Southampton City Council offers free slippers to cut number of falls

Elsie and Ted Dixon in their slippers at Ironside Court residential home, Southampton.

Elsie and Ted Dixon in their slippers at Ironside Court residential home, Southampton.

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Politics and business reporter

IT’S a common problem, but one Hampshire council reckons the solution to elderly people tripping over could lie in a simple change of footware.

In a bid to slash the number of older people suffering falls, Southampton City Council is waging war on ill fitting slippers that are sending them tumbling.

It wants to take dangerous slippers out of circulation by offering free replacements.

Under the “sloppy slippers” scheme pensioners are being offered the chance to swap their old worn out slippers for a new pair. A slipper exchange is being held in the city tomorrow where pensioners will be able to select high quality replacement footwear in one of two colours.

The self-fastening slippers provide a better fit than slip-ons and reduce the risk of trips. And the council is even laying on free transport for those who can’t catch a bus. The council hailed its “sloppy slippers” initiative as a “brilliant idea” that “really does help reduce falls among senior citizens”.

According to latest figures around nine per cent of hip fractures suffered by elderly patients are as a result of bad footware. Each fracture costs the NHS around £20,000.

National figures show one in three pensioners fall each year.

Research by the University Hospitals of Leicester suggested 24,000 over-65s in the UK fall over at home every year because of poorly fitting footwear – especially slippers. Southampton City is organising and paying for the slippers on behalf of the Later Years Partnership. So far 86 pairs have been fitted under the scheme that sees the council buy slippers in bulk at a cost of around £3 each.

Home Safety co-ordinator Barry Olson said falls were often life-changing events for older people.

“This is a simple preventive measure for a small amount of money that can improve the quality of life.”

While they have slippers fitted by specialist podiatrists. pensioners can also have their risk of falls assessed, get advice and information, and be referred to other services.

The slipper swap is being held tomorrow at Meon Court, off Minstead Avenue, Harefield, Southampton, between 10am and 1pm.

For a free lift to and from the event, call 023 8091 5439.

Slipper facts

■ The word slipper dates back to 1478 from the much older English verb to slip.

■ In Japan it is customary to remove shoes for indoor slippers.

They also have special toilet slippers.

■ In Scotland, slippers are often called “baffies”.

■ Derek “The Slipper Man” Fan holds the world record for wearing a pair of dress slippers – 23 years straight.

■ The ruby slippers Judy Garland wore when she played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939) sold for a record $165,000.

Comments (5)

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4:47pm Wed 20 Jan 10

Brite Spark says...

I expect that Goard is on his way to get his slippers right now ... ...
I expect that Goard is on his way to get his slippers right now ... ... Brite Spark
  • Score: 0

5:03pm Wed 20 Jan 10

Derek of Dibden Purlieu says...

........and I'm sure there'll be a request from the Redbridge area....
........and I'm sure there'll be a request from the Redbridge area.... Derek of Dibden Purlieu
  • Score: 0

5:20pm Wed 20 Jan 10

Big Mac says...

They should get some of those flashing ones – just imagine how cool that would look! Make them weather-proof and they might never have to take 'em off again? They could also include trackers and sat nav to ensure no one gets lost. And what about an audible bleep for when they're reversing? Cool. I'll talk with the council.
sw: trip-what! Ha!
They should get some of those flashing ones – just imagine how cool that would look! Make them weather-proof and they might never have to take 'em off again? They could also include trackers and sat nav to ensure no one gets lost. And what about an audible bleep for when they're reversing? Cool. I'll talk with the council. sw: trip-what! Ha! Big Mac
  • Score: 0

8:40pm Wed 20 Jan 10

B. L. says...

Derek of Dibden Purlieu wrote:
........and I'm sure there'll be a request from the Redbridge area....
Now now. Just because he sometimes puts his foot in his mouth (or both), it doesn't mean it's due to sloppy slippers, so be nice. :)
[quote][p][bold]Derek of Dibden Purlieu[/bold] wrote: ........and I'm sure there'll be a request from the Redbridge area....[/p][/quote]Now now. Just because he sometimes puts his foot in his mouth (or both), it doesn't mean it's due to sloppy slippers, so be nice. :) B. L.
  • Score: 0

3:25am Thu 21 Jan 10

goodey says...

well done southanpton coun ref free slipperskeep up the good work allan goodey
well done southanpton coun ref free slipperskeep up the good work allan goodey goodey
  • Score: 0

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