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The Importance of Community after a Stroke or TBI

Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much

-Helen Keller

Community & Stroke/TBI

After a stroke, the road to recovery can be long and challenging. It’s important to have a strong support system to help you through the ups and downs of the recovery process. Building and maintaining a supportive community can be a key factor in your recovery journey, and can help you to feel connected and supported as you work to regain strength and independence.

According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and a leading cause of long-term disability. It’s estimated that about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year, and about 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, which occur when a blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain.

Research has shown that social support can be an important factor in stroke recovery.

One study found that stroke survivors who had strong social support had better outcomes, including higher levels of functional independence and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Another study published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity found that participation in group exercise programs was associated with improved physical function, quality of life, and social support for stroke survivors.

 

There are many ways to build and maintain a supportive community after a stroke. Here are a few ideas:

  • Join a support group:
    • Support groups can be a great way to connect with others who have had similar experiences. You can find support groups through your local hospital, rehabilitation center, or online.
    • The American Stroke Association makes finding a support group easy! Submit your details in their search engine and contact the support group facilitators directly through the contact details provided. 
  • Connect with others online:
    • There are many online communities and resources available for stroke survivors. You can join forums or social media groups to connect with others who have had strokes and share your experiences.
    • Some common social forums are on Facebook, Reddit, My Stroke Guide, or Stroke Net
      • Any medical or rehab advice or practices should be discussed with your physician or therapist prior to implementing
  • Participate in activities:
    • Getting out and doing things that you enjoy can be a great way to meet new people and build a supportive community. Consider joining a club, taking a class, or volunteering in your community.
    • Community Centers, local churches, or libraries are all great places to start! Many will have information on ways to connect to other communities and engagement opportunties. 

Our classes are also a great way to build and maintain a supportive community after a stroke!

Our experienced instructors create a welcoming and supportive environment where you can connect with others who have had similar experiences and work together to improve your skills and reach your recovery goals. In addition to building a supportive community, our classes also help you to develop important skills in your recovery journey, such as flexibility, strength, and balance.

Mind-body practices also can be helpful in managing or coping with anxiety and stress. 

 

References: Stroke Association Fact SheetA systematic review of the impact of stroke on social support and social networks; World Stroke Organization: Community After Stroke