Release date 15 March 2019
When Patricia Misselbrook first saw the fitted slippers being given away as part of West Sussex County Council’s Slipper Swap she wasn’t convinced they were for her.
“I thought they were a bit old lady-like, and I am 87!” the Bognor Regis resident said when she attended the second Slipper Swap at Bognor Library on Wednesday. “If I had gone out and bought a new pair of slippers, I wouldn’t have bought these,” she added. “But today has definitely changed my mind, they are so comfortable and very well fitted, and if they stop me from having another fall that’s even better.
“I can now go down the stairs with my slippers on without having to worry.”
Mrs Misselbrook was among more than 70 people who attended the event to trade in their own worn-out old slippers in exchange for a sturdy pair of fitted slippers with an anti-slip sole. Among those who attended the event was Nicole Cooper, also from Bognor Regis, who had her new slippers fitted for her by West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, Amanda Jupp.
She was equally as impressed with the slippers having suffered two nasty falls previously, and even convinced husband John to also get fitted for a pair while they were there.
The swap is part of an initiative being run by West Sussex County Council to try and reduce the number of elderly residents in the county suffering a fall. The swaps come after it was revealed there were 4,772 emergency hospital admissions due to falls in people aged 65 and over in 2017/18. Treating hip fractures as a result of a fall is estimated to cost the NHS in West Sussex more than £20 million a year.
Ill-fitting slippers, or those which are beyond their best, pose a real risk of causing a fall, so it is hoped that this pragmatic approach will help further reduce the risk of falling.
The county council has already invested more than £750,000 in a new programme of work being delivered by Sussex Community Foundation Trust to deploy specialist Falls Champions across the county to help those most at risk of a fall. This funding came as part of a £3.3 million government grant, ring-fenced to help ease winter pressures on adult social care and health services.
West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, Amanda Jupp, said: “It’s very easy to become unaffected by figures, they are just numbers after all. But having the chance to meet some of our residents who would really benefit from having a new, safer pair of slippers really puts the importance of this Public Health programme into perspective.
“I thoroughly enjoyed having the chance to meet and speak with the residents who came along to the swap, and I would urge anyone shuffling around at home in a pair of slippers which are beyond their best to try and come along to our next Slipper Swap events.”
The Slipper Swaps will continue throughout March at various libraries as part of their Wellbeing Month.
The next Swaps will be held at:
• Durrington Library on Friday 15 March (10am - 2pm)
• Chichester Library on Thursday 28 March (10am - 2pm)
• Crawley Library on Friday 29 March (10am - 2pm)
For more information visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/falls or contact the local Wellbeing Hub to find more ways to stay steady and keep active.
If you are concerned about falling speak to your GP for further advice.