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Sole Mates out to give feet a treat
People in Rose Hill, Oxford, can use a free footcare service, thanks to Lottery money.
The Rose Hill Lottery Project has set aside £1,000 to pay for monthly visits to the estate by Sole Mates, an Age UK service for people aged over 50.
It is not a podiatry or chiropody service, but foot experts will trim toenails.
Jane Davis, Sole Mates footcare co-ordinator for West Oxfordshire and Abingdon, said: “It is a very important service because obviously when people get older most of them have mobility problems, they lose the ability to bend down and get to their feet.
“Also sometimes nails get thicker and if you have problems with joints in your hands, you are unable to cut nails.
“And sometimes people have problems with their eyesight. We do have people who accidentally cut themselves. If the nails get very long it can affect mobility.
“In extreme cases people have walked on the sides of their feet or cut the ends of their slippers because their nails are too long.”
She added: “I think people find it very worthwhile. We do a foot rub afterwards. It is quite an enjoyable experience.”
The service usually costs £13 per person, but because of the lottery funding, Rose Hill residents will be able to use the service for free during monthly visits over the next year.
Fran Gardner, Rose Hill community worker, said: “Uncut nails are one of the major things that are responsible for causing falls because older people cannot cut their own nails.”
Rachelle Kennedy, Age UK spokeswoman, added: “Taking care of your feet is vitally important in reducing the risk of foot conditions and pains that can lead to falls; it’s also an important factor in maintaining mobility and independence as we grow older.
“Daily there are lots of things we can do to ensure our feet stay healthy, such as wearing well-fitting and supportive shoes, and good nail care can also help to keep feet feeling comfortable. “Sole Mates is a basic footcare service we provide in Oxfordshire for people over the age of 50 who are unable to cut their own nails through reasons of frailty, difficulty bending, poor eyesight or problems with dexterity.”
The service will be at Rose Hill Community Centre from 11.30am until 3pm every month from Thursday.
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