Owners' Blog

Are Your Parent's Shoes Putting Them at Greater Risk of Suffering a Fall?

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

Elderly Care in Roswell GA

You already understand how important it is to manage fall risk for your aging parent. Falls are a leading cause of traumatic injury for elderly adults, and can dramatically decrease quality of life and health while increasing the chance of mortality. There are many ways that you can help to reduce your parent's fall risk or that they can keep themselves safer and healthier with the help of an elderly care provider. These include modifications to the home, transferring assistance, modifying medications with the help of their doctor, and others. One that you may not have immediately considered, however, is the shoes that your parent chooses to wear. 

When most family caregivers consider fall risk and what they can do to help protect their parent from the potentially devastating injuries that can occur due to a serious fall, the first things that come to mind are the external influences that impact this risk. These are those factors that are in your parent's environment, such as having a stair lift so that they do not have to climb or go down the stairs frequently, or installing grab bars so that they can feel more confident when walking through a space or getting into and out of the bath. While these are highly effective, they are meant to manage outside causes of falls. The footwear that your parent chooses, however, is a potential risk factor that actually moves with your parent, putting them at higher risk no matter where they are.

Some of the ways that you can help ensure that your parent's shoes are not putting them at greater risk of suffering a fall include:

• Well-fitting shoes. It is important that shoes fit properly in order to move comfortably with your foot. Shoes that are too loose may require that your parent hold them on with their toes, compromising their gait. They can also become a tripping or slipping hazard. Shoes that are too tight are uncomfortable and prevent the foot from moving through the stages of a step smoothly and easily.

• Good condition. Even if a shoe used to fit well, if it has gotten old and worn and is now in poor condition, this benefit is gone. Shoes that are worn out and tattered, a common feature of house shoes or slippers, pose a slipping and tripping hazard due to the damaged parts of the shoe. These parts can get under your parent's feet or can catch on objects in their path, increasing the chance that your parent will suffer a fall.

• Grip. Shoes that have a slick bottom increase the risk of falls. Look for shoes that have a strong grip in the form of a texturized rubber bottom. This tread creates strong traction on the floor like the tires on a car, giving your parent greater control and helping to reduce the chances of slipping and sliding. This is especially important during potentially dangerous conditions such as rain when the traction with the floor is naturally decreased.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elderly care in Roswell, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.