Stroke Support Group Helps Survivor
Genesis offers a stroke support group to help stroke survivors, family members and caregivers share ideas and learn from others. John Gelardo rarely misses the support group and started attending soon after he heard about it.
John suffered a stroke in November 2011, spent about four weeks in the hospital and had inpatient and outpatient therapy. He has limited use of his left arm and a drop foot. “There was a lot of stuff I didn’t know how to do,” John said. “I was excited about going to the group because I wanted to learn from other stroke survivors how to do everyday things – like getting dressed or tying your shoes with the use of one arm,” he said.
Learning From Others
John learned about shoes with fabric fasteners, drawstring pants and peeling potatoes with one hand, and now he inspires others. He makes and sells crafts, drives a car and bakes. “There are a lot of things I used to do before that I can still do. I just do it differently,” John said.
John appreciates learning and sharing practical ideas with other stroke survivors and also enjoys the hands-on activities. During a meeting the group learned how to garden in raised beds. “I didn’t think I would be able to garden ever again, but I was glad I could learn to grow plants in raised beds.” Another meeting featured art therapy. “We did drawings of where we were in life before our stroke and where we are in life now,” he said.
He has been able to improve his life thanks to the practical pointers from group members. “I love going to the group and talking to people who can share ideas – like where to buy things locally that help me do my daily activities,” John said. “I appreciate sharing ideas with others who understand. You don’t feel different in this group. We all have similar challenges.” Sharing those challenges helps stroke survivors and their family members learn how to live each day to its fullest.