Talk to others with an Ostomy
Next >

Finding an an age appropriate support group


I have joined my husband ****) to hopefully talk to someone
closer to his age. But I do have a question regarding therapy/counseling.
Where do we begin to find a professional in Northern Virginia that can help
with the depression caused by his emergency ostomy.We have tried the support
group in our area but everyone seems to be 20 years older. He needs someone
closer to his age of 67 to relate with.
Thank you.
Ida Smith

Talk to others with an Ostomy
29,519 members
MeetAnOstoMate is the largest, independent website for people with an ostomy surgery. A vibrant, multi-topic community where people discuss various things, and give each other love and support.

Maybe your Doctor could recommend one. Depression can be very deep. Hope you can find the help he needs.


your ostomy nurse should have info on support groups, she may be able to provide you with contact info of someone near his age for a one on one talk. i`v had my ostomy since i was in my 40`s and i can tell you that life is still very good. you will learn to manage your ostomy if you give things a little time. if you have no luck finding someone local i`d be glad to talk to him over the phone. let me know and i`ll message you mycontact info


I would certainly contact his doctor for a referral which may be necessary to get an appt anyway. It is great that you have signed up on the MAO website to help him. Have him read all the forum conversations and profiles. Many of us are here only due to our Ostomy and I suspect he may be in the same boat. It is great to hear how other get on with life after an Ostomy. We all hits bumps in the road, we all have pity parties, and we all eventually come to accept out fate, some with, and some without professional assistance! Good luck in healing mentally and physically! 



Hi Ida. Your husband is fortunate to have you working with us to help him. Most of us could fix a cut, a bruise, splint a break and prescribe remedies for coughs, headaches, and lots of other stuff. Depression is different. It can be so painful but it's invisible. I feel like some level of depression, anxiety, PTSD or combination of those afflictions are part of the ostomy experience for most of us. We get depressed because our bodies are changed. We get depressed because poop becomes such a big part of our lives. We get depressed because of our depression that we don’t want to admit. It sucks. Not sure how age affects it for us older folks but I would hope there’s some maturity and wisdom that comes from our experiences. I was surprised to find myself feeling sorry for folks I was seeking help from. We’re all different and sometimes, just learning how others are handling their stuff, helps us learn more about how to help ourselves.
Wish you all the success you deserve,


Hello Ida. Thank you for posting and for supporting your husband in his time of need. There have already been some very pertinent replies to this post so I will no simply repeat what has already been said. 

Depression after a tauma (such as an unrequited stoma) is not given the recognition it deserves as the medical profession tends to think that sorting out the physical problems is all they need to do. Support groups can help but are not always available in one's local area.  I would suggest that you both continue to use sites such as this to familiarise yourselves with the problems we face in adjusting to the 'new-situation'. If the depression does not become manageable, then talking to a professional with experience in the psychological aspects of trauma and subsequent depression can be a great help. Over the years, I have found that depression is often just one of the emotional responses to 'loss' ( of a previous way of life, dignity, self-confidence, etc.). Once the depression begins to ease, it can be replaced by other emotions such as anger, resentment, frustration etc. These should be viewed as positive emotions indicating that a form of mental and emotional healing is taking place. However, all these emotions can be unnerving for whoever is closest to those suffering the trauma. It is therefore  important to understand that the 'mourning-process' and grief from a trauma has a recognisable pattern of development. This undersatanding can be very useful in supporting patients and familieds thruogh a very difficult time in their lives. 

I rarely ever recommend medication for depression because it usually only works in the short-term and can become a 'prop' upon which people become dependent. The problems need to be worked upon emotionally and psychologically so that the solutions are internalised and 'owned' by the person themselves. This is where a professional counsellor can be useful. However, I would not underestimate the efficacy of a good friend in the process of giving appropriate support in these circumstances.( and they tend to be much cheaper than the professionals!)

