As people get older, their bones and muscles weaken. This often makes it difficult for them to keep their balance while walking. Other factors affect walking in seniors. A few examples are arthritis, the reduced ability to focus on multiple activities at the same time, and even blurred vision. Unfortunately, these problems can result in falls. Falls which lead to injuries many of which are serious and life-threatening.
It is impossible to eliminate every single reason for a fall. Simple steps though can help significantly increase the chances of preventing falls. According to recent studies, regular foot and ankle exercises by the elderly improve safety while walking. Wearing the right footwear at all times also plays an important role. Choosing the right shoes greatly reduces the chances of falls among the elderly.
In this article, we will look at how to choose the best shoes for the elderly to prevent falls. And, also that will help them them walk in comfort and safety.
One of the biggest risks faced by seniors is being injured in a fall while walking. Seniors often get bruises, broken bones and even head injuries as a result of a simple fall. One common reason for the increased falls among seniors is the reduced sensation in their feet. Normal sensation usually allows us to know when we are off-balance and so we correct ourselves. Many elderly people though have poor feeling in the feet and also common problems like arthritis, foot pain, weakened muscles and flat feet. These problems with the feet very easily throw the elderly off balance. And, sometimes, a fall is the result.
The proper shoes though help seniors improve their security while walking. They do this by improving balance and stability. In most cases, such shoes will have a non-slip sole to maintain contact with the ground. They may also be fitted with a good orthopedic insert. These inserts offer ergonomic support to the feet and ankle without being uncomfortable. They are usually worn for several hours or even all day. Other key features of safe shoes for seniors is that they must be comfortable and easy to wear. If not, seniors will not wear them. Or they will fidget around trying to wear them everyday.
Research, and common sense, clearly indicates that with the right shoes, elderly people can significantly reduce the chances of falling down and harming themselves.
No shoes are 100% fall-proof. But, there are several factors that can make a shoe less likely to cause a fall. Compare these to their other shoes. When choosing safe shoes for the elderly, consider these points:
The most crucial feature to look for when choosing shoes for the elderly is a hard, slip-resistant sole. The sole must firmly grip the surface, even in wet, slippery conditions. A rugged, rough bottom will provide the right amount of grip while walking. Soles should also be shock-absorbing and light. This gives a softer impact on the ankles and the heels.
Safe shoes for seniors are also comfortable. They should not increase pain in the feet or lower legs. This is really important for people with blisters or tender skin conditions. The shoe's material's should allow the feet to breathe. This helps reduce irritation or itching due to heat. This is very important for people who wear their shoes for a long time.
Bad fitting and worn-out shoes, flip-flops or shoes without a support for the back and the ankles (like some slippers) increase the risk of falls. These shoes tend to come loose. Seniors should wear well fitting shoes. They should have a high back to give the ankle and heel lots of support.
Shoes are available in different toe-widths. Seniors should generally wear broader shoes which allow better stability. Also, people with broad feet will feel comfortable with shoes that have a wider, boxy front. Rounded, closed fronts are tighter and more restricting. This will give their toes enough wiggle space in the front. And, they will not be cramped up in a small space all day.
Shoes with heels thicker than one inch can make the foot unstable. This may twist the ankle resulting in a fall. The heel, if any, should be less than an inch thick.
Shoes worn by the elderly should have a wide opening. This makes getting the feet in and out of the shoe easier. This is especially good for people who suffer from swelling of the feet or restricted mobility. Wide mouthed shoes are also a bit more roomier and comfortable than regular shoes. They also allow for a little swelling.
Most seniors like simple lives. When choosing a pair of shoes, try and buy shoes that are stain-proof, dark colored and easy to wipe clean. This will save a lot of time and energy. There is no reason for seniors to spend time in unnecessary cleaning of their shoes.
Many seniors have a difficult time bending over to tie their shoelaces. This could also cause a loss of balance. Untied or loose shoelaces can also cause seniors to trip unexpectedly. A better option are Velcro closure shoes. These are easy to open and close. They can be put on and taken off with minimal energy. And, no bending! Shoes with velcro closures also stay closed longer. They also don't need as much adjustment thtoughout the day.
Soft, padded shoes will form a good, secure fit. They will also prevent bruising and abrasions caused by constant friction. This friction is usually felt at the back of the feet and the top of the foot. Such shoes are practical for elderly people with diabetes or swollen feet.
Well, those are my general suggestions on what seniors should look for when buying the best shoes to prevent a fall. I also recommend that older people should discuss their optons with a doctor or podiatrist. This is especially important for people with diabetes.
There are a wide range of options when in comes to safe shoes for seniors. It is important to research the options. This will reduce any confusion about what are the best shoes for preventing falls. Here are a few of the best options I found for safer shoes for seniors and will reduce the chance of falls.
Here are my selected recommendations for shoes for senior men that will reduce the chance of falls.
While choosing the right footwear is crucial to reducing the chances of falls, it is also important to follow a simple foot care routine to reduce pain and can further help to increase stability while walking. These include :
When looking for the best shoes for elderly to prevent falls, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. You want to find a shoe that supports the foot. But, it also has to give enough to allow for swelling. The shoe should be able to adjust its fit throughout the day.
To reduce the chance of falling, it is also important to find a shoe that is easy to take on and off. But, it also needs to stay securely fastened. If the elderly person wearing the shoe has to keep bending over to tie a shoe, that is an opportunity for a fall.
Tell me about your experiences buying a shoe that is safer for the elderly. Do you have a particular shoe you recommend? What features were most important to you. Please share in the comments below.
I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.
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