Good Shoe Choices For Aging Seniors
As you age, it is so important to have shoes that are appropriate. Maybe some are able to wear all kinds of heels still, but probably not too many.
One of the most common injuries is a broken hip from a fall. Aging brings with it brittle bones. Those bones break more easily. With heels you risk ankle injuries as well as those that may occur from a fall. Depending on the age of the person, a broken hip can be a bump in the road, but sometimes it can begin faster deterioration. I’ve seen both. Quite often it means a wheel chair too which naturally lessens mobility which can mean the body weakens in general.
My mother is in a memory care facility. She is 96 years old. Thankfully, most of the time she realizes she is unable to get up from a seated position without help. Or at least she doesn’t try it. Many do try though, which is often a cause for a fall. Whether in their own home or in a facility, it takes only seconds for someone to fall. It is not lack of care. A person with Alzheimer’s can be especially at risk, because they don’t remember that a few seconds ago you explained to them why they shouldn’t get up. They just do it.
Enough on the whys of it.
For any aging person, it is harder to bend down, to stay down long enough to tie shoes (sometimes), and get back up. Their balance is also not as stable, which makes it easier for them to slip and slide.
The first thing recommended is a shoe with a good sole, with some kind of traction. Not the smooth bottoms you find on many flats and mens dress shoes. You don’t want it so thick that it jams up on carpet, but enough so when they put their foot down it won’t slide. Yet you won’t want something so non-skid that it catches on the carpet.
Easy on and off
The second suggestion I would have is for easy on and off, at least for some shoes. Velcro fasteners, stretchy tops, styles that make it easy. Some do well with backless shoes and slippers, but I would worry they might slip out of them and lose their balance.
Check the fit
Remember to check the fit of their shoes too. We found mom’s shoe size has increased a full size. Hopefully her shoes had stretched out and weren’t hurting her feet. She never complained, but new shoes in the same size were way too small. Comfort for her is the most important thing to me, so it took a few tries to get the right shoes.
I’m including some of my favorites for Mom. The velcro fastenings are a benefit if shoelaces frequently come untied. That avoids tripping on the laces and having to bend over to re-tie the shoes. The Mary Jane style for women is cute. All should be as easy as possible to get on and off.
That is another thing I like about the “go-walks…” by Sketcher. Not only are the soles super cushiony and comfortable, but they have a simple small hole in the heel that makes putting them on a little easier. Plus they come in a good—and fun—color selection.
New Balance has been a long time favorite because of their variety of styles and widths. Many of the popular shoes today don’t come in wide or narrow sizes. For a good fit, that might be important.
One other thing I will mention in case the one you are buying for has any foot issues. If you check with the doctor, Medicare will often pay for one pair of shoes a year for specific foot issues. I believe it is with a prescription, through certain vendors or online. I’m not sure of the variety available, but the ones I’ve seen look similar to the men’s shoes here, walking shoe in style. There may be other styles available too. These shoes can be somewhat more expensive than your basic walking shoe, so it’s good information to be aware of should you have the need.