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Life after stroke… there are supports out there

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A free counselling service is providing coping skills to those caring for the estimated 6,900 stroke survivors in Cork city and county. The Irish Heart Foundation’s LUCINDA MCNERNEY tells us more

IT can be difficult to articulate how Covid-19 has impacted the lives of those living with Stroke and Heart conditions and their families. How we have become so familiar with terms like cocooning, social distance, staycation, etc.

We cannot underestimate the strain on our mental health… the rollercoaster of emotions — fear, worry, isolation… living with the unknown.

When someone has a stroke the effects are not just for the individual, the whole family is living and coming to terms with what has happened. It is important that we do not forget the carer, the person who is there no matter what.

Thanks to a short-term grant from the Dormant Accounts Fund, we at the Irish Heart Foundation are in a position to offer six free sessions of counselling to help support carers of stroke survivors in what may be a changed situation. This service ends in October, 2020, so please get in touch now if you would like to avail of free counselling.

Sometimes the perception of what counselling is may leave a person not wanting to reach out. It is simply a place for you to sit in an environment of compassion to take a breath and feel supported.

You do not need to have a huge issue/beginning statement — you just arrive as you are. It may help in carving out a part of the day for yourself to allow time to process events.

Knowing that you are not on your own has a huge impact on how we navigate a time in our lives where things have changed. Life has its ups and downs — this is what it means to be human — it is how we react to these ups and downs that determines how we manage our lives.

Whether you are living with a stroke or a cardiac condition please know that you are not alone. The Irish Heart Foundation has many supports as your journey through this.

We have our nurse line which operates Monday to Friday from 9a.m. – 5p.m. phone 01 668 5001.

Please give our nurses a call if there is any issue concerning you today.

For those of you who are on Facebook, as part of our response to Covid 19 we set up a closed Facebook page called the Heart Support Network which covers all heart conditions, we have our Life After Stroke page and of course our closed Facebook page for carers. Here we have lots of content to help with living well with your condition – presentations on dealing with stress, tips on diet and daily exercise classes. The peer support on these group is vital and is evident as you scroll down the page of what an impact it has for those in a similar position.

As we cannot meet patients and their families face to face we are moving our meetings to online.

Here you will find quality information on topics that are relevant to self managing your condition – medication, diet, exercise, mental health etc . We will also have some time to chat with each other and have virtual social groups, cookery demonstrations, art classes etc.

As a person with a long term cardiac condition living here in Cork I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that you make that initial contact. I live with an inherited condition called Long QT Syndrome – over my lifetime I have had four pacemakers and take daily medication.

The Irish Heart Foundation through its Long QT syndrome Information and support group has helped so many who live with a condition similar to mine. It makes a huge difference talking to someone who is on the same road as you or reaching out with a question that can be answered in a professional, compassionate setting.

For further information on any of our supports you can contact me at [email protected] or phone 087 7781561.

https://www.echolive.ie/opinion/Life-after-stroke-there-are-supports-out-there-7f0310bc-47de-4ec4-af5d-98b9db46f704-ds

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