Every year, approximately 795,000 people suffer from a stroke. For those that survive, the likelihood that they will have another stroke is significant.

With more people in the community wanting to know more about strokes and post-stroke treatment, Buckham West, formerly the Faribault Senior Center, hosts “Stroke Prevention, Rehabilitation and Beyond.”

Brenda Johnson, the Buckham West program coordinator, has organized the May 30 event, which takes place during National Stroke Awareness Month.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or ruptures. According to the American Stroke Association, strokes are the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

The Faribault evening will begin with an educational presentation and will end with mini assessments from occupational therapist Jayd Sharpe, speech language pathologist Doreen Tierney and physical therapist Cali Beyer — rehab professionals with Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute at Allina Health.

“We are a resource,” Sharpe says, hoping the event will bring awareness about strokes and the resources that are available to people who have had strokes, people who want to know how to prevent strokes, and their families.

Mona Kaiser, executive director of Buckham West, says her members have expressed an interest in learning more about strokes, leading her to schedule the informational event. But even if a person or their caregiver does not use the information right away, she said, the class will give them the resources to continue to learn and act if needed.

Kaiser says she agrees with one of the people already signed up for the event who told her, “whenever I have a chance to learn more about what is happening to me, I take it.”

The educational session will begin with information on what a stroke is, types of strokes, and how different parts of the body signal a stroke. Next, attendees will learn what is modifiable and non-modifiable. What is modifiable can be changed. With occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech language therapy, individuals may be able to regain life skills that were lost after a stroke.

The presentation will also include special topics including: neuroplasticity, the theory behind why improvements in recovery are possible; adaptive equipment that allows those who’ve had a stroke to remain independent in what they would like to be doing by doing them in a different way; speech therapy; and high tech options to help after a stroke including VitalStim, which strengthens the throat.

“All of the things we are presenting on we can provide,” Sharpe says.

Following the presentation, there will be giveaways and booths will be set-up for mini assessments where individuals can talk to and work with Sharpe, Tierney, and Beyer to determine their balance, hand strength, and cognitive and memory skills, and to answer questions.

Reporter Renata Erickson can be reached at 507-333-3129.

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