There are many misconceptions about what is the safest footwear for older adults. The fact is many of the qualities we think are important in a shoe can actually cause seniors problems. Research from the Foot and Ankle Center at the Orthopedic Hospital in L.A. found that all too often shoes that were considered “safer” were to blame for falls that caused injuries.
The study, led by director, Dr. Carol Frey, interviewed 185 men and women over 55 and discovered that the shoes worn by those 65 years and older were often to blame for their fall. They found “70 percent of the older people who fell had been wearing athletic shoes, oxfords or loafers,” and were considered to be sturdy, safe footwear.
The problem seemed to stem from the fact that bulky rubber soles worn on carpet can be hazardous as a shoe gets caught or dragged on the floor causing the person to trip. Flat-soled athletic shoes were found to be problematic as they become slippery on wet surfaces.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends seniors wear shoes with low heels, non-slip soles and completely surround the foot and to avoid loose or backless slippers or slip-on shoes, such as sling backs or flip flops. Seniors’ shoes should have a wide toe box, laces and a non-skid sole (avoid heavy lugged soles), and when shoes and socks are removed, your feet should not have any marks on them.
NIA says the best everyday footwear for seniors is a walking shoe with a light rubber sole that offers both traction and support. In addition avoid shoes with rubber toes as they can stick to carpet resulting in falls as well as shoes with worn out soles or smooth leather or plastic soles.
Our post is for information purposes only and not a substitute for seeking medical advice from your health care provider.
At MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care at Jordan, we represent the very best in senior living with our distinct mission statement of “to honor, to value, to invest.” We are dedicated to providing a true home for residents amidst a beautiful, serene setting and a foundation built on honoring God, valuing all seniors and selecting staff with a felt calling to serve. Please contact us to schedule a tour.