Standing Tall

logoV3Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and the University of NSW are inviting people in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, who are over the age of 70, to participate in exciting new research study called Standing Tall.

ST-title-image_0“Accidental falls are a major contributor to the burden of disease in older people and a major public health problem” says Dr Kim Delbaere – Senior Research Fellow and Group Leader, NeuRA. “In our overarching aims around identification of common fall risk factors and the development of feasible fall prevention strategies, we adopt a multidisciplinary approach on healthy ageing and falls in older people.”

The Standing Tall study involves performing balance exercises in your home, in your own time, using the Standing Tall program for 24 months. The program is delivered via an iPad, which will be provided by NeuRA for the duration of the study, and the Standing Tall Research Team will visit you at your home to teach you how to use it.

Standing Tall has been designed especially for older adults and it includes some key features to help you improve your balance:
  • Standing Tall is Convenient: You can exercise in your own home, at your own time.
  • Standing Tall is Individualised: The exercises are tailored to your abilities and progressed at your own pace.
  • Standing Tall is Motivating: It gives you feedback on your progress and has a great variety of exercises specially designed to improve your balance!

“Current evidence suggests that older people have to exercise for at least two hours per week to prevent falls, with a strong focus on balance exercises” added Dr Delbaere. “Technology-based solutions have potential to deliver individually-tailored home-based falls prevention programs without increasing the cost of delivering such an intervention.”

To join the study you must:

  • Be 70 years of age or over,
  • Live independently,
  • Be able to walk 20 meters with or without a walking stick,
  • NOT be doing any other balance or leg strengthening exercises for more than 30 minutes a week,
  • NOT have a neurological condition such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis or Dementia; any inner ear conditions that affect your balance; or experience recurrent episodes of dizziness.

If you decide to participate in the study, a research assistant will call you to book you in for your initial assessment. During the assessment your fall risk will be assessed, using measures of strength, balance, vision, reaction time, stepping and walking. You will be asked some questions about your general health, physical activities, medication use and falls history.

Because this is a research study, Dr Delbaere’s team will need to assess the efficacy of the Standing Tall program. This means that there will be two groups of people participating in the program, an exercise group and a control group.

Exercise Group: This group will receive an iPad with the Standing Tall balance program in it; and you will perform the exercises in your home for the duration of the study (24 months).

Control Group: This group will receive an iPad with weekly informational newsletters on how to stay active and prevent falls, but will not receive the Standing Tall balance exercises. Instead you will be asked to continue performing your activities as usual.

You have 50% chance of being in either group however, no matter which group you are allocated to, you will be reassessed at 6, 12 and 24 month intervals to see if your scores have changed. You will also be asked to fill in a weekly falls diary through the iPad for the duration of the study.

The Standing Tall Research Team can be contacted at any time throughout the study if you have any questions or need assistance. There is also a Facebook group set up for participants to interact during the study.

To join, or for more information please contact the Standing Tall Research Team:
Phone: (02) 9399 1888
email: standingtall@neura.edu.au