Advocate keen to set up support group

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by Rachael Comer

Brain injury sufferers are being called on to support one another.
Brain Injury New Zealand regional liaison officer Sue Kelly wants to set up a Timaru support group for residents with acquired brain injury (ABI) and is hosting a get-together on July 21 for those with a brain injury, stroke survivors and epilepsy sufferers.
“The purpose of the group is for social interaction, mutual support, friendship and understanding,” Ms Kelly said.
Such groups were a great source of support and comfort for people who were managing the challenges of an ABI.
“Many of the most common symptoms of ABI make socialising and maintaining interpersonal relationships more challenging, so it becomes even more important to have a social outlet where there is a level of understanding not found elsewhere in the general population.”
The group’s main activity would be socialising over tea, coffee and snacks, with speakers sometimes invited to present their service, research, or personal stories.
Ms Kelly has been the liaison officer for Brain Injury New Zealand for the past two years. Brain Injury NZ was incorporated in 1996 and has 14 regional affiliated associations. The organisation provides information, advocacy and support to people with a brain injury and their family through a liaison service and an education advisory service.
The group’s first meeting on July 21 will be held at ADG 101, 24A Church St, from 10am to 11am. From then on it will meet on the third Friday of every month. Contact Sue Kelly 0800 272 461 for details.

THE SYMPTOMS

  • Cognitive difficulties: difficulty in thinking clearly, maintaining concentration, fatigue, solving problems, planning and completing projects, short-term memory problems
  • Physical problems: reduced balance, slower reflexes, headaches and reduced stamina
  • Sensory disabilities: sight, smell, hearing
  • Difficulty in expressing oneself and understanding others
  • Personality changes: irritability, depression, anxiety, socially inappropriate behaviours, mood swings
  • Learning difficulties