My Gramma had been living with the most common vestibular disorder for the last ten years of her life and I had been her intermittent healthcare provider.
I am thankful I was able to act as a social support and to advocate for both of them.
This experience led me to think more about how important social support is for our overall well-being, particularly for vestibular patients recovering from episodes of vertigo. I came across the article, Social Support and Resilience to Stress, which looks at several studies on how social support, or lack of, affects our physical and physiological health.
The article concluded that the studies they reviewed “clearly demonstrate the harmful consequences of poor social support and the protective effects of having access to rich and functional social networks on maintaining physical and psychological health.”
Just as I needed to be a social support for my grandmother in her last years and my grandfather as he coped with the loss of his spouse, patients who are going through the stress of living day to day with a vestibular disorder need to be sure to seek out a social support system for their own well-being.
For me, my grandfather moving into an Assisted living community marked the end of an 11-year era of health-coaching, end-of-life planning, fall prevention education and intermittent caregiving for both of my grandparents. To be clear, at 95 years old, my Grampa is moving into an Independent Apartment within an Assisted living community.
He wanted to get three square meals a day while he works on his digital multi-media autobiography on a custom software that he recently designed.
Now he has a large community of old connections, new friends to meet and a new social support system to discover.
The type of social support and advocacy that I provided to my grandparents is important for those of any age living with a vestibular disorder.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.