Can the Wrong Shoes Cause a Fall?
77-year-old Eleanor was out for a walk when she suffered a nasty fall. Fortunately, she didn’t break any bones, but she did have some painful bruises and scrapes. Eleanor was in good health and exercised three days each week. Other than her age, she didn’t seem to be a likely candidate for a fall. After eliminating possible medical causes for the fall, Eleanor’s doctor asked her about the shoes she was wearing at the time. Eleanor had been wearing her favorite pair of loafers, and it turns out they were the problem.

Eleanor is by far not the only senior to have suffered a fall because of the shoes they wore. Studies show that shoes are a major cause of falls in older adults. Yet, it’s not always a matter of wearing impractical shoes, like high heels. According to an article published in the New York Times, one study showed that “70 percent of the older people who fell had been wearing athletic shoes, oxfords or loafers, the kinds of shoes that are commonly considered sturdy and thus safer.” In some of these cases, the problem seemed to be catching the toe of the shoe on the floor or shoes that were too slippery. The researchers concluded that changing shoes could prevent future falls.

So, what should you look for when helping your aging relative choose shoes? Here are some tips that can help:
  • Avoid shoes with worn soles that could be slippery or throw off the senior’s gait.
  • Match the kind of shoes to the conditions the person will be walking in. For example, some athletic shoes may have great traction for a gym floor but could be slippery on wet surfaces.
  • Encourage the senior to walk in shoes before buying them. Don’t purchase the shoes if the heels slip. 
  • Shoes with laces and Velcro fasteners can ensure a better fit since they can be adjusted for a better fit.
  • Avoid shoes that are too heavy since they can make it harder for the older adult to lift their foot.
Senior care providers can assist your older family member to choose shoes that are appropriate to the event and weather conditions. Senior care providers can ensure the shoes the older adult puts on have good traction if the surfaces they will be walking on are slippery. Senior care providers can also watch for shoes that are wearing out. When the older adult needs new shoes, the senior care provider can drive them to a shoe store that will help them find the proper fit.

Sources
https://preventfalls.ca/older-adults/footwear/
https://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/24/science/when-the-elderly-fall-shoes-may-be-to-blame.html
http://www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/258536/Falls-Prevention-Foot-Care-and-Footwear.pdf

If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Sandy, UT, contact the caring staff at Interim Healthcare. Call today 801-401-3515.

Author: Michael and Marlena Hawkins, Owners, Interim HealthCare, Salt Lake City, UT 

Interim HealthCare of Salt Lake City has been in business since February 2014, providing in-home personal care and support services that help our elderly and/or disabled neighbors live enriched, safe and independent lives. Our goal is to provide customized care and support services that make it possible for our clients to remain in the comfort of their own homes rather than relocate to an assisted living facility. Interim HealthCare is family owned by Michael and Marlana Hawkins, and is a Veteran Owned Small Business.

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