Excerpted from "Strength In Numbers," Stroke Connection Magazine March/April 2003
Over and over we hear this message from survivors and caregivers. Stroke groups challenge people to get beyond their doctor-imposed, therapist-imposed, family-imposed, and self-imposed limitations.
“No one gets better unless they’re challenged to stretch their limits,” says Patrick Boland, a 15-year stroke survivor and president of the North Texas Stroke Survivors, an association of more than 50 groups. “Unfortunately, we survivors are too often given a ‘cultural bye’ from society: Because we’ve had a stroke, we don’t have to produce results anymore. No one expects anything of us. A good support group provides a place where survivors can be challenged in increments.”
Recent scientific studies are validating the importance of social support in stroke recovery. Social interaction and simply feeling connected to others helps ease the depression and isolation so common after stroke.
Attitude is such a big part of emotional and physical healing, and one of the greatest benefits of a stroke support group is the opportunity to be around people with great attitudes. Survivors often find that the can-do attitude of an effective stroke group is infectious and changes their experiences.
Some of the good that a support group does happens simply by people getting out of their homes. It helps just to see different faces, hear different voices. A group is the perfect antidote to watching TV. But for some survivors, getting out is a problem. Fortunately, Internet support groups are increasingly common and offer many of the benefits of emotional support and information swapping that regular groups offer.Learn how to start a support group in your area