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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 07:09 GMT
Free slippers for elderly
Safety slippers for elderly
It is hoped the slippers will cut fall injuries among the elderly
Pensioners could soon be given free slippers by a council in an effort to cut the number of injuries suffered in falls.

Neath Port Talbot Council, in south Wales, is considering spending 1,500 on a scheme to provide safe slippers to elderly people, believing it could save much more by reducing injuries.

Poorly-fitting footwear is among the biggest causes of accidents among elderly people. Last year, 14,000 people fell and broke their hips in the UK.

The NHS spends more than 1bn a year on treating fractures caused by falling.

When a similar scheme was tried in England, the number of people falling was reduced by 60%.

Councillor Clive Owen, Neath Port Talbot Council's Champion for Older People, said: "We've got 1,500 and we are working in conjunction with Age Concern to see who needs the slippers.

Katie Mather, of Neath Port Council, demonstrates the safe slipper
Katie Mather, of Neath Port Council, demonstrates the safe slipper
"1,500 will buy us 150 (pairs of) slippers so we'll get them out to people as soon as possible.

"We are doing it as a pilot at the moment, but we are hoping that later on we can take it a little bit further."

Katie Mather, of Neath Port Talbot Council, added: "They have rubber soles, which means that they are reasonably non-slip.

"They have a good Velcro fastener on the front so they won't slip off, you have to physically taken them off.

"They have a very wide opening, so it's easy to get your foot in and out of the slipper which is good if you have restricted mobility."

The idea is part of the authority's strategy to improve life for older people.

It is also looking at internet access for centres for the elderly and at setting up a council for elderly people.

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