Young finding the ‘new normal’ after stroke

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Stroke Foundation is thrilled to launch an exciting new project to help working-age Australians find their ‘new normal’ after stroke.

The Stroke Foundation Young Stroke Project, funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), will meet the unique information needs of working-age stroke survivors, their partners, families, friends and employers and deliver information in innovative ways like videos, podcasts and blogs.

Stroke Foundation National Manager StrokeConnect Jude Czerenkowski said the project would empower younger stroke survivors to live well.

“There is a common misconception stroke only impacts people later in life, but it’s estimated around 20 strokes a day strike Australians of working age,” Ms Czerenkowski said.

“There is currently very little age-appropriate information available for younger stroke survivors. This leads people to believe that solutions don’t exist, support isn’t available and that ‘this is just life for me now.”

A number of themes have been highlighted as part of the project including study and employment, relationships and parenting, recreation and self-care, grief and acceptance and navigating the health system.

Ms Czerenkowski added that the involvement of young stroke survivors would be critical to the project’s success.

“We want to hear from survivors, their partners and families, researchers and health professionals about their experiences so we can address their needs every step of the way.”

Sydney man Adrian O’Malley suffered a stroke at the age of 34, just weeks before his wife gave birth to their first child.

“It was a frightening time. I didn’t know anything about stroke and had no idea if I would be able to walk and talk again,” Adrian said.

“I was also the youngest in the stroke ward by about 45 years, which was quite isolating given my stage of life and imminent parenthood.

“With dedication to rehabilitation and a strong personal support network I was able to make a good recovery, but it would have been so helpful to have information available to answer the questions that were important to me at the time, as a younger survivor.”

Ms Czerenkowski urged people with lived experience of stroke, like Adrian, to get involved in the Stroke Foundation Young Stroke Project.

“This project could be a game changer for young stroke survivors, but we definitely need as many people as possible to get involved.” she said.

“Recovery can be emotionally and physically challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Sharing experiences and hearing about what really works can help you get where it is you want to be.”

The Stroke Foundation Young Stroke Project builds on our stroke recovery website, EnableMe and our telephone service StrokeLine (1800 787 653).

To find out more about the Project or to register your interest visit https://youngstrokeproject.org.au/

What is a stroke?
Stroke attacks the brain. There are two types of stroke – Ischaemic (caused by a blood clot) and haemorrhagic (burst blood vessel).
When a stroke occurs, the brain is deprived of oxygen and important nutrients. Without oxygen, brain cells immediately start to die at a rate of around 1.9 million a minute.
Every stroke is different depending on what part of the brain the stroke attacks and how severe it is. While it can cause death or ongoing disability, some people are able to make a good recovery after a stroke.
 
Working age stroke statistics

  • Around 20 strokes a day impact Australians under the age of 65.
  • 142,000 stroke survivors are of working age.
  • 96 percent of young stroke survivors report having ongoing needs after their stroke.
  • 88 percent of young stroke survivors report unmet needs across health, everyday living, leisure activities, employment and finance – greater than older stroke survivors.

 

Young finding the ‘new normal’ after stroke
 

Interviews with a young stroke survivor available on request