DAY 7 – Caregiving Support

Rozanne Banicki

My mom, Karen, had a stroke three years ago that left her unable to talk. This has been a huge learning experience that has had its ups and downs. When we moved to Durham in April of 2017, mom continued her speech therapy with the therapists at Duke. The therapists have worked hard to make our communication skills better. While doing this, they saw that I was trying to go to school and take care of mom and the stress was getting to me. Early this year, my mom’s speech therapist asked me if I had looked into the Triangle Aphasia Program for my mom; they saw this as a benefit for both of us because the program can also help the caregivers. We interviewed with Maura and we were blessed to be accepted to participate in the program.

At first it was hard to get mom to go to the group, but the more she went to the Saturday group, the better she got to know everyone, and the more she wanted to go to the group. This excited me because she doesn’t usually like to leave the house; now she had friends with whom she can connect. Since I had to drop a couple of classes, mom started to attend the Aphasia Day in Cary on Wednesdays. She was hesitant to attend at first, but when she arrived, she saw a few faces she knew from the other group and she felt better. I think the music is helping to give her some confidence. Even though she can’t talk, she has been humming to the best of her ability. I really enjoy seeing a smile on her face when we go to TAP events. She loves when others recognize her and say hello and she will now go up to people and give them hugs.

This group has also been a blessing for me. When I take her to group, I can focus on my school work and other tasks I have to take care of. We have had a couple issues come up that I did not know how to find the right people to help and Maura and the staff have been very helpful at finding other support for us. I don’t know what I would do without the support we have gotten from Maura and the whole TAP family.