NHS Somerset launch “Sloppy Slippers Somerset” campaign to combat falls  

In a move to improve the safety and well-being of ageing adults in Somerset (which has one of the oldest populations in the country), NHS Somerset, in partnership with Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP), has launched their “Sloppy Slippers” campaign.

It aims to address a growing concern: the high incidence of falls among adults due to improperly fitting slippers. Data shows that around 24,000 over-65s in the UK suffer a fall annually due to ‘sloppy’ slippers – with many ending up in hospital.

In response NHS Somerset is providing free, well-fitting, and supportive slippers to eligible adults, providing advice on avoiding trips and falls and simple actions people can take such as exercise and healthy eating to minimise their risk of falling. By offering this simple yet effective solution, the “Sloppy Slippers” campaign hopes to significantly reduce the risk of falls in the home, reducing the need for hospital treatment.

Falling at home is a common and serious issue, especially for the older population. Falls are often due to loose, worn, or backless slippers, contributing to poor balance and gait. However, the issue isn’t limited to the over 65s – many adults with mobility issues and other conditions are also at higher risk of falling. The campaign includes a series of roadshows across Somerset, organised by SASP, where people can not only receive their free pair of slippers but also access information and support for falls prevention from a range of partners including Age UK Somerset, Somerset Sight and the Community Council for Somerset.

North Petherton resident, Sylvia Selway, shares her experience: “I’ve had a couple falls this year, which greatly affected my confidence. Since receiving these sturdy, comfortable slippers from the Sloppy Slippers campaign, together with attending strength and balance resources, I feel a renewed sense of safety and confidence in my daily life. It’s a small change that’s made a big difference.”

Dr Bernie Marden, Chief Medical Officer NHS Somerset emphasises the importance of such initiatives: “This campaign has an important message for everyone. Keeping well and maintaining strength and balance is something we should all be mindful of, as we age, to avoid trips and falls.  Somerset has a high percentage of people over 65 and we provide a range of services to help them to age well and support them if they do have a fall.
“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.  To find out more about reducing the risk of falls and to sign up for a pair of free well-fitting slippers, we are inviting people to join us for one of the five roadshows between now and March 2024.”
The “Sloppy Slippers” campaign is set to run until the end of March 2024, with several events planned across the county. The next roadshows are as follows:
·       Monday 15 January | 9:30am – 12pm at Taunton Library, Paul Street, Taunton, TA1 3XZ
·       Tuesday 23 January | 12:30pm – 3:30pm at Highbridge Community Hall, Market Street, Highbridge, TA9 3BP
·       Friday 9 February 11am – 2pm at Independent Living Centre Wellington, 17 Knights Road, Chelston Business Park, Wellington, TA21 9JH (attendees must pre-book)
·       Friday 16 February | 11am – 2pm at Independent Living Centre Yeovil, 
Yeovil Innovation Centre, Barracks Close, Copse Road, Yeovil, BA22 8RN (attendees must pre-book)
·       Thursday 22 February | 11am – 2pm at Chard Library, Holyrood Lace Mill, Holyrood Street, Chard, Somerset TA20 2YA
For more information on the campaign, including booking links for the roadshows, please visit bit.ly/sloppy-slippers.