Pell residents find ‘A Matter of Balance’ through workshop


For the past eight weeks, Marty Church and Anna Murphy were among the Claiborne Pell Manor residents who took what Jessica Lemieux called a “a very, very important and informative class.”

Last Thursday morning, a dozen residents received special certificates from volunteer lecturers Amy Bragger and Geri Lebeau, who conducted the valuable program by way of a grant from the R.I. Department of Health.

The program was part of the Wellness and Education Workshops for Older Adults, which empower Ocean State citizens – especially seniors – to take charge of their health through evidence-based programs in their communities.

“Personally, I love doing these classes,” said Bragger, a registered nurse who volunteers to put on such classes. “It’s officially entitled ‘A Matter of Balance’ and helps countless older adults who experience concerns about falling and restricts their activities.”

Lebeau echoed those sentiments, saying: “This evidence-based program has been shown to reduce the fear of falling while increasing activity levels among participants who complete the eight-week course.”

Each of the eight-week sessions ran two hours in length and was held inside the Pell Manor Community Room.

“The workshops began back in April, and we just completed week eight,” Bragger said. “We’re very pleased with the outcome and confident each of the ladies here enjoyed and appreciated all the lectures and information.”

Topics included improving balance, flexibility and strength and learning how to view falls as controllable.

The grant enabled Lemieux, resident services coordinator for the Johnston Housing Authority, to also partner with the Federal Hill House and bring both Bragger and Lebeau to Pell Manor.

“‘A Matter of Balance’ was a great resource for our tenants,” Lemieux said during last Thursday’s post-graduation luncheon. “Our tenants were taught how to notice fall risk, increase stability and set goals for themselves.”

Lemieux, who heaped words of praise and thanks to Bragger and Lebeau, wanted it known: “I am so proud of all the participants for completing the program. In fact, they have already asked me to book a second six week workshop which will begin in August.”

The proud residents who completed the course are Marie Andrews, Anna Murphy, Pat Waterman, Marty Church, and Inez Mangiacapra, Nancy Agnew, Connie DeConte, Alice Perrotti, Etta Marrocco and Josephine Pursche.


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