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If The Shoe Fits: Finding The Right Footwear For People With Dementia

Guest Blog

GREAT RESOURCE AND GOOD READ FROM OUR PARTNER IN THE DEMENTIA COMMUNITY

If you’ve ever struggled to find shoes for your loved one living with dementia, then this article is for you. Not only can the act of physically putting on shoes become difficult (either for them, or you their carer), but you’re also looking for footwear that fits well, is comfortable and supportive – which we know isn’t always easy to find.

So what should you be looking for exactly, and where can you find it? We’ve teamed up with adaptive footwear company Friendly Shoes to learn more. Friendly Shoes was created by an occupational therapist who wanted to help everyone find the right pair of shoes for them, whatever their ability. Their ranges, especially their Friendly Force style, are great for people living with dementia – we’ll get into why this is now.

Easy on and off shoes: The easier a pair of shoes is to get on and more comfortable they are, the happier your loved one will be wearing them. This is exactly why all our shoes have deep zips all the way down the side, or round the back of the shoe to open them right up (and we really mean that – the side zip on the Friendly Force lets you see the whole width and length of the inner shoe). Unzip, slide the foot in and do it back up. If your loved one is getting themselves dressed, use these small steps to talk them through the process. Or, if you’re helping them then this ease means it will take less time.

Supportive: Step away from the backless slippers – just because they’re easy to get into doesn’t mean they’re right. Instead, you need shoes that support the whole feet. Friendly Shoes come with removable memory foam insoles for added comfort. These can be replaced with individual orthotics for extra support too.

Wide-fitting: If your loved one has wide or slightly swollen feet, then you need shoes that easily accommodate this. All our shoes have a wide E toe box and the Friendly Force is the roomiest shoe of the lot thanks to the flyknit material and extra elastic tab at the top. They’re a great indoor and outdoor shoe, and an alternative to slippers which don’t support feet enough.

Anti-slip soles: The right footwear is key to helping to prevent falls. As well as supportive shoes that fit well, look for anti-slip soles. All our Friendly Shoes soles have passed rigorous anti-slip tests.

Zips instead of laces: Ease of getting dressed is important. That’s why all our shoes have zips instead of laces. Whilst two of our styles feature laces, you just need to set the tension on them the first time they’re worn, and then use the zip to get in and out. Also remember for your loved one to sit down somewhere supportive when putting their shoes on, ideally a chair with arms.

Style: We believe that a functional shoe can also look good, which is why Friendly Shoes come in a range of colours and styles. If your loved one likes to choose their clothes, why not give them the option of different colours and let them decide.

We hope this article has helped you understand what to look for when it comes to finding the right footwear for someone with dementia. If you want to find out more about Friendly Shoes, visit www.friendlyshoes.co.uk.