Advice and Help

Winter Slips And Falls Prevention

Woman slipping on an icy road

Winter months in the UK paint beautiful landscapes, especially for people who love outdoor adventures. But winter also means slippery walkways and roads. A few simple precautions can keep you stable and safe reducing your risk of falling and suffering injuries on the ice and snow.


Tricks to Avoid Slips and Falls in Icy Conditions

  1. Have you heard of the "Penguin Shuffle"? Avoid winter slips and falls by doing this simple maneuver. It helps you maximize the contact strength between your feet and the ground. The way to do this is to focus on getting from one place to another (points A and B). Shorter, slower, flat steps are a must. Try not to lean forward at all because this may tackle your balance. 

  2. Before even getting out, identify the best route to get to your desired destination, and mind that you may need some extra time to get there. It is always better to move at a moderate speed and keep your balance rather than speed up the pace. Allow yourself to be slower. Walking too quickly on a slippery sidewalk equals a probable fall. 

  3. Find your most suitable footwear - rubbery boots ensure stable traction on icy and snowy surfaces. Avoid wearing high heels and flats. These are prone to slips and may tackle you down on their own. Use handrails anywhere you can, but don't forget to sanitize later. Also, try to avoid carrying heavy bags, especially when going up or down icy steps.

  4. Before going out, try practicing balance exercises if your physical condition and health allow this. A strong, steady body can respond better to balance failure and be able to prevent a fall. Such exercises are: standing on one leg and raising the other leg to the side or behind you, standing up and sitting down from a chair without using your hands, and the like. Home exercises are crucial to staying strong. 

  5. Fiding the right mobility aid that can help you preserve your balance is one of the most important things you must consider. Different mobility conditions ask for a different type of assistance, which is why you must consult your orthopedist about which one they recommend. If you already have a diagnosis, you can always speak to our expert professionals who will be happy to assist you with your decision and find you the best and safest aid to get you through the wintery slips. You can always get an extra grip for canes, walkers, and crutches.


What to Do in Case You Fall?

What to Do in Case You Fall?


First of all, we'd like to point out that people over 75 years of age mark the highest rates of TBI-related (Traumatic Brain Injury) hospitalizations, but this does not mean that the rest of us are safe. Winter weather mandates that we are cautious and try and prevent falls and slips as much as possible. However, in case of an inevitable fall, here are some things to watch out for: 

  1. Symptoms of severe injury to any part of the body. If you feel a throbbing pain that does not go away, please consult your doctor immediately. It may be an indication of a fracture or a more serious sprain. 

  2. Symptoms of a mild head injury. If you feel a persistent low-grade headache accompanied by trouble concentrating, remembering things, making decisions, and solving problems or even mood changes, please consult your doctor. 

  3.  Symptoms of a moderate or severe head injury include persistent or worsening headache accompanied by nausea or vomiting, possible dilation of one or both pupils, slurred speech and loss of coordination, and more. If you have any of the above symptoms see your provider immediately.

Lockdown Exercises for People With Disabilities

Disabled man exercising with a nurse

The newly occurred lockdown came as an expected surprise. This means that most people, will not be able to perform their favorite physical activities outdoors. And even more so, people who have suffered an injury and must have physical therapy sessions with a professional expert will be faced with a real challenge. And even once these sessions are over, their body will need constant stimulation to stay strong and build up strength to endure the daily challenges.   

Staying active doesn't have to mean going for a jog or do sports. It can also include doing simple activities such as home workouts or chores around the house. Because it is fairly risky for people with a disability to exercise among people at this point of a global virus crisis and because of the newly occurred lockdown, there are some easy workout routines you can do at home. 

Depending on your disability, for example, joint problems from arthritis or a physical injury, you may require isometric exercises to help you strengthen your muscles or prevent further muscle deterioration. These exercises are performed with a simple push against immovable objects or another body part without changing the muscle length or moving the joint. 


Home exercises for people with disabilities

Depending on your disability, the following home workout routines may keep you active and strengthen your muscles to get you ready for the winter months:


1. Sit and stand

Need to increase lower body strength and stability? Try this simple exercise suitable for conditions where you have some control over your lower body.

Bring your upper body slightly to the front and try to push yourself up with your legs into a standing position. Slowly sit back down and get into the position you started in. If you must use your arms, place your hands on your knees to help push you up. You can always use support, such as a grab rail or worktop.


2. Triceps Dips

In order to strengthen your triceps, chest, and the front of your shoulders, you may perform some triceps dips. A simple exercise that will be particularly useful if you transfer from a wheelchair. Suitable for conditions with good strength in your upper body.

Sit down and place your hands on the armrests of your wheelchair or an ordinary chair. Place them directly beneath your shoulders. Push yourself up until your arms are fully extended, then gradually move them down until you are fully seated again. You can help yourself with your legs, but try to let your arms do as much of the work as possible.


