How to Be Homebound

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Art by Elizabeth D’Angelo. Updated: 7/1/19

Many of us who are homebound have never been told there are resources or help available. If you are housebound, or bedridden, or have difficulty leaving your home, we hope something on this page may be helpful for you. You do not need to be on disability to apply for most of these programs.

Wheelchairs, Scooters or Medical Equipment

Common types of medical equipment in the home: Shower chairs, manual wheelchairs, electric wheel chairs, walkers, canes, mobility scooters, hospital beds, toilet rails, bath tub safety frames, bath tub lifts, bed pans, walk in bath tubs, and commode chairs. Learn more: How to Get Medical Equipment

Home Modifications 

Programs that help make changes to your home to make it more disability friendly. Some are available to renters: How to Get Free Home Modifications

Home Aides and Caregivers

In some situations, you may be eligible for free or low cost home aide services. Home aide services may include personal care (bathing, eating, dressing), household help (shopping, cooking, cleaning), medication management, driving to doctor’s appointments, and mental health support. How to Get a Caregiver.

If You Are Already in a Home Aide Program 

If your caregiver is paid through a state home aide program (Such as a medicaid waiver or home and community based care or IHSS) there are a lot of helpful stories, tips and tools on this page: The Sleepy Girl Guide to State Home Aides.

If You Live with a Friend, Family Member, or Aide

If you live with a friend or family member who helps in your home, or you have a paid home aide who lives with you: Special Benefits If You Have a Live-In Caregiver.

Home Meals

Many areas have meals-on-wheels or similar programs that deliver low cost meals to you. Even if the program says it is for Seniors, you should still call them. Sometimes they will also help younger people with disabilities. Contact meals on wheels or your local area agency on aging to see if there is a program in your area.

Have More Fun in Bed

Check out this list of brilliant ways to use technology and devices to make life in bed more fun: Ricky Buchanan: geek-creative-disabled-bedridden-internet-citizen

Applying from Home

No matter what you are applying for, you can always get a disability accommodation to submit your application or materials from home. If they can’t do not listen to anyone who tells you that you must go into the office. It is never true. Sometimes you have to be a little persistent. Here’s some ideas for: How to Have a Good, Helpful, Pleasant, Reasonably Successful Phone Call With a Social Service Agency. If you are applying for disability and you are asked to go to a Social Security doctor, this page has some regulations that address this: How To Prep for the Social Security Doctor.

Online Connection

It’s hard for homebound people to meet other homebound people! Here is a long list of Great Facebook Groups for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme, Mast Cell, MCS, homebound people, bedridden people, natural healing, and many other areas.

Home Nurses & Doctors

Both Medicare and Medicaid may provide home visits from doctors. Some other insurance programs will also pay for this service. As you may have figured out, it is not that easy to find a doctor who will come to your house! Here are some ideas for: How to Find a Nurse or Doctor who Can Come to Your House

Groceries

More and more options for home delivery keep popping up every day: How to Shop Without Standing Up. If you have Food Stamps, options are not as great, but possible in a few places: How to Get Groceries Delivered with SNAP Food Stamps

Transportation

If you are able to leave your house a little, but cannot manage public transportation some areas have para-transit programs that are free or low cost and will come to your front door and take you to any location. How to Apply for Paratransit. Also see options for: How to Get Free Transportation to the Doctor

Disability

If you are on disability check out: Everything No One Ever Tells You About Living on Disability. If you are not on disability (and want to be) check out: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability

Affordable Housing

HUD has housing dedicated to people who are elderly and/or disabled. In many cases, you can apply even if you are young. Quality varies, but some readers here have found housing that is safe, nice, disability accessible and super affordable this way: How to Find Yourself a Nice, Affordable HUD Apartment (for People with Disabilities)

Find Your People

Where do homebound people meet other homebound people? 26 Great Facebook Groups (Plus a Few Other Things)

Social Change

This is an important time for people with disabilities to be included. You can vote at home by absentee ballotYou can also make your voice heard. You do not have to leave the house, or even leave your bed! How to #Resist Without Using All Your Spoons.

Local Resources

Many areas have local organizations and groups that assist people in need. Your local area agency on aging (call here even if you are young). Also try contacting your Aging and Disability Resource Center (in some areas this is the same as the area agency on aging). You can also try contacting Centers for Independent Living in your area.

For People with ME or “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”

Ways to conserve energy, avoid crashes and feel better by doing less: How To Save Spoons. Facebook group for people who are homebound or bedridden, and their caregivers: 25% of ME. Global, grassroots network for people with ME and CFS. Participate from home: #MEAction

More Tips!

Tips from readers on how to make life easier at home: How to Get the World to Come to You

Bradley Simmonds has created this list of Activities for Housebound People.

Sarah Stanton has a created this great Severe ME Bedbound Activity Masterlist


Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: 

18 thoughts on “How to Be Homebound”

  1. Thank you for all the great resources! I use your site often. On of your articles or links mentioned an app to lower the master volume of a phone but I can’t find it again. Do you remember what it is?

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  2. You’ve covered so many areas of living here but what about caring for children? I became disabled (mostly bedridden) as an adult and have two young children who I’m unable to take care of. I was able to get my states childcare subsidy but that still leaves a lot of time they’re at home. I’m looking into an au pair as the most affordable live-in option but I don’t know if I will be able to afford this. My children are suffering and I will probably have to give them away if I don’t find help soon. Any suggestions? Thanks for all you do.

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  3. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into providing this information. My mom was diagnosed with a pineal germ cell brain tumor on Dec. 15th. It is the reality that at some point in the near future she will be home bound a good portion of time as I will be caring for her alongside a new baby, toddler, teens, my mother in law etc. We have one car for my husband and I to share and it’s not rare that I myself are home bound 5 or 6 days of the week since my husband works so much. I look forward to seeing how to support my mom during this time as well as myself and not have to rely on running around like a crazy person on my husband ‘s one day off to get everything done that we think requires us to leave the house but in reality there may be a way to handle it online or via mail and I just didn’t know about how it works. I appreciate your work. Thank you again.

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  4. In case anyone needs entertainment–I just wanted to remind everyone that many libraries offer books-by-mail programs because I LOVE mine.

    My library used to say it was for elderly people and they’d pick a few books for you from a local branch, but after I explained my situation (young disabled person, fluctuating health, want to pick my own books) they set it up so I can check out materials in person or by mail with free postage, get extra bags sent in case I get very sick and need to return a book from home, get DVDs, giant textbooks, or even rare, antique books via interlibrary loan by mail, etc. I have them send me the library book club book early every month just in case I can make it that week (unlikely, lol).

    Their website now says it’s for “any resident who has a disability, illness or lack of transportation that prevents access to a branch.” Highly recommend seeing if your library has one.

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    1. Libraries are great and most also offer instant download ebooks and audiobooks through the OverDrive or Libby apps.

      If you have visual or physical issues that prevent reading text in book or ebook form, you can sign up to the Library of Congress program for the blind to get free access to every book or audiobook ever published. They also loan devices like tablets, brail machines, even assistive pillows and such. You have to have a doctor sign their form and sign up through your state’s program.

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  5. I truly appreciate the information you have provided. I am working on informational materials for first responders on how to assist individuals with disabilities during an emergency. I just happen to stumble on to this website. In this field we seldom include the right planning partners so I cherish your ideas and insights. Thank you.

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  6. I run an onlinet group and I directed a house bound patient to this website. My deepest thanks for your work. It may have saved her life. We offer support but I can’t do it all

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  7. Thank you for the info. I absolutely love this website. It’s been helping me a lot for info on disability. I have so many pages saved

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