Safe Footwear for Seniors
As an aged care physiotherapist, we often come across a question about what’s the best shoe for my mum or dad? Well, I would like to touch base on few points as to what to look for while getting a new footwear for the elderly. Because many elderly people wear sub-optimal shoes, a good footwear reduces the falls risk in elderly people significantly. As an impaired balance and mobility is quite common in the elderly, finding that better fitting shoe becomes more so important. Usually the residents in residential aged care facilities prefer to wear slippers as they are easy to put on and made of soft and stretchable material. So, let’s have a look at a prototype of a safe shoe below.
What Makes A Shoe Safe?
There are certain features you should look for in a shoe that makes it “safe” – reduces falls risk.
- Heel (upper) – A firm heel collar to provide stability
- Laces – Laces to ensure the shoe holds onto the foot while walking
- Heel (bottom) – A bevelled heel to prevent slipping and a broad flared heel to maximize contact with the ground
- Sole – A textured sole to prevent slipping
- Midsole – A thin firm midsole so the wearer can feel the ground underneath.
It’s also important to consider the surface on which the elderly are going to walk on regularly like ”For instance, bulky rubber soles worn on carpet can be hazardous while athletic shoes that are flat or worn are dangerous on wet surfaces. Also, avoid wearing shoes that are too loose and too wide. It is necessary to keep a check on the wear and tear of the footwear as worn out shoes are the most common cause of fall in elderly. There are many footwear companies across Victoria who offer custom made footwear for the seniors according to their medical condition while maintaining the safety and stability at the same time. Many of the companies are also happy to organise shoe fitting sessions at aged care facilities so that residents and their families don’t have to go too far to find the best fitting footwear for their loved ones. If you are in doubt about what to choose for your Mum or Dad, you can always chat to one of our friendly aged care physios who can guide you in the right direction.
Nakul Pisolkar – Revita Aged Care Physiotherapist