Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Newcastle University's online course, Ageing Well: Why Older People Fall. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds My name is Madeleine Elliott. I’m 68 years old. And in my working life, I was a general nurse and a psychiatric nurse. I stood on a dining chair one evening to get something out of a high cupboard in the kitchen. My husband wasn’t in. I was there alone, well, except for my Doberman dog. And I stood on the chair, got something out of the cupboard, and as I stepped back to get off the chair, I didn’t quite take my foot off. And my toe clipped the edge of the chair, and I fell backwards– flat on my back. And I seemed to give myself what I’m calling spinal shock, because as I lay there, I realised I couldn’t feel my legs.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds And I was lying there trying to be sensible, thinking what am I going to do? I can’t get up. It was the days before mobile phones or handsets you could take off the phone. And I didn’t know how I would get to the hall to call for help. And my Doberman was thinking this is a good game and licking around my face. And it was hard work to think what I was going to do. However, after about 15 minutes, the pins and needles started and so did the pain. And I was able to drag myself to the work top and pull myself up from there. The next time I fell, sometime later, I went out on an extremely windy day.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds When I say windy, it was really gale force. And I went to open the farmyard gate. This I did– the wind took the gate out of my hand. I should have let go when it pulled. I didn’t. I tried to hang on, and I was pulled over and fell and was mud from head to ankles. I had to drag myself across to the gate and use it to pull myself up off the ground and waddle my way into the house. The third fall I had was walking around the garden where we had paving slabs to walk on around the lawn, and I was wearing mules– not good-fitting shoes.

Skip to 2 minutes and 22 seconds And I stood half on the edge of the paving slab, half on the lawn, and I just tipped over. My husband was around then and was able to help me up. So all of these occasions could have been avoided had I given my situation some forethought.

Madeleine Elliott

Madeleine is a retired nurse. She retired in 1991, since then, she has done a range of volunteer work and is an active member of VOICE.

In this short video Madeleine shares her story of a number of falls she has had.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Ageing Well: Why Older People Fall

Newcastle University

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: