly managed public spaces. To build off of that, it’s essential that you maintain your ADA compliance by ensuring your business is accessible for all. Even if your property might be acceptable for many an able person, it still might not work for someone with limited mobility. Make sure any ramps or access points are easy to access, and safe as well.

Provide proper care for your outdoor vertical platform lift.

As you’re preparing for winter, there are several things to keep in mind for maintaining your vertical platform lift:

  1. Make sure to store the platform midway up. Before use, run the unit all the way down empty and back up to warm up the nut and screw mechanism.
  2. Verify the voltage at the unit, as it should be 115 volts. Perform a test run with a load, and make sure the voltage doesn’t drop below 110 volts.
  3. If the voltage does drop below 110, check with your local electrician, as they may have to increase the wire gauge to the dedicated outlet.

As a couple other notes, Able Care Group uses an all-temperature grease that can help your vertical platform lift run smoothly, in any type of cold weather. You should also consider purchasing our AC or DC cold weather package for vertical platform lift operation if you live in a place where temperatures drop below 20 degrees. This package includes an extra tube of all-weather grease, as well as a cable guide kit that allows for proper positioning of the traveling cable in colder temperatures. With the DC cold weather package, you get an additional battery warming pad.

If you live in a region where temperatures can dip below zero, our DC battery operated unit includes 34 AH batteries, as well as the above DC cold weather package. This weather kit can work in temperatures reaching -20℉.

Get decked out in winter gear.

Many people put snow tires on their cars to provide better traction in the slick winter conditions. In the same way, you can have snow tires added to your wheelchair. This can be an excellent method for dealing with the weather as a whole, and particularly helpful when coming across spaces that haven’t been as well maintained for winter conditions.

Additionally, you should make sure you have backup batteries and generators for any mobility products that rely on electricity. Sometimes severe storms can cause power outages, which could leave you without the transportation means you rely upon. Not to mention, certain batteries are depleted faster in colder temps, making it imperative to have additional sources of energy ready in the case of any emergencies.

It’s true: The effects of winter weather can impact anyone’s mobility. But for those of us who already have more limitations with our mobility, winter can prove to be even more of a challenge. The good news is this doesn’t have to be the case, especially when you work with Able Care Group. We are committed to providing more accessibility in your life, from installing residential and commercial elevators to stairlifts and other mobility-based technology. Get set for the colder months with Able Care Group — call now! We offer mobility products and installations, including platform lifts, for folks throughout New Jersey.