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Summer 2011

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Find Virtual Support Online

Tap Into Survivor Support from Your Home Computer

By Elizabeth Witherspoon, Phd

Everyone who has survived a stroke needs support. Besides medical care, rehabilitation or assistance with mobility, they also need emotional support. They need to talk with others who have been there and understand what they are going through. Sometimes they just need someone to listen—or even someone to laugh with.

Physical support groups are a great way to connect with others having similar experiences. However, sometimes they are not available in a location nearby. Or, if they are, the schedule doesn’t fit yours. Travel arrangements might make it difficult to participate as well.

Thankfully, with a computer and Internet connection there are ways to find support with groups of other stroke survivors online. Here are a few reasons why online support groups can be beneficial:

They are available 24/7. You can post a question or concern anytime and retrieve messages at your convenience.

You can take all the time you need to compose a message in a stress-free environment, or even have a caregiver type it.

If you are living with aphasia, you can express your voice online.

Physical location doesn’t matter. You can connect with survivors all over the world. You won’t miss out on encouragement and resources just because you might live in a rural area or small town.

The wider reach online increases the chances that you’ll meet someone who can answer your specific question or know just what you are going through. You might also find resources that aren’t available in your local area.

Here are a few online support groups worth looking into:

National Stroke Association—stroke.org/support_groups. This online support group registry is an easy-to-use resource for finding support groups across the U.S. The registry is continually expanding and being updated in order to connect you with a support group that best fits your needs.

Aphasia Corner Blog—aphasiacorner.com/blog.
While this site is not a support group, it is a blog with weekly updates about a range of topics from inspirational stories to discussions of specific resources which you can search through and comment on. The owner is also building an online service for speech rehab for people with aphasia. The service is currently in the testing stages and he expects to have it up by the end of the summer.

Daily Strength—dailystrength.org. This site links to more than 500 support groups for every health issue imaginable. Besides a group for stroke, it also has groups for aphasia and aneurysm. There is an alphabetical search box by health issue to find more.

The Stroke Network—strokenetwork.org.
This organization is a network of websites that provides access to over 30 topic areas. There are chat groups, blogs, articles and many other ways to connect with other survivors.

Elizabeth Witherspoon, PhD, is a freelance health and science writer based in Durham, N.C.

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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.

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