The Use of Mobility Devices Among Institutionalized Older Adults

Objectives: The purpose of this article is to examine the demographic, health, and social characteristics of mobility device users in long-term care settings. Methods: Data were used from a recently institutionalized sample of older adults from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine the factors associated with the use of different mobility devices (cane, walker, or wheelchair). Results: Over 70% used mobility aids (over 50% used a wheelchair). Mobility limitations were strongly associated with the use of mobility devices. However, among those with mobility limitations, educational resources reduced the odds of wheelchair use. Conclusions: Consistent with findings from the community setting, need factors are strongly associated with the use of mobility aids in institutions. However, socioeconomic resources may provide older adults with alternate ways to manage mobility limitations in institutional settings.