Stroke Support Groups – Why are they needed- and invitation to Join One !

StrokeSupportGroup

A Stroke changes EVERYTHING !

And I mean that literally. This holds NOT only for the Stroke Survivor but for all connected. Things which one took for granted – getting up in the morning, speaking, dressing, going to work, supporting one’s family, shopping- indeed any aspect of life you can think of- changes dramatically,perhaps within a few hours ! A stroke is a life changing event that no one ever wants or is ever prepared for.

Added to the external, physical effects are the emotional and other upheavals a Stroke Survivor and his / her family are going through. Roles are dramatically changed, financial and job situations need rethinking. Relationships get stressed with emotions of love and responsibility conflicting with those of anger, guilt and helplessness.

Not only all these hinder the recovery of the Stroke Survivor, they make life very difficult for even the caregivers and loved ones.

In these circumstances, Stroke Support Groups can play a vital role – indeed be pivotal to the Recovery and general well-being of the Stroke Survivor and the family by providing much needed forums for connecting , sharing , learning and mutual support within the members’ capabilities. Sometimes, even an understanding person to vent one’s feelings to can easen up the burden a lot !

Even scientific studies validate the importance of social support in stroke recovery. To quote from one :

” High levels of social support were associated with faster and more extensive recovery of functional status after stroke. Social support may be an important prognostic factor in recovery from stroke. Socially isolated patients may be at particular risk for poor outcome.”

To highlight, here are some benefits of Stroke Support Groups :

Social Interactions

Any interaction, learnings and support from people  who are facing similar situations can only be helpful and welcome. More so when there are no financial strings attached, just a genuine empathy and concern . Social interaction and simply feeling connected to others helps ease the depression and isolation so common after stroke.

Attitude

We all read / know that ” Attitude determines your altitude”. Nowhere may this be truer than in case of Stroke Survivors , their families and Caregivers. The Stroke Survivors are often very highly confused, disoriented and depressed. Sometimes all this is exacerbated by the side effects of drugs they are taking, for, amongst other things,  minimizing precisely such emotional states !

For the family, the initial impact of the stroke is nearly always shock , disbelief and fear, particularly as the stroke is often unexpected. Some people could have been very close to dying and that itself is very upsetting and difficult for their family to come to terms with. 

A positive attitude in such situations is essential and plays a very important role in emotional and physical healing. A Stroke Support Group can – and indeed is required to have – people with great attitudes . Which is an opportunity for all in the Group to be infected by the same . For some that by itself can be another – albeit positive – life changing experience.

Just Getting Out !

Even simply people getting out can be therapeutic and relieving. Rather than just sitting at home, getting out to see different faces, hear different voices , experiences and opinions can be a change for the better for all.

For some Stroke Survivors , however, this may be difficult – or not possible at all – Internet Support Groups can play a role here and provide many of the benefits of emotional support and information exchange at least.

STRETCH !

A Stroke Survivor is generally expected to be passive / less active. Society expects them to be less  productive and almost consciously imposes limits. Some of which could be even imposed by the Doctor, Therapist and indeed the love and concern of the family !

A positive attitude, people with empathy and similar experiences to share is the perfect recipe for both Survivors and Caregivers to challenge and stretch their limits. A Stroke Support Group provides such an environment.

And indeed. the ONLY way to get better is to challenge one’s limits, incrementally and daily ! Not only in Stroke, btw….

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From all above the importance of Stroke Support Groups is clear. Indeed there are many very active ones in Europe and US ( See our Links page for some ).

But in India – with very low awareness of stroke as is ( In a 2013 Survey, 48 % of the respondents had NO idea what Stroke meant !! ) the situation is dismal.

We hope to rectify this situation. As a first step, we are setting up a Stroke Support Forum here. If you are a Stroke Survivor, Family Member or Caregiver ( formal or informal ) you care invited and are welcome to join in WITHOUT any obligations. I am confident that together we can help Stroke survivors in their rehabilitation besides making their life- and that of their family – as much easier as circumstances may permit.

If you have any advise, suggestion or thoughts please comment in the box hereunder. Many thanks for being here and for reading through !

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