Guest Contributors

Best Shoes for Men and Women With Dementia

If you’re the caregiver of someone with dementia, you want to support their needs. You also want to encourage as much independence as possible. How you help them dress is crucial to their comfort and ability to get things done. One of the most important parts of their attire is their footwear.

What are the best shoes for elderly people with this disease?

Many people focus on the cognitive impact dementia has on people. However, the most effective treatment often encourages a healthier lifestyle to slow disease progression and improve life quality. Difficulty walking and rising from a seated position because of uncomfortable footwear can cause members of this population to remain far too sedentary for their health.

What seems like a minor decision — which pair to buy — can quickly leave you scratching your head. What should you look for in the right pair of shoes and what should you avoid? Here’s your look at the best shoes for elderly people with dementia.

Qualities of the Best Shoes for Elderly People With Dementia

Your first step in selecting the best shoes for your loved one with dementia is to make a list. The qualities you seek might vary depending on where you live. For example, someone in a cold climate might appreciate sturdy boots with nonskid soles for navigating icy patches. However, the same pair could get too sweaty if you and your loved one retired to Florida to escape the winter weather.

There are some specific characteristics that define nearly any good pair of shoes for older adults with dementia.

Safety

In general, you should avoid open-toed shoes as they increase the risk of injury. Objects falling from above can shatter toes and a sandal that flops the wrong way can cause a painful fall. You don’t need steel-toed work boots, but the shoe should fully enclose their foot.

Sole

Take a look at the soles of the shoes you select. They should be made of tough, thick rubber with adequate grips to keep the person in your care from sliding on slick surfaces. The shoes also shouldn’t have a heel of more than one inch. Those with a slight rise should feature a chunky design to prevent twisted ankles. A sturdy sole is an important component of good walking shoes.

Simplicity

It’s not unusual for people with dementia to occasionally forget how to tie their shoes. Avoid frustration in the first place and find scores of slip-on styles appropriate for mild to moderate exercise. Velcro shoes, or more accurately, shoes with velcro closures, should be considered. The velcro fastenings make for an easy on, easy off, nearly “hands-free” shoes. The easier time your loved one has taking their shoes on and off, the better.

Support

The right support helps individuals with dementia stay active, slowing disease progression. For example, overusing your feet during the day can aggravate plantar fasciitis, inflaming the thick connective tissue on your soles and making walking painful.

Does your loved one have high arches? If your their foot resembles a ballet dancer with high, graceful arches, look for shoes with good arch support. The Dr. Scholl brand offers inserts that could turn regular shoes into the perfect pair of shoes.

Conversely, those with flat feet will develop painful blisters inside their arch from too much support. Shoes with a more even sole could be the best option in this situation.

Shoes with a regular rise are often best for most seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia. With ankle troubles, they’re easier to put on and take off. However, those with weak ankles might benefit from extra support to help them with their daily activities.

Additional Considerations When Selecting the Best Shoes

Two additional considerations for selecting the best shoes don’t concern the wearer’s age or dementia diagnosis. They are:

Style

People with dementia have opinions and choosing styles they love provides a needed psychological boost. You know that you perform better when you look and feel your best. The same rule applies to the loved ones in your care, so offer your family members several choices of reasonably stylish shoes and let them select the color and design they want. Within reason, of course.

Price

You don’t have to pay a fortune for quality shoes. However, there’s a price associated with too much bargain-hunting — poorly made shoes wear out more often, necessitating replacement. Then you have to go through the whole selection process again.

Quick Shoe-Shopping Tips for People With Dementia

If you plan to visit an in-person store for a proper fitting, call ahead and find out what designers and styles they have in stock. You can find pictures online and give the loved one in your care a sneak preview of pairs they might like. They’re less likely to become distracted by the overwhelming array of choices or select something inappropriate for their needs.

If you plan on shopping online, your job is even easier. Pull up five or six tabs with your approved selections and let them decide between them. You might have to print out the pages catalog-style if they’re computer averse.

Finally, check with their doctor, especially if they need orthopedic shoes to manage another health condition. They can often recommend the best supportive shoes for a senior’s feet.

