The vision of Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) is to use the latest research evidence to prevent falls and help people age healthier. Healthy ageing is influenced by the presence of medical conditions, injuries and ‘normal’ age-related changes. Accidental falls are a major contributor to the burden of disease in older people and a major public health problem. Healthy ageing calls for cognitively, physically and socially active lifestyles
Evidence behind the program
The StandingTall team, led by NeuRA’s Professor Kim Delbaere, has worked with over 500 community-dwelling older people since 2015, implementing a home-based balance exercise program delivered through a tablet computer. The program has been a success with our participants, evidenced by unprecedented levels of sustained adherence to prescribed balance exercises over two years.
StandingTall is an engaging balance training program that is designed specifically for use by older people. It was developed using the latest insights in geriatric and translational neuroscience, and employs technology to deliver an effective program that improves balance and reduces fall risk.
We are continuing our research program to enhance our understanding of what does and does not work. In our overarching aims around identification of common fall risk factors and the development of sustainable fall prevention strategies, we adopt a multidisciplinary approach by empowering older people to adopt programs that facilitate ageing healthier and preventing falls.
How do we encourage active and healthy lifestyles?
The best way of getting someone to start with an active and healthy lifestyle, and stick to it, is by making it easy and enjoyable. This is at the heart of all we do.
StandingTall includes: effective, individually-tailored exercise prescription to improve balance ability and reduce fall risk in older people; and behavioural change techniques to enhance exercise uptake and improve long-term adherence, with optimised usability for older people to use independently at home. By combining technology with research in fall prevention, StandingTall provides a radically new solution to support older people to stay independent for longer and lower healthcare-related costs caused by falls.
About the team
Our team is led by Professor and Principal Research Scientist Kim Delbaere. Prof Delbaere is the main inventor of StandingTall and a leading international researcher in the area of accidental falls in older people.
Kim is supported in her quest by an excellent team of postdoctoral researchers, research assistants and higher degree research students.
Dr Morag Taylor is a Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow at NeuRA. She is a physiotherapist by background, has worked extensively in Aged Care Rehabilitation and has expertise in fall risk assessment, exercise prescription and dementia research and care. Morag has completed a small trial asssessing the feasibility using StandingTall in older people with dementia.
Dr Kim van Schooten is a Postdoctoral Fellow at NeuRA, supported by the Human Frontiers Science Program. She is a human movement scientist by background, and has extensive experience in fall risk prediction and ambulatory monitoring of mobility in older people. Her research focusses on the underlying mechanisms of balance impairments with ageing to improve our understanding of why falls occur and to reveal targets for the prevention of mobility impairments and falls.