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Winter is once again upon us. Although the snow can create a beautiful landscape here in Niagara, snow removal can present a problem for all of us, but particularly for seniors or persons with disabilities.
Municipalities across Niagara enforce snow removal bylaws to keep pedestrians safe. In St. Catharines for example, private property owners are required to clear the sidewalks in front of and/or beside their property within 24 hours of a snowfall. Property owners can receive fines for not clearing the snow in a timely manner. Be sure to check out what the requirements are in your hometown so you can be prepared.
Snow removal can be a dangerous activity, injuring thousands each year if not done safely. Snow shoveling can lead to problems such as broken bones, muscle strains, head injuries, or even heart attacks. The type of activities performed when shoveling snow (heavy upper body work, tension & straining of the back and lower body) increase the risk of injury.

“Not only is the heart’s workload increased due to shoveling snow, but cold temperatures also add to the chances of a heart attack in at-risk individuals,” said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio. Their study indicated that snow removal sends on average more than 11,000 adults and children to the hospital each year.

While heart-related problems comprised only 7% of all snow shoveling injuries, all deaths due to snow shoveling recorded in this study were due to heart problems. Additionally, adults over the age of 55 were more than 4 times more likely than younger individuals to experience heart-related problems while shoveling.

If you are a senior, it’s possible that you are capable of conducting your own snow removal without issue. But you should take into account the risks it presents. It may be worth looking to see if there are any local residents in your area who would be willing to help you with snow removal. Many landscaping companies and even contractors in Niagara offer contracted snow removal services you can sign up for that will guarantee to have your sidewalks and driveways cleared within 24 hours of a snow or ice event.

If paying for snow removal isn’t an option, keep these tips in mind:
• Take your time and go slowly
• Be sure to take breaks often
• Do the task in sections. It’s more than okay to do a portion of the work, go inside, and start again later.
• Don’t do it alone – get a neighbour/friend/or family member to help you. Check with your local seniors centre or even local churches. Many offer assistance to local seniors or they could direct you to a group that is able to help.
And if all this talk of snow removal has you feeling tired or dreading more winter weather, give this video a watch. These gentlemen don’t seem to have let the winter weather dampen their spirits at all.

From all of us here at Daniel & Partners LLP, take care, stay safe, and enjoy the holiday season.

Blog post written by Karen Shedden, NCA Candidate.

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