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How slippers could help save the NHS £2.3bn a year

Slippers might seem like an obvious choice for a gift to older members of your family but could they help save the NHS £2.3bn a year?

Doctors at one of Wales' biggest hospitals are encouraging people to buy well-fitted slippers as gifts for Christmas to prevent their loved ones falling.

Well fitting slippers could help stop the elderly from falling. Credit: PA

Over 500 patients who have fallen are treated every month at the University Hospital of Wales. Cardiff and Vale Health Board is running its Slippers for Christmas campaign and says by buying the right types of shoes, it could help prevent people from spending time in hospital.

So what is the best type of slipper to buy? They should be close-backed, good grip on the soles, can be fastened and do not have a heel.

Slippers with closed backs and no heel are recommended. Credit: PA

Many of us think that having problems with our balance and getting weaker is an inevitable part of ageing so along with a few wrinkles and grey hairs, the odd fall is to be expected as we get older.

But falls are preventable and are often a warning sign that something else is wrong. As well as unsuitable footwear or slippers, falls can also be caused by not drinking enough fluids, poor eyesight, urinary infections, poorly controlled blood pressure and medications.

Falls prevention is extremely important, as even a single fall can have significant consequences for that person. They can cause injuries, fractures, loss of confidence, hospital admissions and a loss of independence

– Alun Morgan, Assistant Director of Therapies and Health Sciences

The health board says people between the ages of 50 and 70 can lose up to 30% of muscle strength which is why regular exercise is important to avoid falls.