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The Ultimate Holiday Guide for Wheelchair Users

Posted by ROLAND REZNIK on December 08, 2016. 0 Comments

Christmas and The Holiday Season is in full force! Stores are decorated with festive lights and the shopping season officially began the day after Thanksgiving. The holiday season is different for everyone, but it generally involves family, friends, decorations, delicious food, gifts, holiday parties and more! The following guide will help wheelchair users enjoy a spectacular holiday season.

Decorating the House                                            

Festive decorations and lights are usually the first on the list of things to do for the holidays. Decorating indoors is usually a breeze. However, outdoor decorating is often a challenge for wheelchair users. If you plan to put festive lights and decorations outdoors it is best to invite friends or family over to help. You can make a special occasion out of the situation by providing everyone with snacks, drinks and festive music.

Attending Holiday Parties

Holiday party invites come rolling in early December. One common obstacle wheelchair users have when going to someone’s house is the entrance. A ramp is often needed but not provided by the host. Instead of canceling your plans, you can arrive with your own portable ramp to make things easier and convenient. It will also take the stress away from worrying about it prior to the party.

Navigating the Mall

As a wheelchair user, you are aware of the obstacles large crowds can cause. This year, try to navigate on the edges of the crowd at the mall. This will prevent you from getting caught in the momentum of the fast-paced walkers and becoming overwhelmed. If you are always waiting for an elevator in the center of the mall, try using the department store elevators for quicker access. Valet parking is an excellent solution when you can’t find accessible parking spaces.

Staying Safe During the Holidays

The holiday season is a busy time of year when criminals look for their next victim. The busy and loud crowds at the mall are a suitable place for thief’s to get their job done. Avoid wearing valuable jewelry, keep your wallet and purse close by and hide your packages in your backpack or wheelchair bag. Keep a good eye on your surroundings at all times.

Navigating the Airport

Traveling any time of year is challenging for wheelchair users. But, the holiday season adds extra stress due to the large crowds and harsh weather. If you are traveling domestic or international, chances are you will find yourself navigating through an airport at some point during the holiday season.

Parking at the airport is difficult during the holidays. If you choose to drive your own car to the airport, allow yourself about 45 minutes to find suitable parking. Once you park your car take a picture of the sign that shows the section you are parked in. Keep this picture throughout your entire trip. It will help you find your car when you arrive back home.

The airport will be crowded more than usual. Navigate your way around the crowd by staying on the outer edges of large crowds. This will provide you with enough freedom and space to zoom past the crowd quickly and safely.

Avoid using the restroom in the main airport terminal. The restrooms located in this area are known as the busiest in the airport. If possible, wait until you reach your gate and use the nearby restrooms. It will save you time.

Dress for TSA screening. This means you should avoid wearing accessories like belts, jewelry and other items that will set off the alarm. This will help you get through the TSA screening as quickly as possible.

Take pictures of your wheelchair before you hand it over to the airline. This is a beneficial precaution in case your wheelchair is damaged by the airline. The pictures will prove your wheelchair was in good condition prior to your flight.

Keeping Your House Safe While Away

Thieves are well aware that people leave their homes throughout the holiday season to go shopping, attend parties and travel. Protect your home by investing in a home alarm system. It is also wise to install a light timing system. You can program it to make your lights turn on and off throughout your home as if someone was home. This will deter most burglars from entering your home while you are away.

Restaurant Reservations

Restaurants receive a flood of business during the holiday season. This can make getting an accessible table more difficult than usual. Contact the restaurant ahead of time to reserve a table. If the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, at least warn them you will be arriving soon and any help will be appreciated.

Visiting restaurants with family, friends and co-workers is a popular occurrence during the holiday season. Always call ahead to inquire about accessible entrance options. Restaurants that do not have an accessible front entrance will often provide an alternative entrance into the restaurant.

Finding a Christmas Tree

If you celebrate Christmas and prefer a real tree instead of a fake tree your search might become difficult. Most Christmas tree lots are located in parking areas or grassy locations that are difficult to navigate. If you insist on getting a fresh Christmas tree visit the stand during the day. This will allow you to see all obstacles clearly. Ask for help from the staff if you can’t find a safe way to enter the Christmas tree lot. Most Christmas tree staff is willing to show you a variety of trees if you provide the height and type of tree. It is wise to bring a friend or loved one along to help put the tree on your car and bring it into your home.

Remember to stay safe, navigate crowded areas carefully, make restaurant reservations and bring a portable ramp with you to holiday parties. Always plan ahead when visiting the mall, airport, restaurants and people’s homes. Enjoy the holiday season by following the tips mentioned in this guide and make this year one to remember.

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