Peer support is such a vital part of stroke rehab. It's a great place, friendly and safe environment to meet and have a cup of tea with other stroke survivors who are in a similar situation, share common experiences and not to feel so alone. Stroke survivors can experience a long road to recovery. The important thing to remember is that you're not alone!
In the last 3 months we've been forced to change the way socialize and access forms of emotional support.
As the economy begins to re-open, many of the restaurants, hotels, and community centers that were commonly used for peer support groups will have restrictions as they adhere to the physical distancing measures still in place.
If there have been any silver linings through this pandemic, some might argue the adoption of digital technology with the likes of Zoom and other video communication becoming the "new normal".
Chatting with someone face to face over a cup of tea or creamy pint of Guinness can never be replicated, but to try and help during these challenging times EnableUs recently launched virtual support groups for stroke survivors. We're offering a safe place to talk through challenges, share feelings and concerns, and learn about resources that are available. The virtual groups are held using Zoom, and participation is free and easy. Attendance may be done so via either telephone (voice only) or video call.
What's unique with launching a virtual support group is that we have an opportunity to connect survivors across boarders. We've partnered with Different Strokes for Different Folks, a Donegal based support group, both Cork and West Cork Stroke support groups, and an American stroke support group out of Connecticut.
Our first virtual session was held on Thursday June 18th and had participants join from Ireland, UK, and America.
Everyone has a story. Sometimes from the outside looking in, we may envy or pity someone else's situation... but we never know the full story...unless they choose to divulge it. It's easy to share the good parts of our lives... the fun, the laughter, the happily ever after but when we get raw and honest, it's hard to connect with others in the group. But we try.
In person or online...someone can relate..someone is inspired...someone feels like they're no longer alone...someone feels encouraged. They're given hope.
My hope is to give that hope to others.
To make a difference.
Larry Masterson, stroke survivor and founder of Different Strokes for Different Strokes.
You can watch and listen to Larry's full story and others on our Survivor Stories page.
It's been brilliant to connect with survivors and hear their stories. Especially giving a platform to new stroke survivors, who are trying to adapt to their new life in midst of a pandemic. David O'Brien is a recent survivor and shared his thoughts on what the group has meant to him since joining the virtual group.
The one thing a stroke does is isolate you, despite having a loving and caring partner, this is my journey, and it's full of fear, doubt and anxiety. Since joining the stroke survivor zoom sessions, meeting fellow stroke survivors, who are on a similar journey, I feel less alone, as each member shares their story, offer tips and ideas. I feel more like a team member, everyone in the team has the same goal, to realise the best possible recovery and to be able to function, participate and and contribute in society. I have been given tips, tutorials and access to rehab tools and facilities I would otherwise have been unaware of.
Dave O'Brien, Stroke THRIVER
You can learn more and join our next virtual session by RSVP'ing on the virtual events page.
Over the past few decades, the incidence of stroke in working age individuals has risen at an alarming rate. Young stroke survivors may face different challenges than older individuals who have had strokes, including learning to cope with role and life-stage changes such as employment, raising children and driving.
The Young Enabled Stroke Support group (YESS) was created with exactly those issues in mind. YESS offers virtual services for young stroke survivors. Specifically, the group addresses the needs, roles, lifestyles and goals of the younger adult to promote socialization, quality of life and participation in life roles.
Young Survivor groups will always be beneficial. We're in a different place to older survivors in the respect of going back to work etc and that can be daunting and sometimes you can't go back to the job you did. It's really important as a young survivor to chat to others who may be in the same position.
Carolyn Brady, stroke survivor and fitness instructor.
You can read more about Carolyn's story in a recent Yorkshire Post article.
Some of the topics we'll be discussing in our YESS virtual sessions include:
Sex and relationships
Stroke education and prevention
Technology and adaptive equipment
Communication and socialization
Exercise and fitness challenges
You can learn more and join our next session by visiting the YESS page.