It’s not long now until the most romantic day of the year: Valentine’s Day. So, we thought we’d put together a wheelchair user guide for long-time loves, someone special you’ve just met, or that awesome person you’re just dying to get to know better. Some of you may already have dates but maybe the search is still on for that special someone to share Valentine’s with or, who knows, a little longer. Wherever you are on that journey, these are just a few tips for wheelchair users so that Valentines is fun and fulfilling.
Finding your Wheelchair Love
- Don’t be afraid to ask: Don’t succumb to shyness. Sometimes you only get one chance. Valentine’s is the one day of the year when it’s OK to say something so go for it and ask that person you’ve had a bit of a crush on for a date.
- Positivity: Let’s face it, you’re worth it. So think and be positive about the feelings you have for your Valentine’s date. Be confident, it’s an enormously attractive quality and at this time of the year a bit of chutzpah can do you no harm. Think about the glow you feel when you’re close to the one you want to share this day with, because your happy thoughts will be contagious. If you’re able-bodied and your crush is not (or vice-versa) be bold. Life is short.
- Super Strategy: Don’t leave it all to chance. Make a plan. If you’re already with your life partner, make all your arrangements as early as possible (But keep the surprise secret). You don’t want to be disappointed if you’ve left it too late to secure that Valentine’s surprise. If this is to be a first date, don’t hang about. If you find this person attractive, you won’t be the only one so get in early. Everyone wants to be spontaneous but sometimes that tongue can get tied so make sure you know what you’re going to say and be clear about your plan for the day. Ensure your interests are aligned so if it’s either art galleries, theatre, sports events or food & wine that your Valentine loves, make it special.
- Just do it: Seriously? You’re hesitating? Don’t hang about waiting for fate to take a hand. Just occasionally fate goes AWOL and YOU have to summon up the courage to ask your crush for a date. You may never get another chance.
Great Ideas for your Wheelchair Valentine’s
You may be in a relationship, hopeful of one or simply desire friendship. Either way, it will influence your plans for the day. You will want whatever you plans are to be fun, enjoyable and a triumph. Despite improvements, accessibility can still be an issue. If you’re able-bodied and asking out a wheelchair user, ensure you’ve thought about accessibility so that your Valentine’s date is just as good as you want it to be.
- Dinner and the Flicks: A super flexible option. If you’re both outgoing types, here’s an opportunity to try that new restaurant and catch a just-released movie. On the other hand, you could demonstrate your culinary expertise with a romantic candlelit dinner at home followed by cosying up on the sofa and a Netflix movie.
- A Gig and a Bite: “If music be the food of life, play on; give me excess of it…” Music arouses the passions and if you both love music, classical or modern, it can be a wonderful date. Dinner either before or after. You choose.
- The Great Outdoors: Probably more suitable for the daytime, especially in February which can be bitterly cold. But outdoor types will love a trip out to the countryside. Whether it’s lakeside, seaside, a visit to your favourite National Park, take along a special picnic and a little bottle of something you fancy. Combine the great outdoors with an event. But, whatever you do, wrap up warm; February has the reputation of being the coldest month of the year so that’s a very good excuse for a Valentine’s Day cuddle to keep warm…
- Take a Tour: There are plenty of places to go: A Cadbury’s chocolate factory tour? How about a vineyard or a brewery? A museum perhaps or maybe a film studio? All of these places can be combined with a little something to eat and can be tailored to yours and your date’s specific interests.
- Amore Activity: Shared interests can make for a fun date. A cooking class taught by professional chefs can be both instructive, enjoyable and incredibly useful. Just imagine, you could learn the skills to create that special Valentine’s Day gourmet dinner you’ve always wanted to give your date.
Valentine’s Day is your chance to travel and make a day (night) of it. Of course, this depends on your relationship, but why not include a day trip in your plans. It can be so exciting to visit somewhere you’ve never been before which makes the day out a day of mutual discovery. But, whatever you do, don’t forget the traditions. A thoughtfully written card, an excess of chocolate and flowers are always well received. In case you hadn’t noticed, wheelchair users are just as romantic, love chocolate just as much and adore the attention of loved ones and admirers just like anyone. Valentine’s Day is for everyone. Make that someone special in your life feel amazing.
Things Not to Say to an Amputee!
From the brilliant BBC 3 series of “What not to say to….”
Absolutely no explanation need from us ….
Do you suffer from MS and have difficulty balancing and walking?
