Staying safe outdoors

I love being outdoors. What can I do to stay safe outside?

I love being outdoors. What can I do to stay safe outside?

 A stroke may affect your mobility. You may need to learn to move around in a different way.

To get around safely, you may need a mobility aid such as:

  • a walker or cane
  • an ankle brace
  • a wheelchair or scooter

Your Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist can recommend the right mobility aid for you.

You might consider borrowing, renting or buying a mobility aid. Talk with your health care team about what is the best option for you. You may also be able to get funding from community or government agencies to help cover the cost of buying a mobility aid.

If you do not drive or are unable to drive, you can make arrangements to use a transportation service for people with disabilities. Transportation services, such as Wheel-Trans or volunteer driving services, can help you get to where you need to go.

To make the outing safer, here are some things to plan ahead for:

Icy sidewalks
  • Weather
  • Uneven surfaces including curbs
  • Crowded places
  • Time needed to cross the street
  • How far you need to go
  • Wear non-slip low heeled shoes
  • Let someone know where you are going
  • Bring a mobile phone with you in case you get stuck

Try these tips to build up your confidence:

  • Walk with someone at first to get used to being outside
  • Work towards a goal
  • Pace yourself.  Start with small, easy steps and shorter distances.  Challenge yourself little by little to do more
  • Plan ahead for places to sit and rest
  • Avoid busy areas if you do not feel ready
  • Avoid going outdoors during bad weather. Walk indoors in a mall instead
Transport chair
Transport chair

If you cannot walk outside, try using a transport chair. It is a light, foldable wheelchair. It is easier to load into a car than a normal wheelchair.

Transport chairs do not have a special cushion or backrest.  But, it is okay to use these for a short time. 

Watch a video example of how to get in and out of the car safely.

Watch a video example of how to load a wheelchair into the care safely.

Watch a video about how to move a wheelchair up and down curbs.

Having read the information in this section, consider the following:

  • Am I safe when moving around in my house (for example, in the bathroom or climbing stairs)?
  • Do I have comfortable footwear?
  • Am I afraid of falling?
  • Do I know how to prevent a fall?
  • Will I know what to do if I fall?
  • Do I have all of the equipment I need (for example: a wheelchair, walker, or cane)?
  • Do I know where I can get the equipment I need?
  • Can I get funding to help cover the cost of the equipment?
  • Can I get out and go to places where I need to go (for example, can I cross the street safely or get to the grocery store)?
  • Do I know which services I can access from my home if I can’t get out (for example, online banking or grocery delivery service)?
  • Do I know how to arrange for these services?
  • If I need a ride to get somewhere, do I know how to find one?
  • Do I need help to get around during the winter or in bad weather?