Sunday, January 13, 2019

Service Animals


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic launched a new resource for Stroke Support Groups called The Booster Box. Included in the box is everything a leader needs to conduct a support group meeting for up to 24 attendees.

To receive your free Booster Box please call our office at 
309-688-5450 or email info@strokecamp.org to request yours. 

Subscriptions will be available for purchase and information will be inside your free box.  

Show Me The Booster Box
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The following is from the Summer 2018 Stroke Connection 
web site: 
http://strokeconnection.strokeassociation.org
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Service Animals


We interviewed Mary Burch, Ph.D., director of the Good Canine Program at the American Kennel Club, and Michelle Williams, public relations coordinator at Canine Companions for Independence. Canine Companions for Independence is a national, non-profit organization that provides expertly-trained assistance dogs to children, adults and veterans free of charge.
SC: In what ways might a service animal help a stroke survivor?
Dr. Mary Burch
MB: People who have had strokes may have mobility issues, problems with memory and fine motor difficulties. Service dogs can be trained to help a person who has had a stroke by assisting with mobility — large dogs can steady the person who is wobbly; or the service dog can encourage the person to get up and walk — it’s hard to turn down a dog who wants to go outside. Service dogs can be trained to get things that have been dropped and bring them to the person, and they can be used as a part of a fine-motor physical rehab program. For example, the person with a stroke can squeeze an exercise ball, which is a boring task. They could also have a daily goal of brushing the dog, and this becomes functional rehab. Sometimes, after a stroke, the person tends to stay in the house. A service dog can provide companionship.
MW: Others may benefit from incorporating a trained service animal into therapeutic or rehabilitative exercises to help the individual meet their goals, whether they relate to motor control, speech, or ADLs. Individuals who use manual wheelchairs may also benefit from a service animal’s assistance in propelling the chair.
SC: How does someone go about getting a service animal?


Michelle Williams
MW: There are many organizations that provide service animals and interested parties can look at the Assistance Dogs International (ADI)website, where ADI-accredited organizations are listed. To apply for a service dog from Canine Companions for Independence, the first step is to learn more about our services and our assistance dogs on our website. Then, interested parties can submit a request for an application online to begin the application process.

SC: What are the potential barriers to getting a service animal?
MW: Sometimes, cost and wait times can be a barrier for people interested in receiving a service animal. Canine Companions candidates are placed on a waitlist ranging from a year to two years. Canine Companions provides its expertly-trained assistance dogs completely free of charge to people with disabilities. It is important for interested parties to carefully consider how they will meet the dog’s needs including feeding, toileting, exercise, grooming, training, covering the cost of veterinary care, and making the commitment to stay in regular contact with the organization for the duration of the placement.
MB: A common barrier is cost since the cost of a service dog can be from $10,000 to $30,000. Some agencies will advertise there is no charge for the dog. While this often means they don’t make the person with the disability pay for the dog, they may expect that there will be a fundraising campaign to raise the money that covers costs related to training and care. In cases where the dog is “free” to the service dog user, and costs are to be covered by community fundraisers or sponsorships, there is typically an agreement on the front end that specifies if the money must be paid before the dog is delivered.
Finding an available dog that is trained can be a problem. Also, if the person who has had a stroke is living alone or is spending a good part of the day alone, caring for a dog might be difficult.
Housing can also be an issue if the person lives in a no-pets apartment or a facility that cannot meet the needs of the dog, for example, no yard.
SC: Can emotional support animals be good for survivors, too?
MB: If the person who has had a stroke mainly needs company and a dog to spend time with, an emotional support animal might be fine. However, these dogs are not trained to perform specific tasks, so it should be understood that their primary job is to provide comfort and companionship.
MW: Some individuals may find that they would benefit from the relationship with an animal but do not need assistance in public spaces or through specific trained tasks. In this case, they may be interested in researching the options of getting a pet or emotional support animal. Canine Companions for Independence does not train or place emotional support animals; generally speaking, a good first step is to research local animal shelters or breed rescue programs.
This information is provided as a resource to our readers. The tips, products or resources listed or linked to have not been reviewed or endorsed by the American Stroke Association.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Doing Good Work in Georgia


www.strokecamp.org



http://www.unitedstrokealliance.org/


United Stroke Alliance in partnership with Medtronic launched a new resource for Stroke Support Groups called The Booster Box. Included in the box is everything a leader needs to conduct a support group meeting for up to 24 attendees.

To receive your free Booster Box please call our office at 
309-688-5450 or email info@strokecamp.org to request yours. 

Subscriptions will be available for purchase and information will be inside your free box.  

Show Me The Booster Box
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“ People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself. ”

— MARCUS AURELIUS

Marcus Aurelius was called the Philosopher. He was Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled the Roman Empire with his adoptive brother, Lucius Verus, until Lucius' death in 169. He was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. 

