Friday, 17 January 2014

Comfort or Calamity

THEY’RE traditionally associated with warmth and comfort – but slippers can also pose a catalogue of hidden dangers.

Now a special event will offer free baffies to older people and carers treading the fine line between cosiness and calamity as part of a wider effort to reduce falls at home.

The event, organised under the nationwide Reshaping Care for Older People (RCOP) programme, which takes place on Tuesday 28 January in St Patrick’s Church Hall, Coatbridge, will also focus on good foot and bone care with a range of experts on hand to offer advice.

RCOP aims to make independent living a reality to growing numbers of older people by providing more support and care in the community, at home or in homely settings.

Partners, who will be represented at the event, include NHS Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire Council, the voluntary and the independent sector.

Advisors from Mobility Scotland will also be present to provide the slipper safety check. The company’s Billy Finnie explained: “Poorly fitting or worn-out slippers can compromise the individual’s position, balance and mobility which can lead to falls.

“This time of year can be problematic because well-meaning family members may have bought their gran, aunt or uncle slippers at Christmas, perhaps not checking the exact size beforehand.

“A lot of people will persevere, even if the slippers they are wearing are two sizes too big. Older people from the local community can bring along their existing slippers for the check. We’ll measure up feet and supply a new pair, where appropriate.”

The slipper exchange has been backed by key partners in RCOP.

Wendy Feeney, NHS Lanarkshire’s Lead Nurse for Osteoporosis, also stressed that the event will focus on a range of other issues that can contribute to falls.

She explained: “People of all ages fall but older people are at greater risk and they are more likely to experience serious injury.

“Evidence shows that this can be reduced when an individual’s risk of falling is assessed and actions are taken.

“The NHS Lanarkshire falls service, who will be in attendance, are a specialist team and they will be available to provide information and advice.

“Foot and bone care is also crucial to preventing falls in older people and we’ll be offering advice on how to take care of toenails, feet and bones.”

RCOP is also geared to giving people and community groups the resources to strengthen their communities. In each of North Lanarkshire’s six localities, a local level ‘consortium’ has been established to guide and co-ordinate local planning.

Claire Delahay, representing the Coatbridge RCOP consortium, played a leading role in organising the open day.

The consortia has been instrumental in setting up a raft of projects and schemes in the area, ranging from tutorials on modern technology, lunch clubs to community transport. Many of the supports and projects will be on display during the open day. Melanie Menzies Health & Well Being Manager for North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd will also attend to highlight the many programmes of physical activity available in the area.

Claire said:  “Working together with other agencies and organisations is crucial and events like this also underline the collective commitment to make Lanarkshire a great place for older people to live, now and in the future.”

For more information on the event, which takes place on Tuesday 28 January in St Patrick’s Church Hall, Coatbridge 10.30am till 2pm,contact Claire Delahay on 01236 875054

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