No one wants sore feet. Everyone needs sensible shoes. Especially people over 65. If you are caring for an elderly parent or other relative, finding him the right shoes is important.
Old feet get injured more easily
Humans are born with a quantum of fat at the bottom of our feet which keeps a spring in our steps up to about the age of sixty. As people age, however, this important fat cushion diminishes. This may be especially true for seniors who have lost weight due to dieting or because of lost appetite. Caregivers need to understand that is why people over 65 so often complain about hurt feet.
Foot health issues become more common in old age. Plantar Fasciitis, corns, and bunions can cause pain which leads to reduced mobility. Old feet are more prone to swelling, especially if the senior is diabetic or takes medications that cause water retention. Being obese or overweight can worsen these conditions.
What kinds of shoes do seniors need?
Unless a senior is actually running, he or she may not need a running shoe so much as a walking shoe. Caregivers should know that walking shoes are differently constructed. The flexibility is in the front of the shoe because walkers propel themselves, in large part, with the toes and forward pads of their feet.
Some considerations for choosing a walking shoe are:
Memory foam inner soles–This new shoe technology is a life saver because it compensates for the loss of fat on the sole of the foot. And, yes, it’s the same material they use to make super comfortable mattresses. So it’s like having mini-mattresses on the bottom of your feet. Heaven.
Laces or pull-ons–If your senior struggles to tie laces, pull on shoes might be the better choice. However, slip-ons tend to let go of the walker’s heel, so you may have to do some trial and error to find a pair that is neither too tight nor slipping off.
Shoe weight–In general, heavier shoes can stand up to more abuse. If your senior is going to be walking in the woods or on uneven surfaces like gravel, he may need a really solid platform. If he is going to be walking on very smooth sidewalks, a lightweight shoe is easier to walk in.
Choose the right trainers
Ideally, your senior is doing some kind of strength or resistance exercise which involves small hand weights or rubber bands or wearable weights. For this kind of exercise, many fitness experts recommend shoes called “trainers.”
Trainers are flatter and more solid from heel to toe than walking shoes. With two sets of the right shoes, your senior will transition from walking shoes to trainers when working out and from trainers to walking shoes when walking, especially outside the house.
In brief, helping your senior choose some really good shoes that suit her lifestyle is one of the kindest things caregivers can do. Home care professionals can help you with this by making shoe recommendations, shopping for shoes with your senior, and reminding your senior which shoes are suitable for which activities.