We've been working together to provide this much needed support!
More than 400,000 Canadians live with the long-term effects of a stroke.
That means that there are potentially more than 400,000 caregivers who also need help and support!
Arriving home from hospital and rehab, caregivers and those recovering from stroke have found that they feel as if they are falling off a cliff, as there has seemed to be no support available in our Milton community.
At this moment, there is nothing quite as frightening as the unknown!
March of Dimes has a stroke recovery chapter, established a few years ago, to help serve the needs of our Milton and North Halton communities.
The organization, March of Dimes, from it's long time experience, has described seven steps to stroke recovery that help one re-integrate into a home life and community.
1. Exercise and mobility. Congregate exercise groups have proven to be effective.
2. Communication. More than a third of stroke survivors develop aphasia, a speech and language impairment that can affect listening, speaking, understanding and writing. These present particular challenges for care givers, as well.
3. Social interaction and recreation. Support groups exist for both stroke survivors and caregivers
4. Cognitive challenges. These cognitive effects, sometimes difficult to deal with, may be temporary or permanent.
5. Caregivers support. You are not alone. Community and family must be there for you.
A group of support can be so helpful, too.
6 . Healthy lifestyles practiced and reducing the causes of stress, are very important.
7. System and resource navigation. Having the right services available is critical, and will enhance the stroke survivors recovery and well-being.
This is a call to action. There is a need for community re-integration programs in Milton for stroke survivors and/or those with other neurological conditions. We see the communities around us successfully offering these programs such as Hamilton's YMCA's Neuro Fit for Function program or the "TIME" program (Together in Movement and Exercise) which runs in several communities throughout Ontario. We have stakeholders who are interested in getting these programs up and running in Milton, but we need a community partner who is willing to wade into the realm of therapeutic recreation for persons with disabilities. Stroke affects persons of all ages, not just seniors, so while the Seniors Centre in Milton offers many good programs, these are not necessarily appropriate for our younger stroke survivors and do not cater specifically to the needs of persons post stroke.
While we understand perhaps formalized stroke rehabilitation can not be offered at every single community hospital, community reintegration programming is a low cost, low risk way to provide needed support and maintenance to stroke survivors. These programs have shown in the literature to not only improve physical abilities but also keep depression and social isolation at bay. So very necessary to having a good quality of life!
Milton's March of Dimes Stroke Recovery Chapter meets at Allendale , in Milton Place, on the second Tuesday of each month, from 7 to 8:30 pm. There is a warm welcome to anyone interested in attending.
We hope those who read this letter, will inform others who may be interested in an opportunity to get assistance for the often traumatic life changing experience of a stroke. A sharing of information of supports available and education about stroke, can be very helpful, we have found.
Milton March of Dimes stroke recovery group. Betty Rowley and Anne Ptolemy.
The West GTA stroke network