A CHRISTMAS campaign to highlight the importance of preventing falls by elderly people is being launched by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

The Slippers for Christmas campaign, now in its second year, encourages people to purchase suitable slippers for elderly relatives, friends or neighbours at Christmas.

Every month, the emergency unit at University Hospital of Wales sees over 500 patients who have fallen. In elderly patients, falls typically result in an admission to hospital and cause them to lose confidence and independence.

Poor fitting and unsuitable pairs of slippers can be a cause of falls, which is why the health board is encouraging people to gift close-backed, good gripping slippers during the festive season.

Alun Morgan, assistant director of therapies and health sciences said: "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."

More information on reducing the likelihood of falls by the elderly is available at: cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/falls-prevention