We have compiled 5 tried and tested shoe brands that could help people suffering from MS and balance problems
Many sufferers of MS have problems walking. Two main factors cause these issues. The first is damage to the nerve pathways. This damage often affects the coordination of the patient resulting in problems with their natural gait. When we walk, we subconsciously roll our feet pointing our toes upward as we pick up feet. There are many nuanced processes involved in walking that most people do automatically but often these breakdown with MS patients.
The second issue involves fatigue. MS sufferers often experience extreme fatigue making walking difficult. Muscle wastage then becomes an issue, which often exasperates the fatigue.
The type of footwear MS sufferers could help to relieve the fatigue associated with walking and also help to correct minor issues with gait and balance. The most important factor to consider when purchasing a pair of shoes is weight. The lighter the shoe, the less fatigue the patient is likely to suffer. Correct sizing will also help to improve not only the comfort but also the control of the patient. Many people both abled and disable where poorly fitting shoes. There are many variations of shoe sizing now on offer and from extra wide, narrow, half sizes and more. There are also variations between brands, so it’s essential to try on different brands and sizes to make sure you get the best fit. A running shop is a great place to start as they often have trained staff who can measure your feet and recommend brands to suit.
Hoka one one
These shoes have been described as “Like walking on air”. They are marketed as a running shoe but their cushioned sole and extreme lightness, make them a great everyday shoe for those with walking issues and fatigue. Their “Meta-Rocker” technology and bevelled toe provides an excellent platform form for improved balance when walking. Another plus is that they offer a range of products extra wide versions.
These are the most expensive of our brands with prices ranging from £120-£150 for their best-sellers.
Nike free flyknit’s
Trainer giant Nike answer to the lightweight running shoe is the Free Flynit. These trainers are everything you’d expect from Nike, trendy, well designed, and of course lightweight. They have less cushioning than Hoka one and sketchers, but some people may prefer this as it allows the wearer to really feel the ground. By being able to feel the ground, allows the body to make more accurate adjustments when walking and potentially improve balance. The main feature of these shoes is their comfort level, which is positively mentioned on all of their reviews.
A similar price point to Hoka one one but a little cheaper at £100-£120 depending on the model.
Sketchers offer a variety of models of trainer with rocker soles. These models have an exaggerated inverted sole which is designed to force the wearer to roll their foot when walking. The soles of the shoes are also thicker than most which provide extra cushioning and added spring. Both of these features are great for those with typical MS walking issues. They are also lightweight but tend not to be as light as some of the pure running shoes due to their thicker soles. There are several lace-free, slip-on models which might be appealing to some MS sufferers who also have dexterity problems.
The downside to Sketchers include a breaking in period. During this initial period, wearers tend to find that it is difficult to balance whilst standing still. This is due to the rocker sole and as your weight is adjusting from front to back. However, this soon passes as you quickly learn to adapt.
I have also read that people find them unsupportive at the ankle, but this depends on the model.
The price point is midrange at £60-£70
Brooks again are predominately a running brand and offer lightweight advanced running/walking shoes. The Brooks Glycerin is marketed as low impact, lightweight, performance running shoes.
What makes them great for those with walking issues is that they have a tight heel and significant heel drop. This holds the heel in place as the foot is picked and forces the foot to roll naturally. The toe end is also highly flexible which again helps promote the rolling motion.
Brooks are quality trainers that look great, are lightweight and have excellent cushioning.
Their prices vary depending on the model but on average are £60-£70.
Clarks (Wave Model)
These hiking/walking inspired shoes from Clarks also feature a curved sole like sketchers.
Their website describes the sole as “propelling you through every step, conserving energy and enabling you to walk further and feel fitter.” Bold claims but there’s lots of positive feedback from reviews and forums supporting this.
Again it’s curved sole that everybody seems to like, helping to stop the foot catching or dragging when walking.
While not as light as the pure running shoes, they are more robust and provide excellent support around the ankle.
The price of £45 makes them by far the best value of all of our options.
Lightweight shoes that fit you perfectly is what you should be aiming for. You could also experiment with insoles to help correct gait problems, and a physiotherapist could help you with this.
If you’re looking for a shoe that will help with drop foot, based on my research I’d recommend sketchers. Their cushioned rocker sole has lots of feedback from the general public and MS sufferers on forums.
For a lightweight and trendy option, I’d go Nike Flyknit.
Finally, for great value and practicality, the Clarks Wave are unbeatable.
If you are looking for further help with walking, we offer a range of walking aids on our website.
We hope you found this article useful.