Residents of Somerset are to receive free slippers from the NHS as part of Sloppy Slippers Somerset, a campaign to combat falls in the region.
NHS Somerset has one of the oldest populations in the country and, in partnership with Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership, is providing free, well-fitting, and supportive slippers to eligible adults as well as advice on avoiding trips and falls.
The Sloppy Slippers campaign aims to reduce the high incidence of falls among adults due to improperly fitting slippers.
Each year, 24,000 over-65s in the UK fall over at home every year because of poorly fitting footwear, according to the University Hospitals of Leicester.
Most of these falls are caused by wearing ‘sloppy’ slippers’ – poorly structured, loose, worn or ill-fitting slippers – with many ending up in hospital.
And the issue is not limited to the over 65s – many adults with mobility issues and other conditions are also at higher risk of falling.
Dr Bernie Marden, chief medical officer at NHS Somerset, said: ‘Sloppy slippers are just one part of the equation, but badly fitting slippers are responsible for countless trips and falls which can have a devastating impact for the individual.’
North Petherton resident, Sylvia Selway, said she had experienced a couple of falls over the past year, which affected her confidence.
She described the slippers she received from Sloppy Slippers as ‘sturdy’ and ‘comfortable’.
‘I feel a renewed sense of safety and confidence in my daily life. It’s a small change that’s made a big difference,’ she said.
To find out more about reducing the risk of falls and to sign up for a pair of free well-fitting slippers, Somerset residents can attend the roadshows taking place until March (see box).
At the roadshows, people can receive their free pair of slippers and access information and support for falls prevention from a range of partners, including Age UK Somerset, Somerset Sight and the Community Council for Somerset.