Owners' Blog

Caregiver Tips: National Flip Flop Day

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

Caregivers in Marrietta GA

As a family caregiver for your aging parent, you are always trying to find ways to make them safer, healthier, and more comfortable. There are many ways that you can do this, but sometimes thinking about major details such as making sure that they are wearing sunscreen whenever they are going to be out in the sun that you overlook seemingly smaller details. One such detail is what your parent is wearing on their feet. June 17 is National Flip Flop Day. While this day was created by a restaurant as a fun way to celebrate their customers, it is also a great opportunity for you to think more about your parent's summertime footwear and how to make shoe decisions that can help them to stay healthy, comfortable, and safe while they are enjoying the warm summer weather. 

Classic flip flops are completely flat, which means that they do not provide any form of support to the arch. This can be uncomfortable and even painful if your parent walks for an extended period. It also increases the risk that they will develop issues such as plantar fasciitis. It is better to look for shoes that provide adequate support and keep the foot in a naturally curved, lifted position.

Another issue with flip flops is that your parent must always keep their feet tensed when they are wearing theses shoes. Though it is not usually conscious, whenever you are wearing flip flops you are forced to grip with your toes to hold the shoe onto your foot. Over time this can cause pain and tension in the feet that is very uncomfortable. This gripping also means that if your parent is suffering from a bunion or from hammer toes, this gripping will make these conditions worse. This is particularly true if your parent wears these shoes frequently or on hard surfaces. This looseness also increases fall risk for your aging parent. This is especially true for seniors who have challenges with their gait, such as shuffling or unsure footing.

If your parent enjoys wearing flip flops frequently, the plastic piece between the toes can cause blisters or even open wounds. Because the shoes are open, these or any other cuts and scrapes on the feet are more vulnerable to infection.

This is not to say that there is no benefit to your parents slipping on their favorite pair of flip flops when the weather starts getting hot. Because these shoes allow full air circulation around the feet, they help to prevent and heal conditions such as toenail fungus or athlete's foot.

Flip flops are a great option for protecting your parent's feet if they are walking on the deck or near a pool, or if they will only be wearing them for a short time. If they are going to be walking for a longer period, however, or if they already suffer from foot conditions, it is better to choose sandals that still allow air circulation but that feature straps to hold the shoes to the feet, arch support, and do not have thongs between the toes.


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