John Bowles has experienced the highs and lows of watching his wife recover from stroke.
But there's one thing of which he's certain.
"She's made considerable progress since then because she's determined," he said.
Magda Bowles lost use of most of her right side following the 2009 stroke. She also suffers nominal dysphasia, or difficulties with recall and speech.
Mr Bowles worked with the NSW Health Service in Goulburn as a clinical nurse consultant until his 1995 retirement. He then set up dementia services while working with Hammond Care.
He has been a consumer advocate and has used those skills to steer a course with his wife to secure the necessary support.
But not everyone is so lucky.
The Stroke Recovery Association (SRA) is looking to change that. It is establishing a new Stroke Recovery Club in the Goulburn region.
It aims to assist the recovery process by providing services including counselling, advice, information, advocacy and support. The SRA also establishes and provides ongoing assistance to Stroke Recovery Clubs.
"Companionship and camaraderie, with a common lived experience is front and centre of all we do," a spokeswoman said.
Club activities include therapeutic exercises, outings, guest speakers and opportunities for survivors to support one another within a safe environment, while making new friendships and social networks.
Members report improved social well-being and a feeling of empowerment in a safe and comfortable setting.
"We know that there are a large number of stroke survivors in Goulburn and the surrounding areas and we are keen to establish a new club to offer them the vital support which our Stroke Recovery Clubs can afford," WSRA CEO, Michelle Sharkey said.
"We are looking for survivors, carers and volunteers to support the establishment of this club, which will provide major benefits for local stroke survivors and their families."
Mr Bowles said a small local 'communication' group was started by Goulburn Health Service in 2017. However COVID-19 put a stop to its activities.
He said the Stroke Recovery Club was important for sufferers and their carers.
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"Every little thing helps," he said.
"Magda looks forward to it and it's social interaction for me too. I'd encourage others to come along and reap the benefits of a sense of belonging."
The club will meet every second Tuesday of the month at 10.30am at the Goulburn Soldiers Club.
People interested in attending can call 1300 650 594 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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