Many people experience loneliness, and feelings of isolation when recovering from stroke or brain injury. If you have aphasia, language and communication are impacted, so involvement with family, friends, and the community can be extremely difficult. Here are a few ideas to avoid that loneliness and rejuvenate social connections while forming new ones within the community.
Ideas for making connections while recovering from stroke or brain injury
- Social Media – There are so many wonderful resources out there on social media! Some relevant Facebook groups are the Aphasia Recovery Connection (ARC); Aphasia and Aphasia Caregivers Exclusive (ACE) Group; and Stroke: Research, Tools, and Therapies. These groups always have supportive and informative posts, advice, and stories from survivors. Who better to understand your emotions than someone who is or has been exactly where you are? Also, following the National Aphasia Association on Facebook and Twitter is great for keeping up with developments in the aphasia world.
- Tell Your Friends and Family – take a moment and explain stroke or brain injury or aphasia to the people in your life. Be an educator! There is a solid chance they’ve never heard of aphasia before. Once people understand what someone with aphasia is dealing with, they are much more apt to take the extra moment and adjust their communication style to help you!
- Group Therapy – a great way to kill two birds with one stone! Not only do you get to work on improving your communication skills, you also get to spend time with other survivors. Check out which of your local colleges and universities have Speech Pathology programs – often these programs will offer group therapy. There are also more and more aphasia clinics showing up around the country, which often provide group therapy. Hop on Google and search for any nearby brain or stroke recovery clinics or community centers.
- Participate in Research Studies – again, your local colleges and universities with Speech Pathology programs are a great resource. Research studies are a great way to give back to the community by helping researchers find new, better therapy techniques – plus they’re often a great place for free therapy, and some may even pay you. You may even get to meet other study participants with aphasia, and by getting more involved, you’ll immediately have stronger connections.
- Don’t give up your hobbies (or find new ones!) – Hobbies are a great way to form social connections, stay busy, AND work on your skills! Were you a sports fan? No reason you can’t continue to enjoy your Sunday football with friends and family – and you’re working on auditory comprehension and math skills all the while! Big into quilting? Join a local club and work on communication skills at meetings and fine motor skills. Love to exercise? Check out your local YMCA classes! You may have to start slow, but exercise can help you find peace of mind and stay fit and healthy. Just getting out into the community can often alleviate those feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Don’t forget to follow Constant Therapy on social media as well! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.