As the manager of the ABI Program at Semiahmoo House Society, I am pleased to tell you that one of the most beneficial aspects of our support group is that people have positive control over their lives. The person-centered thinking practices that guide our work at Semiahmoo House Society is dedicated to having people live better lives. It is my experience that once people feel heard and valued, they begin to believe that, with commitment and dedication, they can achieve a higher level of independence and once again live a full life.
Our motto at ABI is: Say NO to Plateau!
One of the most important benefits that a support group provides for people with a brain injury is an opportunity to build meaningful relationships and develop lasting friendships. Social isolation can happen very easily for a person that has acquired a brain injury. Isolation can result from contributing factors such as the inability to initiate conversations or activity, often causing low self-esteem and depression.
Isolation is extremely alarming and should be taken very seriously.
Many of the Programs at ABI are developed with the people who rely on our support group. Each person is encouraged to participate in monthly planning meetings and have a voice in how they want to be supported. One of the most recent programs created by a group of men that attend our program is a weekly Gentleman’s Club. The members are offered a safe environment to share their challenges and struggles. The group supports each other by sharing their experiences and resources, which may assist them in their challenges.
Sharing your success with other individuals, who truly understand the challenges of a brain injury, has the same benefits as receiving positive reinforcements.
People also benefit from support and programs such as:
• Volunteering and vocational opportunities where people feel valued for their contributions, while promoting an inclusive community.
• Fine Arts which provides a great way for people to find a new passion or discover that hidden talent.
• Recreational and leisure programs that encourage people to make advancements in a fun environment.
• Educational opportunities in order for people to obtain the knowledge they need to stay healthy and safe.
In a support group, where achievements and success are celebrated, acknowledgement alone is a benefit to a person with a brain injury.
Support groups are needed and are extremely beneficial. They empower people to see and believe there is life after a brain injury.
By Sylvie Hoeree, Semiahmoo House Society
Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community.
The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.