Tag Archives: ageing-well-falls

Ageing Well: Falls starts 5 September

Ageing Well: Falls is a four week (2 hours a week) free online course, which starts on 5 September 2016. Previous learners really valued this engaging course which is having a real effect on people’s lives.

This course was excellent, it gave a lot of good information and dispelled many myths about “only old folks have falls”, as well as giving resources to check when problems arise.

Photo of Dr James Frith.
Dr James Frith, Lead Educator, Ageing Well: Falls

As we make the finishing touches to the course before it starts, we asked Dr James Frith, Lead Educator, a few questions which come up regularly:

Are falls really that dangerous?

James: Yes. Falls are hugely common and as we get older our bodies are less robust and are more likely to be injured during a fall. Serious injuries include broken bones and head injuries or serious bleeding. A broken hip can be devastating for some people. But for some people the loss of confidence following a fall can be just as disabling as a physical injury. Fortunately we can reduce the risk of falling and the associated injuries.

What is the most common story you hear from your patients?

James: Falls are complex and are rarely caused by a single factor. in each person who falls there are a mix of factors which contribute, so there is not really a typical type of fall.  However, common things which I come across are:

  1. Falling on the bus as people get up from their seats before it has stopped.
  2. Putting out the bins in wet or windy weather.
  3. Getting up too quickly to answer the telephone or the door.
  4. Slipping in the bath or shower.

What can increase a person’s risk of falls?

James: Researchers have identified hundreds of risk factors for falls, so we tend to stick to the ones that we can do something about. The main risks are having a poor gait or balance, poor eye sight, dizziness, some medications, and hazards in the home or on the street, but there are many more.

What can a person do to reduce the risk of falls?

James: Sometimes it can come down to common sense, such as keeping stairs free from clutter, turning on the lights and reporting dizziness to the doctor. But there are other simple ways too, such as keeping the legs active and strong through gentle exercise, having a medication review with a doctor or pharmacist, avoiding dehydration and having walking sticks measured by a professional.

What is the best way to recover from a fall?

James: If someone is prone to falls they should consider wearing a call alarm or keeping a mobile phone in their pocket, just in case they need to call for help. Some people can learn techniques to help them stand following a fall – usually from a physiotherapist or occupational therapist. In the longer term anyone who has fallen or is at risk of falls should seek help from a health professional to try to prevent future falls. Sometimes falls can be due to medical conditions which can easily be treated.

Everyone knows someone who has fallen. Why not join our friendly team of falls specialists and thousands of people like you to find out what you can do to help yourself, your family, friends or people you care for?

The lead educators were warm and engaging, and they were generous with their knowledge and expertise.

I liked the interaction between participants. It makes you feel you are not alone in your experiences.

Sign up now at www.futurelearn.com/courses/falls

Ageing Well: Falls live event tomorrow (Friday) at 10am GMT

There is a live discussion online as part of the Ageing Well: Falls course on FutureLearn.

The event is open to anyone – so please pass on the link to anyone you think will be interested. You can tune in live tomorrow (Friday 5 December) at 10am GMT on YouTube. Don’t worry if you miss it, you can watch the recording afterwards at the same link or, if you prefer, read the transcript.

In this live event:

  • Dr James Frith, Clinical Lecturer and falls researcher
  • Professor Julia Newton, Consultant Physician, Falls Specialist and falls researcher
  • Dr Chris Elliott, Advanced Occupational Therapist

will answer your questions from Week 2 of Ageing Well Falls.

An important day for recognising excellence in ageing research, and an honorary award for Angela Rippon

Lead Educator for Ageing Well: Falls, Professor Julia Newton has had a busy couple of days, and you can read why here:

JuliaToday saw two important announcements for Newcastle and our ageing research.

The Newcastle University Institute for Ageing was launched at the Great North Museum here in Newcastle by the wonderful TV presenter Angela Rippon OBE. Angela was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law for her work highlighting the importance of Alzheimers, dementia and ensuring the patient voice is heard. Angela delivered a fantastic speech at the graduation ceremony to the audience of over 130 Newcastle University graduands where she described her career and how her father would have been particularly proud of her award (being from County Durham down the road from Newcastle).
The second came in the Chancellors Autumn statement (p88 !) delivered in the House of Commons when a £20million investment in a National Institute for Ageing which will be based in Newcastle was announced.
Wonderful recognition of the important research that is being carried out in Newcastle and how working collaboratively can lead to important advances in our understanding of how we age and strategies to improve quality of life.
Julia Newton
Dean of Clinical Medicine & Professor of Ageing and Medicine Clinical Academic Office The Medical School Newcastle University

You can watch Angela receive her award (45 minutes and 8 seconds) and see her speech (45 minutes 50 seconds) in the congregation video at: https://nuvision.ncl.ac.uk/Play/3084 See if you can spot Julia who was there in the second row behind where Angela was sitting.

Ageing Well: Falls – please help spread the word!

falls_img_lo_resDo you know someone who has fallen? A friend? Family member? Someone you care for?

Our second free online course with FutureLearn starts on 24 November, but you can sign up now.

The Lead Educators, Professor Julia Newton, Dean for Clinical Medicine and Clinical Professor of Ageing and Medicine, and Dr James Frith, Academic Clinical Lecturer in Ageing, both based in the Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University have worked with Voice North in the development of this engaging and empowering course, designed for the people who have fallen, their, family, friends and carers rather than professionals.

falls_flyer_imgPlease spread the word and this flyer – share it widely – we want our course to get to as many people as possible.

Do you have a staff/waiting room where you could put one up?

There is a trailer which gives a really good idea of what you can expect over the four weeks the course runs.

If you are on social media, share the link www.futurelearn.com/courses/falls and use #FLFalls



Ageing Well: Falls is open for signups

Everyone knows someone who has fallen…..

Domino metaphor for falls course.
The course image for Ageing Well: Falls

Newcastle University’s second free online course opened for signups yesterday – see www.futurelearn.com/courses/falls

Whether you have been affected by falls yourself or care for someone who has, this course will help you understand what you can do to prevent falls and also what you can do if you have experienced a fall.

We have consulted with Voice North during the development of the course, to ensure that the course will appeal to people who have fallen. As well the knowledge and experience of as Professor Julia Newton and Dr James Frith, the course Lead Educators, our Meet the Experts series includes work with the award winning Falls and Syncope Service (FASS) at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary – the largest unit of its kind in Europe, recognised internationally for its innovative work in the field of falls and blackouts.

IMG_2301_lo_resAs the course page went live, and the signup button appeared, James was in Durham with our film crew, making a video about human and primate skeletons.