Best Shoes for People With Dementia and Where to Buy Them

If you need a headstart on brand choices, here are a few excellent options to consider.

Lugz Clipper Slip-On Sneakers

Do you want a versatile pair of shoes equally suitable for a walk around the block or a trip to the mall, all without spending a ton of money? If so, the Lugz Clipper Slip-On Sneaker could answer your prayers.

Men’s Lugz Clipper
Available on Amazon
Women’s Lugz Clipper
Available on Amazon

Key Features

  • Features styles for men and women: One great style does it all. The simple design of these slip-on sneakers makes them a natural crossover for both men and women.
  • Rolled edging for ankle comfort: The thick roll of soft fabric around the opening ensures these shoes won’t chafe your patient’s ankles if they wear them without socks or a short pair that only covers their feet.
  • Multiple color options: These shoes come in eight great shades and since the price point is so affordable, you can pick up more than one pair in various hues.
  • Wide-width availability: These shoes are available in wide widths for patients with bunions or oversized feet. A wide toe box can be VERY comfortable!

Allbirds Tree Loungers

If the loved one in your care came of age in the 1960s and maintained the hippie idealism of their youth, they probably care about the climate crisis as much as today’s generations. They’ll gravitate toward designers emphasizing environmental sustainability, and Allbirds meets the mark. Their Tree Loungers line for men and women combines eco-friendliness with a sleek style that’s easy to slide on, with no Velcro straps necessary.

Key Features

  • Solid color styling: If the loved one you care for hates competing color patterns, these shoes are a necessity. They feature sleek, unicolor styling in three classic shades with limited edition hues.
  • Convenient whole sizing: The comfortable elastic makes these slip-on shoes the perfect fit, even if your loved one typically wears a half-size.
  • The right shoes for warm weather: The breathable eucalyptus fabric won’t heat up thier feet on toasty summer days.
  • Carbon-neutral: Allbirds balances its emissions with funding for high-impact carbon projects as a carbon-neutral business. They also emphasize sustainability in their design, with eucalyptus fibers, sugarcane-based midsoles and castor bean insole foam.

Sperry Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe

Buy on Amazon

Does the older adult you care for miss their days at sea? If they were once active yacht club members or live in a warm location where boat shoes are the fashion, they’ll love the Sperry Original 2-Eye boat shoe that features lace styling without any need to tie knots. Just slip these on and go.

Key Features

  • Multiple shades for every time of year: These shoes come in numerous shades, letting your loved one feel fashionable any time of year.
  • Wave-siping technology: The sole design on these loafers gives them superior traction on slippery, wet surfaces.
  • Full-grain leather upper: If your loved one has exquisite taste, they’ll appreciate the timeless look of genuine leather.
  • 360 lacing for a custom fit: Secure the ties upon purchase, and these shoes will slip off and on your their feet without needing to bother with the laces.

GW Bass and Co. Logan Weejuns Loafers

This pair is for the fellows who like to look dapper when they head out on the town. The classic, genuine-leather Weejun loafer has long been a classic in boardrooms across America. Although they’re attractive enough to wear to a fine dining restaurant, they’re also comfortable and easy to slide on and off.

Key Features

  • Fashion shades: The classic Weejun comes in classic brown and black, and a sleek, two-color hybrid that looks downright jazzy.
  • Appropriate for the Sunday best: While many slip-on shoes look like sneakers, these feature classic leather uppers polished to a high shine that make these set off a suit jacket perfectly.
  • Half-sizes available: The stiffer the shoe, the more critical it is to get the perfect fit. These loafers come in half-sizes to adapt to any foot.
  • Easy to clean: As elegant as these shoes look, they wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth.

Rothy’s The Driver Loafer

Ladies like to look elegant, too. These charming loafers come in 15 styles, letting you coordinate them with nearly any outfit. They’re perfect for travel days when you frequently kick off your shoes and put them back on again, such as when going through airport security, or getting weighed and measured at the doctor. Very comfortable for anyone’s daily routine.

