Assisted Living

5/24/2023 | By Charlie Fletcher

Transitioning from a long-time home to assisted living or other retirement community can seem overwhelming, especially for someone with a mobility disability. These suggestions can ease the move.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that mobility disabilities affect 1 in 7 adults, making it the most common disability type. The CDC also declared that “With age, disability becomes more common, affecting about 2 in 5 adults age 65 and older.”

A mobility disability can affect an aging adult’s life in various ways, sometimes resulting in a need for support with daily living.

An assisted living home can be especially helpful in this regard. But transitioning to such a living situation can be challenging for anyone, especially someone apprehensive about leaving what’s familiar while managing a mobility issue.

Tips for moving with a mobility disability

1. Address your fears about moving

You likely have some concerns about moving related to your age, this new stage in your life, and the particulars of living in an assisted living community.

Addressing your fears is critical for an easy transition, which first means identifying them. You can also use them to inform your assisted living community choice. For instance, if staying connected to family is a must, look for an assisted living home that offers flexible visitation and hosts regular family events.

Sit down on your own or with those who are helping you with the transition and write down each concern you have. Be as specific as possible. Then, discuss each fear in detail and develop solutions that make them conquerable.

2. Find the best retirement community for you

Once you’ve addressed your fears and you’re ready to take the plunge, it’s time to find the best community for you.

man in a wheelchair at a nursing home, nurse behind him, from Katarzyna Bialasiewicz. Moving to assisted living or other retirement community can seem overwhelming for someone with a mobility disability. These tips can help.

First, take into account your needs. What are your mobility limitations and what accommodations do you need? Do you have any other physical or mental health needs? What about socialization and independence? What do you need in a care team?

Think about the location and if any specific senior communities have caught your eye. Also important is cost. What can you afford with your current and projected income?

Based on the above, narrow down your choices to your top three. Visit them and bring questions to ask that will help you make the best decision. It’s also a good idea to spend time at your top choices beyond your tour appointments. If possible, attend events and interact with people who live there before you make a decision.

3. Plan the moving process

You’ve decided on a new home and now it’s time to move. Moving is difficult for anyone, and having a mobility disability adds a layer of difficulty to the process.

Also, as you plan your move to a retirement facility, downsizing is critical. Declutter and get rid of things you no longer need or want to reduce moving costs. Selling or donating unwanted items is helpful too.

There are ways to make moving with limited mobility easier. Use resources available to you, like state and federal moving services, senior moving services, and other resources for seniors living with a mobility disability.

The following can also make moving with limited mobility more manageable:

  • Create a moving checklist
  • Prioritize essentials
  • Plan accessibility accommodations
  • Book help for unpacking

Hiring a moving company that specializes in downsizing is beneficial. Many will help you sort through your possessions, decide what to keep and what must go, sell, give away, or dispose of unwanted items, and pack and move your things efficiently.

4. Settling in to your new community

Settling in to your new community might be the most critical part of your transition. It’s not home yet, but it can be with a few intentional actions.

First, personalize your living space and ensure it’s set up in an accessible way. Implement the support structures you need for your mobility challenges. And fill your space with accessories that make it homey.

After that, get to know your neighbors and get involved in community activities. Knock on your neighbors’ doors and introduce yourself. Get an event calendar and circle activities you want to attend. Make it a point to spend time with new people when having meals.

The more genuine relationships you create and maintain, the happier you’ll be in your new community.

Many assisted living communities are held in high regard for how well they support their residents with mobility disability and other challenges, while helping maintain independence as they age. With a bit of research and planning, your transition will land you in a new happy place.

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees” – Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. You can find more of her writing at