Slippers are a common gift for Grandpa (or Grandma) each year. Care should be exercised if that’s your gift of choice this year to make sure their slippers don’t cause them to, well, slip!
2.4 million seniors received medical treatment for a fall in 2011, with one in four of those being hospitalized as a result of the fall – - and far too many receiving disabling injuries. Many of those falls happened in the seniors’ homes.
Okay, we suspect there weren’t many of these falls caused by slippery slippers, but wouldn’t you feel awful if your senior loved one became part of the statistics while wearing the gift you picked for them with love?
Senior Fall Risk a Gift Consideration
Slippers are but one of the many gift items that could be a factor in a senior’s fall. Some other common gifts to keep in mind.
- Throw rugs are a common gift that many people like to put to use in the home where they will be seen. Many falls in the home are the result of slipping on a rug that isn’t attached firmly to the floor.
- Corded items that are often used while sitting comfortably in the family room. Often the cords are draped across a walkway, creating a tripping hazard for anyone walking through.
- Pajamas that are just a bit too long can get caught under foot, tripping wearers of any age but especially those whose balance isn’t what it was in younger years. Yes, it can happen with other clothing, but pajamas aren’t sized as precisely as other clothes and are easy to purchase too long.
- Games that come with multiple small pieces can easily create a slip hazard when a piece drops on the floor and isn’t missed or is too small to see and isn’t picked up right away.
- New pets given to senior loved ones for companionship can get tangled up in legs or startle your gift recipient and cause a fall. You may think it’s safe because the new pet is replacing a long time companion, but the prior pet likely was accustomed to life with the senior and may even have seen their transition over several years.
- Canes or walkers that aren’t sized properly for the recipient, or are not the same size as the one’s they’ve been using, can cause falls. That great design we find might be a treasured gift but can cause harm when they want so much to use it and show it’s appreciated.
- Any gift that a senior will be bending over to pick up can cause a loss of balance and a fall.
Slippers Aren’t All Slippery
Are we saying you shouldn’t give any of the above items as gifts? Not at all. What we are saying is to consider the potential slipping or falling hazard with any gift you consider and think about what you can do to mitigate the hazard.
For example, many attractive and comfortable slippers – including the ones we wear ourselves – have non-slip soles. Whether for grandma or grandpa, you most certainly can find a pair that they’ll love and that will help keep them safe!