Caregiver tying elderly man's shoesIf you’re one of the millions of Americans serving as a primary or part-time caregiver for a parent or other aging friend or relative, you’re no doubt used to helping mom or dad run errands, get to and from the doctor’s office, and attend to their daily care. One thing you may not know much about is how to take them shoe shopping and get a good pair of shoes that won’t hurt their feet and helps them stay balanced.

Here are some tips to help ensure parents get the right fit:

  • Measure every time. It doesn’t matter if mom has worn a size 7 for 70 years—she still has to get measured. Feet widen and flatten over time due to the conspiring forces of weight and gravity, so what fit last time isn’t necessarily going to fit this time.
  • Go in the evening. A day of walking and activity causes feet to swell slightly. Fitting shoes when feet are at their largest ensures that the shoe will fit throughout the course of the day, at any size.
  • Think about traction. Soles made of materials like leather or plastic are more likely to slip, especially on wet or hard surfaces. On the other hand, heavy rubber soles can be a tripping hazard on thick carpet if they stick and grip too well. Ordinary rubber-soled walking shoes tend to be the best performing overall, but consider your situation. Since we’re in Pennsylvania, you’re sure to need some sturdy winter boots, too.
  • Be skeptical of slippers. We know they’re comfy, but slippers generally provide poor arch support, not much traction, and are often far too loose. If balance is an issue for mom or dad, they can be a fall hazard.
  • Look for Velcro if it’s available. Strong hook-and-loop fastened shoes are often a good choice for seniors, since they’re easier to adjust for swelling feet or accommodating inserts.
  • Bring mom or dad in for a podiatry checkup if they haven’t been in a while. If you really want peace of mind, make sure your parent is seeing a foot specialist to address any concerns and screen for emerging issues. If mom or dad needs diabetic shoes, custom orthotics or prefabricated inserts, a balance brace, fall prevention screening, or other care, we’ll be sure that they get it.

For more shoe shopping tips, and to schedule an appointment for you and your parent with the best foot and ankle team in Central Pennsylvania, call Martin Foot and Ankle at (717) 757-3537.

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