3. Seated knee exercises

Strengthen the muscles around your hip and make transferring, walking and bending easier. Suitable for conditions where you have some control over your lower body.

Sit down, raise one of your knees until your foot is several inches off the floor. Lower your knee slowly and repeat the process. Do the same with the other knee. You can use your calf muscle to assist the movement.


4. Walk and sit

First, the sit to stand strengthens your legs, and then the short walk serves to improve your walking. Suitable for conditions where you have some control over your lower body.

Get two chairs and place them a few metres apart, facing each other. Sit on one chair, stand up and walk to the other chair. Sit down on the other chair, and repeat. If you need further assistance, you can use crutches or have someone to help you.


5. Back exercises

This exercise is suitable for those who use a wheelchair and can’t get down onto the floor.

Sitting in your wheelchair or on any other stable surface, bend over from the waist until your upper body is facing down toward the floor. Slowly extend the head and back to bring yourself to an upright position and repeat the movement. You can assist yourself by using your hands to press onto your thighs.

Before doing any of these exercises, please consult with your doctor. These exercises are meant for people who do not have a specific type of injury that requires no movement and rest.

People with disabilities and virus precautions

Man with a disability in a wheelchair

Being elderly and disabled depending on a mobility aid isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially now when the world has gone in an entirely different direction. Everything we’ve known as a way of living has changed in the blink of an eye. This leaves us not only vulnerable to what is, but also to what comes next. It is up to us to learn and live by the new rules and adjust to the new circumstances. People with disabilities are more likely to meet certain barriers when it comes to extreme hygiene measures everyone should abide by due to their mobility limitations. However, there are certain things we must try and follow, regardless if we are the ones affected by a disability or we care for one.


What Precautions Should People With Disabilities Take During Virus Outbreak?

  1. Wear a mask and wash your hands regularly or work with a family member, friends, and caregivers to identify adaptations. It is okay to admit you have the need for additional assistance when performing your daily routines.
  2. Try and avoid crowded environments to the maximum extent possible and minimize physical contact with other people. Of course, that does not include caregivers and people who assist those with a disability. These people must follow the general guidelines and sanitize regularly all while wearing the proper equipment such as masks and gloves.
  3. Make purchases online. When coping with a disability, it is a fact that while shopping, you are more likely to have to touch areas in public spaces in order to assist yourself. The best thing is to request assistance from family, friends, or caregivers.
  4. Reduce the frequency with which you need to access public places by gathering urgent items you need. When out for your regular shopping, please try and get all the things you may need for a longer period of time so you're covered for the next few weeks. Again, the best thing is to request assistance from family, friends, or caregivers.
  5. Employed people with disabilities should work remotely. We understand that most people with disabilities work outside their homes and furthermore, they perform jobs that require their presence, however, we recommend working from home if possible. If your job's nature still doesn't allow you to be absent, please remember to always sanitize and wear a mask at all times.
  6. Disinfect frequently: wheelchairs, rollators, canes, crutches, etc. Wheelchairs are especially prone to bacteria and viruses due to their wheels touching the ground. They should be regularly sanitized before entering the home.
  7. Identify relevant organizations in your community that you can access if you need help. In case you find yourself alone in your house and need immediate assistance, make sure you have the phone numbers of those organizations close to you.

Wheelchair Ramps

Wheelchair Ramp

In the past, it was often difficult for a person in a wheelchair to get around. Access to different buildings was limited, and many attractions and points of interest were not wheelchair friendly. Additionally, having a wheelchair ramp that could help you while you were out was not readily available.

Now, thankfully, everything has changed. Nearly all buildings and public venues have wheelchair accessibility. People that are in a wheelchair also have more access to different types of mobility ramps that are affordable, lightweight, and portable.

Suitcase Style Ramps

You can travel in style with ramps that fold into a suitcase. You can travel anywhere with these ramps and increase your accessibility to any area. These ramps are perfect for small areas where builders may not have thought to increase access.

Threshold Ramps

Sometimes it is the smallest thing that can hold you back when you are in a wheelchair or mobility scooter. A threshold that is too high to go over in your wheelchair safely can be frustrating. Threshold ramps are a simple solution. These small ramps help you ease over any entranceway and can be quickly folded up until you are ready to use them again. Or, if you are looking for them for your home, install these ramps throughout the home where there are high thresholds and save thousands of pounds on remodelling.

Channel Ramps

Channel ramps are a great tool for increasing accessibility for both wheelchairs and mobility scooters. These ramps are designed in a way that allows you to use them anywhere. These ramps come in different lengths and widths so that you can accommodate just about any access point when you are out and about or within your home. Channel ramps are designed to be weather-resistant, making them an excellent addition to any outdoor area.

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More information

Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process

In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.

Who is eligible for VAT relief?

You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:

VAT Relief on our Disability Aids

All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.

How VAT relief works

If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

More information from HMRC

You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.

The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).