The Thriver’s Guide: Conquering The Cold

February 22, 2015

It’s only February and being born and raised in Wisconsin, I know what’s still ahead – mountains of snow, sub-zero temperatures, icy roads and walkways, and gale force winds.  And, I’m not alone. It seems like every day the news is filled with “horror stories” about how weather conditions and climate change are adversely affecting people’s lives.  Sometimes I think it’s just easier for me to stay home (or in bed), wrapped in a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate.  But I know that when I isolate myself it’s not good for me.  I have to do some positive self-talk and planning to stay connected when I know that going out is not smart or safe for me to do.

And, it’s not only me who worries about going out in inclement weather, my family, friends, and neighbors have worries of their own.  Everyone has to be vigilant about their own personal safety.  To make it easier for people to visit me even when winter winds blow, I take some preventative measures in and around my home.  Here are some ideas you may want to keep in mind to keep your home welcoming and user-friendly:

  • Keep porches, steps, and walkways clear of ice and snow. Many commercial de-icing products are available that either melt snow and ice or can be applied before bad weather to make snow and ice removal easier.
  • Bare Ground Deicer™ will keep sidewalks and driveways clear of ice for up to 2 weeks. Available in spray or pellets, this or similar products may be found at your local hardware or home improvement store for options.
  • Heat Trak® heated floor mats keep sidewalk surfaces at 50 degrees, melting ice and snow and channeling it off the walk. Just roll it out and plug it into an outside outlet.
  • Check that all railings and step surfaces are secure and sound. A loose step can be a tripping hazard, and the last thing you want when you slip is a railing that gives way.
  • Extend railings 1 foot beyond the end of thetop and bottom step for more stability and support
  •  Remove any obstacles on walkways or at doorways. That nice pot or porch decoration is a real hazard when the snow flies or when darkness falls.
  • Improve household lighting. Make sure you can see where you are going and what you are doing, especially when steps or stairs are involved.
  • Install automated lighting at entryways, in garages, laundry rooms, long hallways — anywhere that is dark and you might have your hands full.
  • Use solar lights that automatically turn on when it gets dark to light the entry path to your home and you won’t have to remember to turn the lights on for visitors.

Have you got a tip or two to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please send your tips to: [email protected]


For more Tips for Making Life Easier™ – visit To make your whole house safer and more accessible, check out my latest bookHome Accessibility: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier available at a bookstore near you or on

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