GPs in east and west Suffolk are encoraging people to think about giving a pair of slippers as a Christmas gift to an older relative, friend or neighbour.
Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“The consequences of an older person having a fall should not be underestimated. A fall can result in broken hips or bones and even early death. In addition to the pain and distress a fall can cause it can take away someone’s self-confidence, leaving them afraid to go out and socially isolated.
“Christmas is the ideal opportunity to reduce the chances of an older person having a fall by giving them a good quality pair of slippers. Many people have a pair of worn and comfy slippers that are potentially dangerous. Worn soles can easily lead to a slip and slippers that fit poorly can cause a trip.
“The safest slippers are those with good quality non-slip rubber soles, are enclosed and have a fastener.”
Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Parting with old slippers can be a bit of a wrench, but I cannot stress too highly how important it is to have safe footwear around the house. Every year I hear from patients who have had a fall, or from a close relative, telling us about the great difficulties that a fall has caused. Safe new slippers could help prevent a sorry time for you or your family.
“Shoes and slippers that are loose fitting or have worn soles can be difficult to walk in and can be a risky trip hazard. The best shoes and slippers fit the foot well and have a fastener, such as velcro or a zip, which can be adjusted to fit. The implications of a trip or fall can be significant and the effect on a person’s mobility and confidence can be long lasting.”