Stroke Support Group: November 20, 2011

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in this country, killing about 137,000 people a year. It’s also a leading cause of long-term disability.

“I spent eight months in the hospital for the second one, they couldn’t get me to walk,” says Geraldine Combs.

Geraldine had three strokes and spent time in a wheelchair. She continues to work on her health but recognizes her strokes left a lasting impact.

“It does affect your brain, it will take part of your memory away,” says Geraldine.

Recovering from a stroke is both physical and mental. The body may be forever changed and that requires an emotional adjustment. It’s part of the healing process people don’t have to go through alone.

Lee Memorial Health System offers a support group for both stroke patients and their caregivers.

“Sometimes we see people who can walk and talk and they look like they don’t have a stroke but they have a lot of cognitive deficits. Some people won’t be able to use one side of their arm or the other. Some people its just speech,” says Sarah Simon, a stroke support therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.

The group meets weekly at the Wellness Center of Cape Coral.

“We’ll usually do exercises and we’ll work on their speech a little bit. And their memory as well,” says Simon.

It’s part physical therapy, and part mental therapy.

“A lot of people are really thankful for the group and most everybody comes every Tuesday. And it helps them be able to deal with what they’re going through because it is a big change in their life,” says Simon.

For the more than 4 million people who survived a stroke, it’s about finding livable solutions.