How To Transfer the Elderly Into a Wheelchair


The strength of the wheelchair user will determine the method in which they are transferred to a wheelchair. The methods described are also suited for elderly caregivers as they adhere to a “no-lift policy” which means there is strictly no lifting the wheelchair user for wheelchair transfers. 

To help categorise the elderly you are working with, you can read our blog on Choosing a Reclining Wheelchair for a Stroke Patient that describes the levels of physical abilities. 

How to move the elderly who can’t walk from the bed to the wheelchair 

Using a shift belt to help transfer the elderly into a wheelchair means they can save their strength from not having to walk. Source:  KARMA Medical Taiwan; KARMA Academy

  1. Ensure that the brakes are activated and the footrests are flipped up and swung away. 
  2. Angle the wheelchair at a 45° from the bed on the strongest side of the wheelchair user.
  3. Assist the user off of the bed by leaning them forward, with the help of a shift belt. Have the elderly use their stronger side to support themselves on the wheelchair armrest. 
  4. Once sat in the wheelchair, use the shift belt to position them correctly. 

How to move the elderly who can’t stand from the bed to the wheelchair

When transferring a person who cannot walk from a bed to a wheelchair, it is essential to use a shifting board and a wheelchair with armrests that can be flipped back.

A shifting board will allow elderly wheelchair users who can’t stand to transfer to the wheelchair with ease. Source:  KARMA Medical Taiwan; KARMA Academy

  1. Ideally, the bed and the wheelchair should be the same height. 
  2. Have the elderly’s stronger side close to the side of the wheelchair so they can support themselves whilst shuffling to the wheelchair. 
  3. The carer should be there to support the elderly in case they fall, their dominant leg closest to the wheelchair. If it’s necessary the elderly can also lean on the carer when transferring.

We’re here to help

The methods described in this blog are designed to accommodate the different levels of wheelchair user. We don’t want to encourage those who cannot stand to stand-up in order to transfer into a wheelchair. Instead, we designed a wheelchair with features that will aid wheelchair transfer and a method suitable for users and carers alike. KARMA Malaysia is always here to assist. Talk to a KARMA representative today! 

Call us: 03-5612 1921 / 010 – 238 1921

Email us: [email protected]