How to Be Homebound

Artwork: Elizabeth D’Angelo

I have been homebound for many years, and for almost all of them I had no idea that there were programs out there that could help. If you are housebound, or bedridden, or have difficulty leaving your home, please take a look and see if there is there is something out there for you. You do not need to be on disability to apply for most of these programs.

Home Meals

Many areas have meals-on-wheels or similar programs that deliver meals to you. These programs will often be free or low cost. Even if the program says it is for Seniors, you should still call them. Sometimes they will deliver to 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.

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

Home Aides and Caregivers

There are a variety of programs that provide services in the home. Many programs are free, but you would need to meet certain criteria to qualify. Caregiving services may include personal care (bathing, eating, dressing), household help (shopping, cooking, cleaning), medication management, driving to doctor’s appointments, and mental health support. Learn more.

If You Already Have a Caregiver

If you have a formal paid caregiver, or an informal friend who helps you, here’s a few things that you may not know that may really help you out: Read this if you have a Live-In Caregiver and read this if you have a caregiver funded through a Medicaid Waiver program (may also be called IHSS or Home and Community Care)

Don’t Ask Your Doctor

Many people start looking for help by asking their doctors. This is not bad to do, but it is often a dead end. Doctors are not Social Workers and usually do not know what is available or how to help you qualify. Find out for yourself, then bring your the doctor forms to sign, and explain to your doctor how the program works.

Finding the Best People to Live With

When you are homebound, the people in your house matter a LOT. Those are the only people you see! Here’s How to Find Wonderful Housemates & Caregivers

Wheelchairs, Scooters or Medical Equipment

Common types of medical equipment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related conditions: Shower chairs, manual wheelchairs, electric wheel chairs, walkers, canes, mobility scooters, hospital beds, toilet rails, bath tub safety frames, bath tub lifts, bed pans, 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 Home Modifications

Disability Accommodations

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


So many people wrote me with good ideas for grocery shopping, I had to create a new page! How to Shop Without Standing Up

Door-To-Door Transportation

If you are able to leave your house a little, but cannot manage public transportation, most cities, and some rural areas, have para-transit programs that will take you anywhere. Many will go anywhere in your city, and sometimes they will travel to other areas. These programs are free or low-cost. In some areas, these programs are difficult to qualify for and in other areas they are very easy to get into. Contact the public transportation agency in your area. How Roselyn Got Approved for Paratransit by Using the Magic Words

Rides to Doctors (Medicaid)

Medicaid may be able to provide free transportation to all your doctor’s appointments. Contact your Medicaid provider for more details. In some areas, you will need to apply for this and it may be more difficult to get. In other areas, you do not need to apply and if you are on Medicaid, you can get this automatically.


If you are on disability check out: Everything No One Ever Tells You About Living on Social Security Disability

If you are not on disability check out: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability

Disability Accessible Housing

HUD Section 8 has housing dedicated to people who are elderly or disabled. You can apply even if you are young. Quality varies, but some readers here have found housing that is safe, clean, nice, quiet, disability accessible and super affordable this way: How to Find Yourself a Nice, Affordable HUD Apartment (for People with Disabilities)

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

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

Social Change

This is an important time for people with disabilities to be included. You can vote at home by absentee ballot.

You 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.

Online Connection

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

If you are in a Medicaid home care program, or considering applying: Facebook Groups for Medicaid Home Care

If you are interested in connected with other advocates with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, there are many ways to get involved from home: How to be Part of the #MEAction

Local Resources

Many areas have local organizations and groups that assist people in need. Your local area agency on aging can be a great resource (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, or directly reaching out to senior centers, religious groups, and local charity groups.

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

Tips from the Pros

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

Updated February 2018. 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: 

12 thoughts on “How to Be Homebound”

  1. 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.


  2. 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.


  3. 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.


  4. 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


  5. 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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