Best wishes




Hi Ida, 

 My name is Marsha, and I've had my ileostomy since I was a kid of 15.   That's more than 50 years!     I remember w hen my parents dragged me  kicking and screaming  off to my first ostomy meeting.  I didn't think all those " old" people coould be of any help.    But I gave it time, and they embraced me, and soon I met more of the " young adults" who were also members.  They were all single, and we " bonded", and began doing social things together, and even formed a " young adult ostomy group",  so we could talk about more relevant subjects,     dating, marriage, and of course, sex...   When   I got older, married ( a man  who also had an illeostomy)  and had  kids.  I " moved on" from the ostomy group.   Until I found this group on line, I was winging it " alone"  ( divorced from my ex) .    Your husband is very lucky to have you help him reach out...   There are a lot of very nice & helpful people on this site, who understand what he's going through.   AS   MMSH   suggested,   he might benefit from a phone chat as well as writing.    I just turned 71,  and still " dating",  and have gone through all the stages of acceptance and living with an  ostomy.   Ironically,   I accepted my surgery gratefully  when I was a kid, because it allowed me to get back to school, and the teen experience that I'd missed when I was sick ( with Ulcerative Colitis ) for 4 years.  I'm having more trouble accepting my declining  health issues now, many of which have little to do with the ostomy.   I've been coping with depression, anxiety, and PTSD.....for the last 5 years, and although I've been seeing a private therapist,  it  wasn't really helping.    I'm now in a more intensive, three day a week, therapy program.     The people I meet have a variety of issues.,   but the similarities, outweigh the differences...   We all want a " more stress free life",   and learning how to cope with what is,  it an integral part of the recovery.   It's not easy for some people to adapt.   A local ostomy group is great, even if there are age differences..   Look at the programming at your local ( teaching hospital).    Mine has a myriad of ongoing groups,  for people coping with different issues.   You might find one for you..There are also  Mental health facilities,  that  offer a variety of  out patient, therapeutic  settings..  (Not just for Alcohol, or drugs).   Depression is common among all  age groups,   and I've found there's something for everyone.    I was even in a therpeutic  book club,  and the participants were coping with a variety of issues.   In the meantime,

feel f ree to write to individual people, or post your own questions, or reply to other's posts.   We're all here for both you and your husband...   Best wishes  Marsha  


There are only two ostomy groups in my area, both a 40 minute drive, just in different directions.  I go the the Niagara Frontier group. There are about 40 members, but what surprised me was the age, no the ages of the group. We have everything from a young woman and her husband, in their twenties, to our monthly report of those who have passed away due to old age.  I have found that every age group brings something new to the table and most times have experiences I've yet to have or shared their clever solutions to a current issue.  That's all I've got on the age issue.  Here, I have no choice, both groups have a large age range.  If you live in a large metropolitan area you may have better luck in finding what you want.

Depression. I was born with Clinical Depression. Yes, true CD manifests itself when one is young.  The lifesaving/mindsaving trick is to have a parent or relative who notices it early and teaches you how to deal with it. You have it for life, there is no cure and you are not crazy.  Oh, my father also had it, and he taught me how deal with it.  No drugs. You must 'go' with it. Cancel all appointments and social engagements, eat or don't. During a 'bout', I can lose 20 lbs, or gain 5 (loss is more likely, real CD is not appetizing).  In real CD, you sleep alot, or you sit around looking at the wallpaper.  The best advice my father ever gave me (he died when I was 13).  No matter how black, how bad or how long remember this: it will always come to an end.  He was right.

However, any depresion I've had regarding my cancer and surgery was CONDITIONAL DEPRESSION.  Not innate, this too shall pass.  Conditonal depression ceases when the conditions causing it go away.In my case, and that of many others, my stoma is permanent, thus the 'condition' will never go away.  That doesn't mean you will be depressed forever.  Luckily, conditional depression eases over time. That is what happened to me. CD never reared its head while I was sick, and I had so much support and good medical follow-up that I didn't have any sad or deppresive feelings.  Until after 8 months or so. All is well, on my own, I started to focus too much on my stoma.  It made me sad, 'bummed out', unhappy.  I just toughed it out and started counting my blessing (this really does work) and came to the realization that I was not in a bad place.

So, any group you find will have people that have had all sorts of procedures and all manner of stoma.  A great place to be listened to and to listen to all the horror stories you may never have to endure.   Whatever avenue you choose, be well.

* Please, do not post contact information, personal information or advertising.
All times are GMT - 5 Hours