sitting in a wheelchair all day-good or bad?


Registered User
Jan 18, 2006
My Mum now has no mobility & has just moved into a nursing home before Christmas.
She now sits in a wheelchair all day.
Is this a bad practice?
Should she be moved into a chair?

Any help gratefully accepted.

Regards Sabato


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi Sabato

May be bad, may be good, may be the only practical thing!

What you need to do is

1. to understand the extent to which your Mum is disabled by dementia. If you lived with her until she went to the home, then you will understand already.

2. to understand whether Mum has become worse since entering the care home - this often happens as a change of environment can cause problems.

3. to understand what is the alternative to the wheelchair. If it is an armchair, then is she safe in it? If staff need to move residents around a lot, then a wheelchair may be a practical option - though not best for her of course. Other times she may be in a normal chair.

4. to understand how her day is organised. Perhaps she is in a chair because you come the same time to see her each day, and that is a mealtime, and that is the best way to move her to the table.

You really need to find out exactly what happens to her from the time she gets up in the morning, to the time she goes to bed at night. If nothing else, spend a day with her, if you can manage to take the time. That will also enable you to understand the practical issues of her care.

Of course it may be that she is simply left in the chair, staring at a wall, which is really bad.

So, take time to find out. Talk to the care assistants and management.

Good luck

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hi Sabato, What came to my mind, when reading your post was, How many times would your mother need to be moved? If she has to be moved constatly from armchair to wheelchair to bed, toilet, changing area, dining table etc. etc. does being in a wheelchair in the first place minimise these moves.
If you are concerned, I would ask the home for their reasons.
Brucie has covered all the other points.
Hope you are able to get answers, to put your mind at rest. Sylvia


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
And, of course, it depends on the wheelchair: some are much more confortable than others. Even if for practical reasons she needs to be in the chair most of the day, there are various padding options that will make it more comfortable.



Registered User
Sep 26, 2005
east sussex

My husband is in a elderly fragile section of a nursing home. Most people are immobile and are lifted by a hoist from armchair to wheelchair when needed for meals etc. Some times they are left in the wheelchair but most times they are in an easy chair. My husband has a special chair which tilts him back slightly as he was slipping out of the normal chairs, it has wheels on so i can take him off to his bedroom if we want to hear his favorite music.I think it is bad practice to leave a person in a bog- standard wheelchair all day.

regards Cynron x x


Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
Agree with you Cynron. We were told that the type to look for was called a 'Tilt in space' wheelchair. My mum's chair has a head rest too, and a special gel cushion The tilting takes the pressure off the sacral area and allows her to rest back rather than sit upright all the time. Her feet are raised as the chair tilts. There is also a reclining action which just moves the back of the chair but I don't think this is too good an idea as the legs are left 'unsure of themselves' if that makes sense. However, sitting in any chair for a prolonged length of time is not really going to be ultra comfortable. Certainly needs to be supervised. Slipping from chair can be caused by the materials from which clothing is made, I was told. Try to avoid synthetic materials as they can act like a glide sheet under the resident!


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Firstly, the chair that my wife Jan has can be seen at

When she is not in the soft room where she can be laid out on matresses [she has about lost the ability to crawl now], she spends her time in this chair.

There is a waist belt to ensure she cannot fall out, and this is essential.

It is an excellent solution, but I agree that people should not be left in them for extended periods as the person's back gets very damp [wet,even] in that case. The care home has Jan on a 2hrs on the chair, 2 hrs on the floor regime where possible.

Since I bought this chair for Jan, four or five others have appeared, bought by relatives of other residents at the home.

The chairs are excellent and in summer I can wheel Jan into the gardens.

We have to understand that, at a certain stage of dementia, options for making our loved ones comfortable are not the norms in the outside world.:(