RC COA Kayla Paddock

Kayla Paddock, Ravalli County Council On Aging, will facilitate programs to help participants gain balance and live easier with diabetes in Hamilton and Stevensville.

MICHELLE MCCONNAHA michelle.mcconnaha@ravallirepublic.com

The Ravalli County Council On Aging is hosting "Stepping On" programs in Hamilton and Stevensville to gain balance and prevent falls, and a “Diabetes Education Empowerment Program” to live easier with diabetes.

Kayla Paddock is the facilitator for the programs. She began working with Ravalli County Council On Aging in June as the lifeline provider and began doing Meals on Wheels because of her interest in nutrition. She previously attended culinary school and lived with someone with diabetes.

The “Stepping On” program is offered in two sets of seven weeks of classes. One will be held in at St. Francis in Hamilton (the class is full) and the second will be from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, Jan. 10 – Feb. 21, at The Living Centre assisted living facility in Stevensville. Registration currently is being taken for the Stevensville class.

“We facilitate – meaning we get in front of the class, ask questions, and incorporate their needs and knowledge into the class,” Paddock. “Everyone learns from everyone else’s opinions and hands-on training.”

The “Stepping On” class will help participants identify why they fall and different ways to prevent falls, home safety check suggestions, fall prevention products, and a medication review.

The workshop is designed for people who have fallen, have a fear of falling and want more confidence and independence, and sharing personal falls experiences as a group.

Paddock said the “Stepping On” program was developed by Dr. Lindy Clemson of Sydney, Australia, and brought to the United States by Dr. Jane Mahoney, executive director of the Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and other partners.

Paddock said the research has found that people who complete the workshop have a 31 percent reduced rate of falls.

The “Stepping On” class has an exercise portion where a physical therapist shows strengthening and balancing exercises, then works one-on-one with participants.

“He or she will help students see where they are at, where they can be, where they should be and to make sure no one hurts themselves and actually benefit from the class,” Paddock said. “The physical therapist will come back in week six to see how everyone has improved.”

The “Stepping On” program is helpful for any age to gain balance.

“I’m 30 years old and when I was taking the class to become a facilitator I realized I have no balance,” Paddock said. “So, it isn’t just for older people in the area; it is for everybody. So, if someone wants to hang out in the class and participate because they are driving someone else they can do that.”

The Stevensville “Stepping On” program costs $10 for materials.

The “Diabetes Education Empowerment Program” teaches people how to live healthier with diabetes.

“Diabetes education is huge to me,” Paddock said. “I had someone close to me pass away this summer due to complications from diabetes. This class teaches people to live with diabetes and how to care for themselves a little bit better.”

Participants will ask questions and give their input.

“It is learning that everyone has to handle their diabetes in different ways,” Paddock said. “It teaches them to understand diabetes and how it affects body and health, to think about new questions to ask their doctors, how to choose foods wisely, and why taking their medication is important.”

The two six-week programs are free and will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Jan. 10 – Feb. 14, at The Living Centre at 63 Main St. in Stevensville, or 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Jan. 11 – Feb. 15, at St. Francis Pastoral Life Center, 411 So. Fifth St. in Hamilton.

Paddock said she taught the “Diabetes Education Empowerment Program” in Darby in October and the feedback from her students was that the information was easy to incorporate into everyday use.

The diabetes programs are designed for people with Medicare, but anyone with diabetes or pre-diabetes is welcome. The classes are led by trained community members to support, not replace, professional diabetes self-management education.

Register for these classes by calling Paddock at 363-5690.