Key Features

  • Half and large sizes available: These shoes come in sizes five through 13 and feature half sizes for the perfect fit with no rubbing or blisters.
  • Soft, flexible uppers: Despite the leather look, these shoes are tightly woven from Rothy’s signature thread spun from recycled plastic bottles, making them durable and flexible.
  • LEED Gold Certified factory: LEED certification represents the epitome of green design. The Rothy’s factory workshop achieved LEED gold in 2022 and LEED platinum for their corporate offices.
  • Machine washable: These shoes are a snap to clean — just slide out the removable insoles and throw them and the shoes into the wash!

Rothy’s The Point

Yes, another Rothy’s — but they’re so wonderful that they deserve two spots on this list. This design is perfect for those ladies who don’t want to give up classic styling for comfort and convenience. Although there are no high heels to trip you up, the pointed-toe design makes these shoes the perfect match for a power pants suit or a delicate floral skirt. They’re feminine and versatile.

Key Features

  • Over 30 color combinations: You can find a pair of The Point shoes to match everything in your loved one’s wardrobe, from classic grays and browns to fun pastels and fluorescent hues.
  • Goal of TRUE Zero-Waste Certification: Although Rothy’s buildings have already earned the prestigious LEED award for sustainability, they want to go further. They’re working toward TRUE certification for zero waste in 2023, making them the perfect shoe choice for eco-conscious older people with dementia.
  • Machine washable: Like most Rothy shoes, you can easily clean these. Just pop out the insole and toss the shoe and insole in the wash.
  • Snug fit: These shoes are designed without much give but come in half-sizes for the perfect fit.

LaCoste Run Breaker Slide-On Sneakers

Here’s a pair for senior citizens who prefer high tops for extra support. These slip-on shoes prevent unnecessary ankle twists, keeping your loved one safer. The grippy rubber soles have enough traction to handle challenging hikes over slippery rocks and help maintain their balance on icy winter surfaces. Despite their design, they’re easy to slide on and off once you adjust the laces.

Men’s Lacoste Run Breaker
Available on Amazon
Women’s Lacoste Run Breaker
Available on Amazon

Key Features

  • Superior comfort: Those who have tested these say they’re among the most comfortable shoes they’ve tried, with ample cushioning support.
  • Keep your toes toasty in winter: These shoes are water-resistant and snugly warm, helping to keep your loved one’s feet cozy even in cold temperatures.
  • Sleek all-black or black-and-red design: Those who prefer more of a traditional sneaker look can go for the multicolored pair. However, the plain black version is fashionable enough to wear with a suit jacket or pantsuit.
  • No break-in required: While many athletic shoes need you to stretch them before you feel comfortable, these do not. One user described them as wearing a mattress on your feet — right out of the box.

When Is It Time for New Shoes?

How do you know when it’s time to buy new shoes for your loved one? Here are some signs it’s time to hit the store:

  • Your loved one’s shoes show visible wear and tear: Holes in the soles or sides are clear signs it’s time to go shopping.
  • The tread is gone: Most shoes have some tread on the bottom to prevent slipping. However, it can grind down over time, like the tread on your tires. Pay attention and replace pairs that threaten to cause falls.
  • Health conditions necessitate change or they develop foot problems: Diseases such as gout can cause painful foot swelling that necessitates larger shoes. Furthermore, they could develop foot problems after engaging in certain activities, so ensure they wear the appropriate footwear for the occasion.
  • They complain of foot pain: Remember, remaining physically active is crucial to slowing dementia progression. Your loved one can’t stay fit if their feet hurt, so take their complaints seriously and schedule a shopping trip for the right type of shoe.

Find the Best Shoes for Dementia Patients

You need to make wise decisions as a caregiver for an elderly person with dementia. Part of that involves keeping them appropriately dressed for various activities. Their footwear is integral to how active they stay, impacting their disease progression.

Consider one of these seven best shoes for elderly women and men with dementia when it’s time for a new pair. You can find a set that works for various occasions in a style your loved one adores and enjoys wearing. As a family caregiver, choosing the right footwear can help to mitigate some physical limitations and help the older person in your life remain active.


About the Author

Beth Rush

dementia and environment
Beth Rush

Beth Rush is the Managing Editor and Content Manager at Body+Mind.

Body+Mind features articles about diet, fitness, mental health, parenting and health care.

 

 

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