Community Blog

The Link Between Shoes and Falls in Seniors

By Ketan Shah

If you are a caregiver for an aging loved one, or if you have hired a senior care aide, you might have accepted that a fall will be an inevitable part of your loved one’s life. You have heard that the elderly are more prone to falling, and you have seen all the commercials for Life Alert that make it seem like falling is something that happens to seniors more often than not.

While many seniors really are at a higher risk for falling, these falls do not have to be inevitable. Falls don’t just happen on their own, there is always a cause (and that cause is not “my mom is old”). The causes can range from something as complex as an underlying medical condition to something as simple as a poor choice in shoes. The latter is what we are going to focus on now, because this is something that can easily be remedied.

If you are a woman, you might be familiar with the balance challenges that come with wearing high heels. The higher the heel, the higher the risk of twisting your ankle, so you have to be careful. What you might not realize, though, is that other shoes can be just as dangerous.

Take house slippers, for example. These slip-on, usually fluffy footwear are not made to be form-fitting, they are made to slip on and off easily when one is getting up from bed to shuffle around the house. Their soles are usually slick, or at the very least have no grip, and the fact that they don’t fit snugly means that the wearer can’t take normal steps in them. They basically just drag their slick-soled feet across the floor, which is just asking for a slip and fall accident.

Many elderly men and woman prefer this type of shoe due to their comfort, but these shoes are not safe for long-term use. A better choice would be sneakers, which have thicker soles that grip the floor and help one maintain their traction and balance. They even make special shoes for seniors with non-slip soles, which take a large portion of the risk out of walking.

If that doesn’t sound like your senior’s cup of tea, don’t worry, there is another option. If your aging mother or father just doesn’t want to give up their slippers, they don’t have to. If you check online and in retail stores, there are specially designed slippers made to stay on a senior’s foot and prevent falls. They have non-skid soles, and they have straps around the top of the foot, as well as a back portion of the shoe that keeps the foot from sliding out. These shoes stay snugly and securely on the foot, while still allowing the senior to enjoy the comfort of slippers.

If your aging loved one is at risk for a fall, you or your senior care aide should try to convince them to try out a different type of shoe. In many cases, that’s all that is necessary to prevent another fall in the future!

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care in Santa Clara, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.