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Why You Should Join a Parkinson's or Stroke Support Group

stroke support group

Living with Parkinson's Disease or recovering from a stroke can be a challenging time for anyone affected. The support from family, friends, caregivers, and others who may be suffering from the same situation can help you navigate these journeys with a sense of community and comfort. At Franciscan Healthcare, we offer support groups made specifically for Parkinson's Disease and stroke survivors as well as their family, friends, and caregivers. And the best part? They're absolutely free. 

What is Parkinson’s Disease?  

Parkinson's Disease is a gradual neurological disorder that affects your movement. It usually starts with minor tremors in one hand, then over time it turns into muscle stiffness or slower movement, making it hard to complete everyday tasks. Other common symptoms include loss of balance and changes in speech and writing. Parkinson's Disease results from a decline of nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine, a chemical messenger necessary for coordinated movement. While there is no cure for Parkinson's Disease, treatments like medication, therapy, and lifestyle adjustments can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. 

What is a Stroke? 

A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted, leading to damage or death of brain cells. There are two main types of strokes: ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. The symptoms of a stroke can be different depending on where the brain is affected, but they usually include sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, issues speaking or understanding speech, confusion, trouble walking, severe headache, and vision problems. Treatments may include medication, surgery, rehabilitation, and lifestyle changes. 

What is a Support Group?  

A support group is where people who share a common experience meet up and share their stories, emotions, and advice. These groups offer emotional support by creating a safe and understanding space, allowing members to connect with one another. Support groups also teach coping skills, treatment options, and other resources that encourage participants to take an active role in managing their situation. By creating a sense of belonging, support groups normalize the experience and break any stigma surrounding the topic. Support groups can be beneficial for one’s well-being by connecting with others who truly understand their circumstances. 

Parkinson's Disease Exercise Program 

Exercise is a great tool to manage symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. Regular exercise can improve mobility and balance, making everyday tasks easier and reducing the risk of falls. 

Franciscan Healthcare offers an exercise program designed specifically for people living with Parkinson's. This program is about empowering participants to reclaim their independence and improve their lives.  

Led by experienced professionals, these sessions focus on improving mobility, enhancing motor skills, and promoting overall well-being. Participants complete exercises and activities that target gross and fine motor skills. 

We also offer Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT), both big and loud. These techniques focus on enhancing respiratory functions, articulation, and voice function, empowering individuals to work through difficulties presented by Parkinson's Disease.   

Support for Caregivers 

Caregivers play an important role in the lives of those living with Parkinson's Disease. That's why Franciscan’s support extends to their caregivers as well. Franciscan Healthcare offers a support group for caregivers hosted at the same time as our Exercise Program.  

Being a caregiver can be a demanding job. Providing a dedicated space for caregivers to share experiences, receive guidance, and find comfort in the company of others facing similar challenges can help relieve feelings of stress or anxiety. 

Stroke Support Group 

Every stroke survivor's journey is unique to them. That's why our support group focuses on providing a well-rounded education and access to resources that address the diverse needs of our participants. Whether it's coping strategies, rehabilitation techniques, or community resources, our support group equips attendees with the tools they need to navigate life after a stroke successfully. Whether you’re a stroke survivor, a family member, friend, or caregiver, this group is open to all who are affected. The group meets six times a year, with notice given in advance of when the meeting will be held and what the activities will include.  

Join Us Today 

Whether you're living with Parkinson's Disease, recovering from a stroke, or supporting a loved one on their journey, Franciscan Healthcare is here for you. Our support groups and exercise programs offer a lifeline of support, guidance, and empowerment. With our commitment to providing these services free of charge, there's no reason to wait. Contact us today and take the first step towards a brighter, healthier future.