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Stay at Home Solutions blogs on topics such as aging in place, universal design, adaptive equipment, home modifications, accessibility, durable medical equipment, legislation, and caregiving.

Hello, Shoe Lovers!

Do you identify yourself as a shoe lover? Look in your closet. Count your shoes. How many pairs do you have? New Dream reports in the U.S. the average man owns 12 pairs of shoes and the average woman owns 27 pairs.

Whoa! But I completely believe it!

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Americans buy shoes for different purposes and occasions; and maybe several types of shoes for the same occasion! We can’t get enough of shoes. We buy them even if we don’t need them. Shoes may have an interesting, cool design that speaks to us and helps us express ourselves.

Do I NEED glittery tennis shoes?

No.

But does the glitter on the shoes represent my inner sparkle in a way that I don’t feel like I can effectively do on my own?

Absolutely, yes!

Now, what if I were to tell you that shoes are a form of home modifications (a.k.a. changes you make in your home)?

(Gasp)

I know. Yes, it’s true! Shoes can affect your ability to do what you need and want to do inside the home!

Shoes are like friends, they can support you, or take you down.

-Anonymous

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Last week, I talked about how footwear can help you prevent falling outside of your home on wet leaves. This week I am focusing on shoes again because they are just that important!

Lately, I have worked with people who are falling inside their home because of their shoes! I will tell you what happened to my poor friend, Rita (names have been changed to protect the innocent).

Rita enjoys wearing slippers. They are easy for her to put on in the morning and take off at night. Slippers keep Rita’s feet warm and feel so comfortable! She only leaves the house once or twice a week, so Rita doesn’t worry about putting on shoes for outside purposes.

A couple of weeks ago, Rita’s darling son and daughter bought her a brand new recliner. The new chair had a button to put her feet up and down. Surprisingly, the chair could also lift Rita to stand up! She could fully recline in the chair to take a nap during the day! Rita couldn’t wait to live her best life in that chair!

After her son and daughter left, Rita heard the doorbell and tried to stand up to answer it when something unimaginable happened. Rita put her feet on the ground, but felt her feet keep slipping out from underneath her! She dug her slippers into the carpet to try and regain her balance, but it didn’t work. Rita slid out of her brand new chair onto the ground in shock. Her visitor came in through the door and found Rita. “I’m down here!”

Luckily, Rita was not physically injured, but her pride was in bad shape. She thought, “I can’t stand up anymore. I’m scared of that chair.” Rita blamed the chair, but the chair wasn’t the problem. It was her slippers!

When I visited Rita, I asked her how often she wore her slippers, “All the time!” I looked at the bottom of the soles and felt it with my hand: the surface of the sole was completely slick. No ridges. No grooves. Nothing to help Rita stop from sliding on her carpet.

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I told Rita, “Your slippers are too slick against the carpet. Do you have other shoes you would like to wear?” Rita said ‘yes’ and directed me to her closet. Together, we found a pair of comfortable shoes that gave Rita more stability and balance when she sits down and stands up from her new reclining chair.

Rita feels more confidant in her home again. She can easily get up from the chair and answer the door. Rita freely takes naps in her recliner and watches Family Feud with no concern that she will slid out of her chair again!

Although Rita’s slippers were comfortable, they took her down! The slippers were more of an enemy than a friend in my perspective. It’s amazing how changing Rita’s shoes made all the difference in the world.

Sometimes home modifications are that simple! It can take ONE change to prevent falls in your home. Home modifications don’t need to be complicated, expensive, or messy to make a difference. Consulting with an occupational therapist is the best way to find what changes will work best for you!

I am aware that some people do not like to wear shoes in the house. That is completely fine! Be careful if you find yourself slipping though! Here’s some food for thought if this is your situation:

  • Am I slipping anywhere in the house? If so, where?

  • What time of day am I slipping?

  • How much lighting is in the spot I slip?

  • What’s on my feet when I slip?

  • What type of flooring am I slipping on?

  • Have I tried to wearing socks with grips on the bottom? (Not the ugly hospital socks! Cute ones from the store with grips on the bottom.)

If you answered these questions and still aren’t sure what to do, give me a call or email! I’m happy to help you problem solve!

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Remember, falling isn’t just a problem for adults. It’s a problem for kids too! These exact same issues impact children. You can use the same ideas to help kiddos stay on their feet too!

I can’t tell you how many times I slipped on the linoleum in the kitchen growing up. Many an elbow was bruised. If only I had my occupational therapy know-how back in the day!

Do you know someone like Rita? If you do, ask them what shoes they like to wear in the house. Maybe traction spray on the bottom of a pair of slick slippers can give enough stick between their feet and the carpet or hard floor. Or if you need some extra input, give me a call.

What types of shoes do you wear in the house? Or do you even wear shoes in the house? Comment below! What types of tricks do you do to avoid falling inside the house? Have you made any changes when you found yourself falling? Share your experience to help others learn what they can do to be safe at home!