Stroke survivors face financial struggle and discrimination at work

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New figures show that some stroke survivors have been forced to sell their home to pay for medical expenses.

Almost half of all stroke survivors under the age of 65 in the UK face financial hardship as they recover, according to new figures.

More than 125,000 stroke survivors have experienced a loss of income, faced discrimination at work and some have been forced to sell their home to pay for medical expenses.

“Life changes instantly after a stroke and the condition can have a huge cost, not only to people’s finances, but also to their health, independence and relationships,” said Juliet Bouverie, chief executive of the Stroke Association, which published the figures.

“But not enough people realise the wider impacts that stroke can bring: overnight, a partner becomes a carer. A breadwinner becomes jobless.

“These latest figures show that many stroke survivors are facing a life on the edge of poverty.

“Many have had to give up work, and in some cases, face discrimination from their employers. This comes at a time when financial worries should be the last thing on their minds.”

There are currently more than 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK and a quarter of strokes happen to people of working age.

The charity found that 51% of stroke survivors aged under 65 gave up work or reduced their working hours following their stroke.

Almost one in six (15%) experienced discrimination or missed out on a promotion, or said their employer was not supportive.

Lyn Scarfe suffered a stroke at the age of 45 and when she returned to her role as a dental receptionist on a part-time basis she claims she was told she “should be grateful to even have a job”.

Ms Scarfe has also suffered financially, struggled to pay bills, and hasn’t been on a holiday since her illness.

“It made me feel totally useless, like you’re not good at anything, you are useless and you can’t do it,” she told Sky News. “That’s why I was getting so upset. I liked my job.”

Angela Matthews from the Business Disability Forum said that the 51% who have given up work is a “worrying” finding because employers are losing “valuable, experienced talent”.

She added: “Soon after a stroke a survivor has to navigate how different their body feels, the changed pace at which their body needs to work, and learn to adjust to doing things in new ways.

“All of this often happens in the background while needing to return to work so that personal finances are affected as little as possible.

“Stroke survivors might not be able to return to the same job they did before, but they can sometimes return to some type of work, albeit different to what they used to do.”

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