How he found out about our Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camps is beyond me!
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The following is from the December 2016 Strokeconnection website: http://strokeconnection.strokeassociation.org
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Doing Good Work in Georgia

Here we highlight the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!

If ever there were a stroke support group with a name that is right on, brainREconnect Inc. of Brunswick, Georgia, is it. In 2013 the group, which had been meeting for many years as Stroke Support of Southeast Georgia, morphed into brainREconnect to include individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis (MS) and primary progressive aphasia. Their goal is to address the isolation that stroke and brain impairment survivors and families experience.
In 2015, under executive director and speech language pathologist Royce Laidler, MA, CCC/SLP, the group became a nonprofit in order to create a meaningful and productive presence in the community. The Mission Statement says it well: “The brainREconnect Support Group is … dedicated to providing education, resources and continued therapy opportunities, many times after insurance benefits have ended. brainREconnect Inc. is devoted to those who are struggling with the aftereffects of stroke and brain impairment, as well as their families, caregivers and friends. The Support Group is committed to creating a nonintimidating, comfortable environment providing friendship, camaraderie and hope so that group members can re-engage with others and the community through facilitated interaction, promoting recovery after the ‘crisis time’ of their medical event.”
They welcome patients and caregivers of all ages, including a 3-year-old stroke survivor. “We live in the buckle of what is known as the Stroke Belt of the United States,” said Laidler. As the adult outpatient speech pathologist for their local hospital, Laidler is in a unique position to encourage survivors to participate in the group.
“As a speech pathologist, I recognized the importance of community for individuals suffering from stroke and brain impairment, as well as education and support for the caregivers,” she said.
She knows that isolation can lead to depression and regression. Laidler comes to her advocacy naturally — she has an adopted son with spastic quadriplegia and severe brain injury from a TBI.

Support Group Meetings

Every fourth Wednesday, the Brunswick campus of the Southeast Georgia Health System provides a room for monthly support group meetings with an average attendance of about 50 members. “Educational speakers have included doctors, dentists, therapists, psychologists and insurance specialists,” said Rhonda Hand, volunteer assistant director. A healthy lunch buffet is prepared each meeting by two devoted members and plenty of time is set aside for social interaction.

Group Activities

Chair yoga classes help participants learn to breathe better, practice relaxation techniques, and improve balance and muscle strength. There is also an hour-long weekly communication group for those with aphasia. The communication group focuses on interactive conversation, reading, writing and initiating socialization. All programs are provided at no cost to members or families.
Members also participate in a monthly pottery class at Glynn Visual Arts, jointly funded by Southeast Georgia Health System and Advance Rehabilitation. Jeanne Morrisey, a regular at pottery class, looks forward to going as it is “her favorite thing to do,” said her son, Jerry. “An important aspect of the class is the inclusion of family members which allows us to stay connected with her through an enjoyable activity.”


In the past year, brainREconnect Inc. sponsored two shrimp boat tours on the intercoastal waterway. Each included survivors, caregivers and family members as well as local therapists and their family members. “We enjoyed a Low Country boil right on the boat with freshly caught wild Georgia shrimp, and it was fascinating to listen to the biologist on board explain about the varied creatures brought up in the net,” Hand said. Other social events have included an annual Thanksgiving feast and Christmas lights trolley tour complete with Santa and hot chocolate and cookies catered at the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel.
brainREconnect Inc. has also recently funded the participation of 10 survivors with severe aphasia to attend Brooks Rehabilitation Aphasia Center in nearby Jacksonville, Florida. There they received an extensive evaluation and 12 hours per week of therapy following the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia model for seven weeks.
The scholarships also include lunches and transportation for the 160-mile round trip. For a community education event, brainREconnect Inc. rented the historic Ritz Theatre in Brunswick and showed Aphasia, The Movie, a 40-minute film by aphasia survivor Carl McIntyre. McIntyre attended the screening and gave a humorous and inspiring presentation about his process of coming to terms with aphasia and making positive decisions about his new life.
“We are very proud of and inspired by the members in our group, survivors and caregivers alike,” Laidler said. “I think it is really this ‘grassroots effort’ that keeps us going and guides us to think ‘outside the box’ as to what we are able to provide that will best benefit our group. Our members share their successes, their experiences, resources and give of themselves with one another. All the members of our board of directors have firsthand, intimate knowledge of stroke issues, and our goal is to help our families live their best lives after stroke or any type of brain impairment.”
They are able to provide their programs because of the generosity and support of the local philanthropic community through foundations, grants and donations. That was the point of becoming a 501(c)(3), to be able to raise money more easily for their programs. Their volunteer board of directors invests many hours seeking funding, organizing events and coordinating with members.
“We are a family,” Laidler said. “We live it, understand it, and we care. We accept everyone who has experienced or cares about individuals with any type of stroke or brain impairment. We provide social, educational, and help with access to therapy and transportation. Anything that you would want for your own loved one, we attempt to provide to the best of our ability.”