Stroke, for most people, is a life-changing event in life. Day-to-day activities may seem major obstacles to the stroke survivors. Writing a letter, going to the market, talking to people over telephone and commuting to work may be difficult to perform. Besides affecting the survivor, the family members may also face difficulties ranging from financial burden, strained relationships, frustration, anger and guilt feeling towards the survivor. All these difficulties hinder rehabilitation and recovery of the survivor following stroke.
Support groups allow stroke survivors to help themselves by sharing their experiences with other survivors and learn from others. They also provide a source for emotional and psychological support to survivors who often feel lonely and left out. They also allow the family members and caregivers to share concerns and help each other and bring people together with a sense of common purpose. The survivors and family members often feel empowered because of the warmth, acceptance and emotional support provided by the support group. The stigma associated with disability is eliminated when the survivors connect with other survivors with similar disabilities and this creates a positive attitude to face the problems together. The support groups also help in fundraising to support people in need and further research in the management of stroke.
Some of the popular support groups are
- The American Heart Association (AHA) is one of the oldest, largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Founded in 1924, AHA now includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters working to eliminate these diseases. The AHA also funds innovative research, advocates for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to save and improve lives. The American Stroke Association was created as a division in 1997 to bring together the organization’s stroke-related activities. (http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/)
- The United States National Stroke Association provides stroke education and programs to stroke survivors, caregivers, and the healthcare community. (http://www.stroke.org)
- The Aphasia and Stroke Association of India, a nonprofit service organization, is dedicated to increasing public awareness of Aphasia and Stroke. It is committed to promoting the care of individuals with stroke and/or aphasia through educating the public, training families, and assisting with the networking of affected individuals. It is also dedicated to increasing resources that will help improve the quality of life for people with stroke and/or aphasia. (http://www.aphasiastrokeindia.com/index.php)
- The Brain Aneurysm Foundation is a nonprofit organization solely dedicated to providing critical awareness, education, support and research funding to reduce the incidence of brain aneurysm ruptures. (http://www.bafound.org)
- The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation (TAAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bettering the lives, support networks, and medical care of those affected by aneurysm and other vascular malformations of the brain. It is an all-volunteer organization run by survivors, caregivers, and medical professionals. (http://www.taafonline.org)