Falls are the #1 cause of injuries in seniors and a serious public health issue in Canada. As per the CDC, millions of older adults fall each year. In fact, it is believed one in four seniors over the age of 65 experience a fall but less than half of these falls are ever reported.
Falls can result in serious bodily injuries and can even cause mental trauma. Seniors also fall due to various reasons, such as an accident or medical conditions that can make them more susceptible to falls.
So, how can shoes help seniors protect against falls? Well, shoes can actually play a vital role in helping limit falls. The right shoes can provide just the right amount of traction, comfort, and grip to keep seniors from slipping, tripping, or falling. Let’s find out more!
How Improper Shoes Increase The Risk Of Falls?
Shoes serve a purpose beyond just making a fashion statement or completing an ensemble. A fall can be caused or avoided often by the type of shoes one might be wearing. Our feet lose their natural padding in the ball and heel as we get older. Arches might become stiffer and flatter. As we grow older our feet also get longer and wider. The shoes that were a wonderful fit ten years ago might not be such a perfect fit anymore. Three out of four seniors reportedly wear shoes that are too small, which increases their fall risk.
According to the Health in Aging Foundation , three out of four seniors reportedly wear shoes that are too small.
To keep us balanced while we walk, our feet are designed to flex and expand. Any inadequate movement will be hampered by an excessively tight shoe. Floppy slippers, high heels, loose shoes, shoes with laces, and slick-soled shoes all increase the risk of falling.
Best Shoes For The Elderly To Prevent Falls
The best shoes for seniors to help prevent falls should have at least the following features:
- Soft insulation
- Support arches
- Grippy nonskid soles
- Comfortable fit
- Moisture resistant
- No laces, Velcro or other easy to fasten options
- Sturdy and supportive
These features are important in preventing falls and reducing fall risk. In addition, seniors should pay attention to the size and fit of the shoe, especially if they have narrow or deep feet, or if they have any foot problems. Orthotics may also be required for some people to provide additional stability and support to the persons gait.
Whatever your age, wearing the right shoes can not only provide comfort and confidence when walking and moving about but also help protect against falls. As such, the top four shoe categories that every senior should own are as follows:
Walking Shoes For Seniors
One of the simplest types of exercise is walking, regardless of physical fitness level. A comfortable pair of walking shoes might mean the difference between taking a stroll in the afternoon and returning home with sore feet.
Seniors should wear walking shoes with non-slip rubber soles. The shoe ought to be lightweight and simple to put on.
Walking shoes must also comfortably and securely fit the foot. The optimum fit will be achieved with shoes that have adjustable straps or are tailored for a custom fit.
Seniors may avoid physical activity during winter months out of concern for slipping on ice or snow. The likelihood of falls and injuries occurring during the winter is significantly higher than in other months of the year, especially, here in Canada.
However, with the proper footwear seniors don’t need to remain inside the confines of their homes. Easy-to-put-on high-top shoes or boots with rubber soles make walking safer on snow and ice.
Due to the severe cold that is experienced throughout Canada in the winter months, it is also always best to get winter footwear that offers sufficient moisture protection and warmth.
A person’s balance can easily be affected by cold and wet feet. Not to mention the chances of hypothermia also vastly increases if one has wet feet in the cold.
Casual Beach Wear Sandals
Seniors should always look to take advantage of Canada’s brief but warm summer months. This is the time when seniors can stay outdoors and enjoy some much-needed activities after the colder winter months.
Whether they plan on spending time at the beach or camping out, it is essential to opt for footwear that allows one’s feet to be kept steady and balanced, especially, when walking on sand and other tricky surfaces.
The best footwear for casual indoor and outdoor use are sandals that provide good grip and support, and are slip-resistant. Look for sandals that have adjustable straps or can accommodate orthotics to provide additional stability and support.
These sandals also come with a hard rubber sole that offers plenty of grip on almost any surface.
Seniors should avoid wearing slip-on sandals or floppy slippers when inside or outside their homes or care facility.
Non-Slip House Shoes
The thought of falling is a very real fear for most seniors who live on their own at home. This can impact their daily activities and make them more resistant to going out for walks or doing exercise.
However, staying at home doesn’t mean you can’t fall. In fact, most falls are reported indoors as opposed to outdoors.
As such, it is essential that seniors have non-slip house shoes on at all times when at home. No matter how attached your loved one may be to their footwear, it is time to bid farewell to worn-in loose-fitting slippers or walking around indoors with socks on.
Most falls, in the home, occur on the stairs, in the bathroom, and in the kitchen. This is why it is essential to have the right footwear on when walking indoors.
Indoor footwear can be soft, cozy, and simple to put on. But above all, they must be comfortable to wear and feature a non-slip sole.
Sneakers, loafers, flats, wedges, and oxfords can also be suitable options for seniors, as long as they have slip-resistant soles, are comfortable and well-fitted, and provide adequate support and cushioning. Look for shoes that have orthopedic features like deep and shallow heel for proper fit, heel-stiffening straps to provide support and prevent slippage and stable heel design to prevent ankle rolls.
What Else Can Seniors Do To Protect Against Falls?
The basis of a secure, active, and healthy lifestyle includes covering the basics, such as having the right footwear.
Today, there are plenty of options when it comes to shoes that can help prevent falls and keep seniors on their feet - busy, energetic, and independent.
However, there is plenty more that one can do to ensure that seniors have the best protection possible against unforeseen falls or accidents.
Visit Northwood Intouch to learn more about how our range of products can help seniors live safely in the comfort of their own homes!