When talking about fall prevention for aging adults, the discussion is often steered towards expensive or complicated stuff, such as setting up grab bars for the bathroom or installing a staircase lift. However, there are other, less expensive ways to improve a senior’s safety, for instance footwear especially designed for home use.
When quizzed in a study, 10% of the 756 elderly participants stated that they are either bare feet or wear slippers or socks while in their house. However, they don’t realize just how risky it is; despite being comfy and warm, normal socks and even slippers offer little to no slip-protection, inviting a scenario where an unsuspecting senior might slip on the polished kitchen floor. Wearing socks with special soles is one way to avoid such accidents from occurring.
How Non-Slip Socks Work
Non-skid socks are usually fuzzier than their regular counterparts, with a gripping rubbery sole. Seniors are often encouraged to pack sticky socks while staying in a hospital because they keep the feet warm, with the added benefit of allowing elderly patients to visit the bathroom without needing to bother fetching their slippers. Anti-slip socks come in many shapes and forms, and are just as beloved by children as adults.
However, many argue that non-slip socks still serve convenience more than safety. It’s no doubt that the rubbery sole has an edge over regular or compression socks, but it only improves stability in a marginal way.
Some researchers have even pointed out that you are better off barefoot than wearing any kind of sock, even non-skid ones. Bear in mind, though, that this research was conducted with healthy adults.
Socks vs Slippers
Comparing non-slip socks with slippers showed surprisingly little difference. Socks are more natural, while slippers protect the sole better against sturdy objects. In terms of skid resistance, however, the two fell into the same category.
The experts who conducted the first study stated that shoes – especially athletic sneakers – are way safer for seniors than any reinforced socks. Despite offering rubbery grips, non-slip socks still lack traction and support.
On the other hand, sneakers are designed to be an extension of our feet and people unconsciously adjust their balance and positioning. On top of all that the sole of a sneaker sticks to the ground considerably better than any sort of sock could hope to. In short, seniors who are afraid of falling should purchase a comfy sea of sneakers and wear them whenever possible.
Recommended Non-Skid Socks
Be prepared that there is a huge range available for non-slip socks, covering every possible age and gender. From funny, playful ones for children to warm foot protectors for hospitalized patients, there is a product for everyone. These three items, however, are definitely good choices for seniors.
Non Skid Hospital Socks
Pembrook Non Skid / Slip Socks
Burklett Adult Indoors Anti-Skid Winter Slipper Socks
The company designed its spotty sole grip based on the safety socks used in hospitals. There are six color variations (khaki, gray, navy, burgundy and purple), and customers can choose between packs of two, four and six. The socks stretch quite a good amount, and can be worn with shoes.
If a Fall Happens Anyway
As already pointed out, non-slip socks won’t completely negate the dangers of falling for aging adults, which is why concerned seniors might be better off wearing shoes or sneakers instead.
In any case, carelessness or an unfortunate event can still cause a dangerous situation. If an elderly person living alone falls, the chances are high that they would be unable to call for help on their own. For this the best safety net is to have a medical alert system that supports fall detection.
Help buttons fitted with delicate sensors and gyroscopes can measure the wearer’s balance and height, and prompt an automatic distress signal each time a drastic change in positioning or speed occurs.
The Best Medical Alert Systems of 2019
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Fall detection pendants are designed to overlook everyday activities and only call for help during a real emergency. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, and so equipping the house with an array of preventive measures – such as grab bars, non-skid rugs, or using a cane – is just as important as having fall detection.