Lifetime Achievement Award for Charity clinical advisor

27 Nov 2017

Professor Dawn Skelton

Professor Dawn Skelton

A professor who has dedicated her life to helping older people become more active has received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her pioneering work.

Dawn Skelton, Professor of Ageing and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University and longstanding supporter of the National Osteoporosis Society, is the 2017 recipient of the British Geriatrics Society Marjory Warren Lifetime Achievement Award.

In her role as an exercise physiologist, Professor Skelton has campaigned tirelessly for exercise to be recognised as a valid method of falls prevention in frailer older people.

She has worked with the NHS to embed evidence-based practices to reduce falls in older people through exercise and has been a contributor to the work of the National Osteoporosis Society for many years; she is currently working with the Charity as Chair of its new project aiming to standardise information given to people with osteoporosis about the best and most effective exercises to safely strengthen bones.

Professor Skelton said: "Falls are not an inevitable consequence of ageing but are often a sign of failing health and a transition to frailty and dependence. If people at risk of falls are able to access the right interventions to improve their confidence, their physical abilities, and their independence, they can often stay in their own homes for longer. Fear of falling often limits activities such that they become lonely and isolated, so these interventions are vital to maintain quality of life."

"Falls affect everyone, and it's everyone's business. It costs the NHS billions a year, however, it's the cost to the individual and their family and carers that really matter. A strength and balance programme can literally work miracles on confidence, steadiness and stability, changing a person's life. I encourage everyone to test their own balance by standing on one leg for 30 seconds, if you cannot do this without putting your foot down or holding on, you need balance training."

The British Geriatrics Society, who presented Professor Skelton with the award, is the professional association of doctors practising geriatric medicine, nurses, therapists, researchers, GPs, and others engaged in the specialist care of older people.

Professor Skelton added: "I am very honoured to receive this award. I have many Geriatrician colleagues to thank who have helped in my mission.”

Fizz Thompson, Clinical Director for the National Osteoporosis Society, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Dawn is receiving this prestigious award, giving her much-deserved recognition for her ongoing commitment to falls prevention in older people. The National Osteoporosis society is immensely grateful for her unfaltering support and hard work over these past years, particularly her contribution to the Nutrition and Lifestyle Forum and her ongoing work as Chair of our Strong Straight and Steady exercise project.”

For more information on exercise for strong bones see our booklet.

 

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