Life After Stroke: Keeping Connected in the Community

Stroke is a sudden and life-altering event that may require an extended recovery period. More than 400,000 Canadians are living with the effects of stroke.  Additionally, many family members and caregivers are also impacted, often taking on supportive roles in the stroke survivor’s recovery.

Support is essential after stroke. Numerous programs are available throughout Northwestern Ontario to help keep people with stroke and their caregivers connected and engaged, even during a pandemic.

If you or someone you know has had a stroke, March of Dimes Canada’s newly expanded After Stroke program is a personalized recovery program that helps survivors and their families move forward after a stroke. After Stroke can help at every stage of the journey – from the early days in the hospital, to the adjustment of returning home, to the changes and challenges that can follow. It will help survivors set personal goals and guide them forward to get the support they need and deserve.

Some programs offered virtually at this time include:

  • Local Stroke Recovery Peer Support Group: Open to survivors of stroke, their family members, caregivers and friends. These groups help survivors connect with peers, exchange information and resources, learn new skills, explore the personal impact of stroke and build supportive relationships.
  • Community Conversation for Survivors and Caregivers: Every Tuesday, survivors and caregivers from all over Canada meet, share knowledge and resources.
  • Caregiver Connection-Virtual Group: Caregivers come together to talk about the challenges and rewards of caregiving. These guided discussions offer a chance to share experiences and information, or just talk, in a supportive space.
  • Aphasia Peer Connect program: People living with aphasia and other communication disorders come together for this virtual peer social group. An opportunity to meet new people and stay connected.
  • Hi, Tech!: Volunteers are matched with participants who have technology but need some extra help to become more comfortable with features of their devices such as using Zoom, Facetime, Google searches, email and more.
  • Connect and Share: Matching participants with volunteers who share common interests and meet with each other over the phone or virtually.  Some meet less or more frequently and calls include sharing interests, general conversation and even engaging activities (eg. card games, crafts, virtual tours and more).

How to access March of Dimes services? Visit the website at or contact Todd Kennedy, Regional Development Manager by calling (807) 345-6595 extension 105 or by emailing

Todd Kennedy, Program Manager, March of Dimes Thunder Bay.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada knows about the power of keeping engaged in the community. Connecting with other people who know what you are going through can help the recovery journey.  They have developed an online peer support group where people can share experiences, as well as quality information and tips, while offering social and emotional support in a safe, inclusive and respectful community.  Separate groups for stroke survivors and caregivers are available. You can also sign up for a monthly Community Connect newsletter. Learn more at

Another program supporting stroke survivors and their families in Northwestern Ontario is the Moving on After Stroke (MOST) program. MOST is a Self-Management group program delivered by St. Joseph’s Care Group.  It provides 18 sessions of exercise and education over nine weeks.  People with stroke who have completed active stroke rehabilitation as well as their caregivers are welcomed and encouraged to attend. MOST is available in-person in Thunder Bay or via telemedicine technology in Northwestern Ontario.

For more information or to register for MOST, please call (807) 343-2431, extension 2537. Judy Mostow, who has 15 years lived experience with stroke and MOST Volunteer enthusiastically endorses the program: “I want to encourage stroke survivors to have HOPE. If you are willing to do the hard work, you can and will see improvements in your abilities to move forward. Also, be patient and when you stop and look back at where you were when the stroke first occurred compared to now, you’ll see that WOW those baby steps really paid off!”

For more information on stroke services in Northwestern Ontario, please contact the Northwestern Ontario Regional Stroke Network, located at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Center, by emailing or by calling (807) 684-6703.