Posted by: Bert Copple | August 4, 2010

Barefoot seniors may be more prone to fall

Going barefoot in the home, or wearing slippers or socks with no shoes, may contribute to falls among the elderly, according to a new study from the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife.

Researchers found nearly 52 percent of the participants who reported a fall were either barefoot, wearing socks without shoes, or wearing slippers at the time of their fall. These people also reported more serious injuries, including fractures, sprains, dislocations, and pulled or torn muscles, ligaments or tendons, as a result of their fall.

Study participants underwent a comprehensive baseline falls assessment, including a home visit and clinic examination. During the assessment, they were asked what type of shoe they usually wear. Options included athletic shoes (sneakers), flat-sole canvas shoes, oxfords or other tied shoes, loafers, sandals, pumps, slippers, socks or stockings only, or barefoot. Participants were followed for an average of 27.5 months and were asked to record each day whether they had fallen; those reporting falls were asked about the shoes they were wearing when they fell.

Of those who reported falling, more than 18 percent were barefoot when they fell. Nearly 27 percent were wearing slippers and 7 percent were wearing socks only.

“On the basis of this and other studies,” says Dr. Marian T. Hannan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, “we suggest that advice about wearing shoes whenever possible be included in fall prevention programs. More research is needed on the design of acceptable and comfortable footwear that provides optimal safety for older people.”

This study is a definitive indicator that risks like this need to be assessed and taken into account when a senior lives alone at home, or even with someone else.  The best part is that Home Instead Senior Care, the most trusted in-home care company in the world, will do this assessment free of charge when we first become acquainted with you and your loved one and discuss a plan of care.  This assessment is useful because it can identify fall risks such as rugs, poor lighting and, as this article stated, improper footwear.  Our assessment even goes beyond this, taking extra special care to ensure your loved one is safe and taken care of.

Home Instead Senior Care will provide outstanding caregivers to help your loved one with personal care, incidental travel, companionship, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and even meal preparation. To learn more, call 248-203-2273 or visit www.homeinstead.com/283 . Home Instead Senior Care is the world’s trusted source of in-home non-commercial personal care and companionship for seniors. Each franchise is independently owned and operated. And remember, to us, it’s personal.

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