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Navigating Snowy Sidewalks Difficult For Some

January 18, 2010, 6:37 PM by Nick Carbone

Navigating Snowy Sidewalks Difficult For Some
It's been weeks since our last snow fall. But sidewalks still caked with snow and ice make getting around even more difficult for those in a wheelchair. 

Eighteen-year-old Sammy Griebel uses a motorized wheelchair to get around. But in the winter, just heading down the sidewalk outside her house can be difficult, even dangerous.

"Getting around safely is a huge issue," Katherine Herreid of Comfort Keepers, a caregiver organization, said. 

It can get to the point on sidewalks and in parking lots that Sammy needs a hand getting around from her mom.

"There are times when it's slushy or too deep and you have to push her out," her mom, Denise Griebel, said.

"Especially for those in motorized wheelchairs, the traction isn't that great when you've gotta work with ice and snow," Herreid said. 

Herreid works with the elderly who have trouble getting around. She says some are afraid of coming across treacherous sidewalks.

"In the winter, a lot of them choose not to go out unless absolutely necessary like for a doctor's appointment," Herreid said.

For those who may use a wheelchair or walker to get around, navigating an unplowed curb could be impossible.

"It's hard to navigate crossing streets because the recent snow has piled up," Herreid said. "They don't want to risk taking a fall and ending up in the hospital or worse a nursing home."

And when property owners don't take the time to clear the way, some would rather not take a chance.

If you notice a sidewalk that hasn't been cleared, you can fill out a shoveling complaint with the city of Sioux Falls.

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