Q1. My dad says that support groups like yours are just a place for people to "cry in their beer." Is that true?

Support groups create a safe environment where people with common interests or situations can express themselves. It is sometimes the case that a person will feel sad or emotional when attending a meeting. In general, though, that is not really the case at all. A support group is a place to exchange ideas, ask questions, and listen to other people do the same. Often, there are demonstrations or presentations, social interactions, and so on. The impression that people just sit around and cry about their situations is false. The best way to find out is to attend a meeting or two.

Q2. My husband just became an amputee. I think he needs support from other amputees, but he doesn't want anything to do with it. What should I do?

Seeking support for a new amputee is always a good idea, but not everyone is ready to pursue it right away. It takes time to be mentally ready to talk to others about becoming an amputee, even if the people with whom you would talk are also amputees. What you as a spouse/support person can do, though, is attend meetings yourself. An amputation affects not only the amputee, but also those who live with and support him or her. Your husband is more likely to want to attend meetings if he sees you are benefiting from them. He might just want to come and listen without saying anything, and that's okay. He will start talking when he sees that he is in a safe and supportive environment.

Q3. My mother-in-law was an amputee. She passed away last year and I am cleaning out her things. I have come across prostheses, socks, liners, etc. Where can I donate these items? Do you take them? And what about commodes, bath benches, crutches, and the like?

As a support group, we generally do not accept prosthetic components. There are a number of organizations that do accept these things, though. A few of them are listed in the first category of our resource section. Be sure to take note of what each organization accepts, because they do not all accept the same things. Doing a search on the internet will also give you some organizations that accept prosthetic components and or supplies.

As for the other things mentioned, many commmunities have lending closets that would gladly take items such as commodes, bath benches, crutches, etc. Call your town's or county's health department and ask them for information on how and where you can donate to your community's lending closet. There is always a need for items such as these, and even wheelchairs and transport chairs. Taking a little extra time to find a local organization to donate these things to so that they can be used over and over again is a great way to help out your neighbors!