KODE — It’s tough when a loved one has a heart attack or stroke. Not just with the initial symptoms, but also helping them adjust to life after the fact.

It’s something caregivers do.

“It’s been over two years now. She had a hemorrhagic stroke January the seventh of 2021. Then five minutes she lost all of her speech for the whole right side,” said Tom Jarrett, Caregiver.

Jarrett says his wife’s stroke lead to an ambulance ride, time in the hospital, and outpatient therapy that continues today.

“It’s been amazing as to how much she has recovered, but to her, it isn’t enough. And there’s times her spirits will get down and hopefully, I can give her hope, give her some sort of feeling that yes, we’re making progress,” he said.

Tom has been her caregiver for two years now, which can be tough.

“She was the caregiver for family before her stroke. I didn’t even know our bank’s password. I’m not near as good as she was, but we’re getting by. It’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done. And there’s help available and we need it,” he added.

For Tom, that includes the Freeman Health System Caregivers Support Group, formed after a community needs survey.

“We found that there were a lot of people in the four state area that are caregivers and I was able to put together this group through Freeman and just help get the word out that caregivers can come here will walk life with you,” said Kathy Mason, Freeman Community Health Worker Coordinator.

They meet monthly to network and learn more about balancing loved ones’ needs with their own health.

“One, they’re not alone. Two that there are resources out there and three don’t be afraid to ask for help. Because you just sometimes need downtime,” said Mason.

You can find out more about joining the group and when they meet by calling 417-357-3625.