Longmont Stroke Support Group
The Longmont Stroke Support Group is a resource for stroke survivors, family members and caregivers. Once a month, the group led by Mary Odrzywolski, an occupational therapist at Longmont United Hospital, gets together to talk, share questions, answers, ideas, and feelings with one another. Guests may give presentations, or we may share tips or learning experiences that could help others.
Most people are unaware that stroke is the leading cause of disability in adults, and the third leading cause of death. But when stroke happens to family members and friends, we are suddenly in need of information. Stroke doesn't just affect an individual, it impacts everyone who has a relationship with the person who has had the stroke. Those in the group "walk in your shoes" or deal with similar challenges you face now.
Strokes are devastating. The group provides "inspiration but no therapy," which works because people don't feel self-conscious since they are in a group with other people who can relate. For instance, meals are a social occasion where most people don't think about the act of eating. But after strokes, many stroke victims are embarrassed at the effort it takes to eat.
Often stroke survivors have weakness or paralysis of an arm and leg. Some also have aphasia which impairs the ability to speak (most people have never heard of it). It does not mean they have an impairment in intelligence, rather simply difficulty communicating.
Old age is often associated with having strokes, but young adults are on the rise to have strokes, which occur when blood flow to the brain or a vessel in the brain bursts. Although not clear, physicians believe growing risk factors such as hypertension, smoking, and obesity contribute.
Mary is such a good listener and so much compassion. Mary makes such a difference so that we don't give up hope, helps us regain a sense of encouragement and confidence, and to learn patience, and know that we're not alone.