Needs of older people becoming spinal cord injured

"Every day is really challenging, physically and mentally."


Adjustment to life with spinal cord injury is a huge challenge practically and emotionally for over 50s


Over 50's


Older people who are affected by spinal cord injury have specific support needs which need to be addressed to ensure positive adjustment post injury.

Older people are much more likely than younger people to be discharged to residential care rather than home after their injury. This results in the devastation of splitting up families. 

Families and/or health professionals can have lower expectations or aspirations for the older person becoming spinal cord injured, and this will affect their rehabilitation.

In 2011 Back Up conducted research into the needs of people injured over the age of 50. People told us that building confidence and independence, having a support network of others in a similar situation; enabling participation and more positive feelings about the future were very much needed. We concluded that the aims of Back Up services are very important to those injured over the age of 50 just as they are for younger people.

We need to keep working to ensure that all our services are inclusive, and are percieved as inclusive. We will continue to develop provision of powerchair skills sessions in hospitals and on courses, and to continue to diversify our team including more wheelchair skills trainers and mentors over the age of 50.

In 2012 we successfully piloted our first course specifically targetted at an older age group. In 2013 we will run two such courses and we are also exploring the options for courses with new activities such as arts, crafts and horticulture, which were of particular interest to a number of the people we spoke to in our research.

Read Back Up's Over 50's research report here