Senior Scene June 26,2017

June is national Stroke Awareness Month in Canada.  Nine of every ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for stroke.  Stroke is a major life event for you and those close to you. The common goal for everyone — you, your care partner, your family, your friends and your healthcare team — is your recovery. Recovery means regaining as much function and independence as possible. This may mean a life different than the one you had before stroke. Part of the recovery process is building a life with your current abilities that includes things that you find meaningful and fulfilling.
Recovery can take a lot of work and has its ups and downs. Reaching out for support can help. There are three things that you can do to make your journey easier:
• Be informed – know the facts. Be aware of best practices for care and how you can be involved in your care and recovery.
• Be part of the process.  Make your voice heard when it comes to setting goals and care planning.  Ask questions and get answers.
• Do what needs to be done to get better.  Practice your exercises. Take your medication. Make lifestyle changes. Achieve your goals.
There are three things that you and each person close to you can do to help with your recovery:
• Communicate. Talk positively, clearly and practically. Listen carefully. Always consider how the other person is feeling.
• Support each other. Know what type of support you want and ask for it. Is it practical help? Is it encouragement? Is it helping figure out new ways to do things?
• Reach out. It is a big help if there is a broader support network of friends outside of your family and your care partner. Sometimes, just knowing they are there — even if you do not need to turn to them — can be helpful.
Care partners and family members should watch themselves and one another for signs of burnout. Look for strategies to reduce your load and take a break. Reach out for support to family, friends, support groups or programs, and the healthcare team if you see signs like these:
• feeling unusually tense or edgy
• being angry with the stroke survivor or others
• feeling sad, tearful or dissatisfied with life in general
• feeling very tired and saying things like, “It is too much”
• no longer seeing friends
• losing interest or energy for activities you enjoy
• getting sick more often and taking an unusually long time to recover (lowered immunity)
• showing an increased need for drugs or using alcohol too much
• feeling out of control, with no sense of how to regain that control
• having trouble sleeping or having disturbing dreams
• not eating well
On June 21st through the generosity of Quinte Mall, Community Care for South Hastings and Quinte District Rehabilitation hosted a Stroke Awareness Day.  If you happened to miss this display, you can contact Lorraine Pyle at 613-969-0130 ext 5207 and she will be happy to provide some information about our Stroke Survivor Support groups, Caregivers for Stroke Survivor groups, and our Couples support group.  All the Stroke Support groups are excellent venues for information, compassionate support, and confidential conversations.