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Two elderly people sitting in a park having a picnic

10 Top Tips to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

These long, warm days are perfect for picnics and exploring, but the outdoors can be a minefield for those with mobility concerns. Don’t let the fear of uneven terrain or lack of picnic furniture stop you from enjoying the freedom of outdoor ventures.

Independent Living are the Mobility and Access Experts. Here are their top 10 tips for enjoying the great outdoors.

Travel with ease

1.  Rollators, wheelchairs and mobility scooters come in many shapes and sizes – and often easily fold down to fit in a car - yep, even some mobility scooters can fit in a car boot. Choose a mobility device with wheels and suspension suitable for the terrain you want to travel on. And don’t forget a pannier, lockable basket or even an eating tray as a valuable accessory.

Don’t have the right device for a special occasion outdoors? Independent Living can hire rollators, scooters and wheelchairs.

2.  Walking stick user? A unifoot accessory or wide ferule attached to the end of your stick will provide valuable stability on uneven terrain.

3.  Getting out of a car is made simpler with a car bar to help you pull yourself out. Or consider a swiveling transfer cushion, to help swing you around.

Location, Location, Location

Finding a great picnic spot that is accessible AND has available tables can be a needle in a haystack in summer.

4.  Many councils provide great guides on accessible parks - here’s Auckland Council’s guide

5.  Google Earth and Google Streetview allow you to get an idea of a picnic spot before you visit. Check out the parking, ramps or footpaths, picnic furniture and toilet facilities before you go.

Eat with confidence

6.  Don’t let the thought of eating in public limit your enjoyment of the great outdoors. Invest in bendable and wide grip cutlery, non-slip and slideproof plates as well as suregrip cups, sipper cups and devices to make opening containers easy.

Birling backrest, folding tray table with a plate, spoon, cup all situated on top of a picnic blanket.

7.  Laptrays with cushions provide a stable eating surface when a table is not available. And for mess free eating, stylish bandana bibs provide peace of mind for food spills whilst looking like a fashion statement.

8.  If sitting on the ground is a possibility, a Birling Back rest is super handy – and can be used at home or in the bath as well.

A reacher being used to pick up a chery tomato

9.  Handy reachers are resilient and yet pretty delicate - allowing you to pick up food on a picnic blanket without leaving your chair or walker. No more bending over to retrieve a sandwich!

10.  And remember – you're outdoors! Don’t forget the sunblock, a hat and a lightweight rainjacket in case the weather turns.

Have fun!

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