Author: Sarah Williams
Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

Yes, you can be immobile in assisted living, as long as communities can adequately meet your needs. Legislation prevents facilities from discriminating against individuals because of disabilities, including mobility issues. While providers must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate seniors’ needs, they can’t admit or retain anyone for whom they can’t provide appropriate support. Individuals should check that a facility can accommodate their specific requirements, such as through trained staff and accessibility features; often, they may need to consider a different care setting.   

Assisted Living for Seniors With Limited Mobility

The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act prevent assisted living facilities from refusing admission or ongoing care based on an individual’s disability status, including immobility. However, facilities don’t have an obligation to accept individuals if they can’t ensure adequate care. When it comes to mobility, assisted living communities can generally accommodate wheelchair users and seniors who use canes and other mobility aids. Designs may include widened doorways and step-free access, while common accessibility modifications include grab rails, walk-in showers and ramps.

Caregivers assist residents with transferring and ambulation, and many facilities offer meal and activity escort services. Enrichment and wellness programming account for diverse abilities. Although facilities can accommodate seniors with limited mobility, due to staff ratios, scope of care and available services, residents should typically have the ability to move around relatively independently and respond appropriately in an emergency. Therefore, seniors who require full-time support or supervision often find nursing homes more suitable.

Nursing Home Care for Immobile Seniors

Unlike assisted living facilities, nursing homes provide 24/7 supervision and skilled nursing care alongside support with everyday tasks. Caregiver-to-resident ratios also stand higher, and the team includes staff trained to care for people with severely impaired mobility. Nursing home services for immobile residents include nutritional management, two-person transferring and regularly turning residents in bed and monitoring and treating pressure sores. Seniors may also benefit from physical and massage therapy and tailored wellness activities.

Additionally, nursing facilities often have assistive equipment, such as hoists and lifts, to support immobile residents. Nursing homes frequently provide one-on-one engagement and enrichment activities, such as reading, games and movies.