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BCC Stay Active and Independent for Life Classes To Return
Staff Reports ,
04:15PM / Monday, November 21, 2022
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After Berkshire Community College's first Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) program was held last spring, the College's Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program decided to offer it again this semester. 
 
The free series of classes, designed for people 65 and older interested in feeling better and staying active, is held twice a week for 12 weeks, according to a press release.
 
Twelve participants are enrolled, including five who returned from the spring program.
 
SAIL is an evidence-based program that partners with educational institutions, community centers and health care facilities. 
 
"We found the participants had fallen less, felt more confident increasing their activity levels, wanted to share and continue this course with friends and felt more satisfied with their lives," PTA Program Coordinator Michele Darroch said. 
 
After administering standardized testing that assesses strength, endurance, balance and agility — all of which have been found to correlate with risk of fall — all 12 participants saw improvements in these areas.
 
After administering standardized testing that assesses strength, endurance, balance and agility — all of which have been found to correlate with risk of fall — all 12 participants saw improvements in these areas.
 
"I'm 80 years old. I signed up for SAIL initially because I had had a couple of falls and was worried about my balance," said SAIL participant Lee McClelland. "This is not a one-size-fits-all class, so any fitness level can succeed in improving. I noticed improvement after a few weeks."
 
At BCC, instructional training was provided for all second-year PTA students, three alumni and one faculty member, and the students have been teaching components of the class this semester.
 
Darroch said she is finishing a "train the trainer" course in an effort to increase the number of SAIL instructors in the Berkshires. 
 
"The long-term goal is that some of the alumni will offer additional courses elsewhere in the community," she said.
 
In late October, Darroch and her colleagues presented their research at the American Physical Therapy Association Educational Leadership Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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