Why are seniors in wheelchairs in nursing homes

Why Are Seniors In Wheelchairs In Nursing Homes?

If you have checked a loved one into a nursing home, you have probably noticed that most seniors are in a wheelchair.

Seniors develop health issues that compel them to have support to move around. It is not unusual for seniors to require support to walk, stand, or lay down.

Sometimes, there are cases where an elderly person becomes completely immobile and requires to be in a wheelchair all the time.

Nursing homes have to give the best care for seniors. And most nursing homes will have seniors in a wheelchair for easier movement.

In this article, there are more insights into why seniors are in a wheelchair in a nursing home as well as more details on why they depend on the wheelchair for mobility.

Why are seniors in wheelchairs in nursing homes? (Quick answer)

Do seniors need to be in a wheelchair or is it just a habit? The increasing rise in mobility issues caused by arthritis, inflammatory diseases, and other lifestyle diseases has seen many seniors wheelchair-bound.

However, there are nursing homes with a limited number of staff, which makes seniors wheelchair-bound.

3 Reasons Why Seniors are in a wheelchair in nursing homes

If you have noticed the rise in wheelchair use in nursing homes, it is okay to be concerned about your relatives in a nursing home. Here’s why seniors are in wheelchairs in nursing homes:

Health Issues

Why are seniors in wheelchairs in nursing homes

Sometimes, age brings along increased health issues. Conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, dementia, arthritis, and others make seniors unable to move around like before.

Some seniors are completely paralyzed and have to be in a wheelchair. It becomes a necessity for them if their health condition demands it.

Psychological Issues

Why are seniors in wheelchairs in nursing homes

The deteriorating mental health in the lives of seniors cannot be ignored. Seniors living in nursing homes are also vulnerable to psychological issues such as depression. When an elderly person has health problems, it directly affects their mental well-being.

In bad cases, seniors who suffer from depression become completely immobile and have to be pushed around in a wheelchair.

If you are about to check your elderly loved one into a nursing home, it is good to have proper mental health services and facilities on your checklist. Sometimes, it is not the physical state that leads seniors to deteriorate, it is poor mental health.

Lack of Enough Staff In Nursing Homes

Why are seniors in wheelchairs in nursing homes

Unfortunately, there are cases where the overuse of wheelchairs in nursing homes is caused by the shortage of staff.

When a nursing home does not have enough staff to take seniors through physiotherapy and exercise to help with mobility, a wheelchair becomes the trend.

It is easier to push someone around in a wheelchair than it is to get them through their mobility exercises.

How To Avoid Wheelchair Use In Nursing Homes For Seniors

If your elderly loved one can walk independently or with little assistance, it is unhealthy for them to be in a wheelchair all the time. Some of the reasons why wheelchairs are used all the time in nursing homes are unnecessary and can be avoided.

Ensure That There’s Physiotherapy In the Home

The best way to avoid the use of a wheelchair when your loved one is mobile is to check the facilities of the nursing home before checking them in. Ensure that there are facilities and staff to support the kind of therapy your loved one needs.

Invest In a Leg Exercise Machine

If you or your loved one are experiencing joint issues or mobility issues, you can try out a leg exercise machine. Some machines are so convenient that you do not have to move. You can use them while watching your favorite show on TV.

If your elderly loved one can move around without difficulty, you can get a peloton bike or a leg exercise bike to keep them strong and mobile for future purposes.

Get Psychological Help

If your elderly loved one has depression or any mental issue, it is a good idea to get them therapy. Therapy helps manage and restore moods, as well as improve well-being and mobility for seniors.

Before you get them in a nursing home, ensure that they have professional psychological support as much as they need it.

Psychotherapy can also significantly lift moods and help combat some physical health issues that seniors experience.


Although it is necessary for seniors in nursing homes to use wheelchairs, there are cases where it’s not healthy for them. If a senior can move with assistance or independently, it is not good for them to be in a wheelchair for a long time.

Sometimes, it is the nursing homes with a shortage of staff that have seniors in wheelchairs, while other times, elderly people feel they need to be in a wheelchair due to physical and mental health issues. The bottom line, ensure that your elderly loved one is in a wheelchair only when necessary. Before checking them into a nursing home, make sure the home has all the resources for physiotherapy and mobility.

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