Dementia support group’s mighty effort
AFTER 66 concerts and raising more than $300,000 for the Dementia Support Group Pam Eather has hung up her microphone - but she is not done helping those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's just yet.
Mrs Eather's campaign to raise money and establish a respite centre for dementia and Alzheimer's sufferers started when her husband was diagnosed with the disease in 1991.
For six years she cared for him at home.
"You have to have a lot of patience and remember it is not the person getting angry it is the dementia making them do it," she said.
"You have to give them lots of love.
"They need care 24 hours a day.
"People don't realise how tiring it is - I didn't."
What she did realise was that there was not much support for those suffering from the disease and set about est
ablishing the Dementia Support Group and rasing funds for a respite centre.
And she thought the musical talents of The Happy Wanderers were the perfect way to do this.
They played their fist concert to raise money for the cause in 2002.
And they played their last at the Senior Citizens Hall in Warwick on Tuesday.
"I think it was just the right time," Mrs Eather said.
"We are all getting older and it is getting harder to get everything ready for the concerts."
They played to a full house on Tuesday, which Mrs Eather said was just fantastic.
"In a way it (playing the last concert) was a relief, but then it was a bit sad," she said.
"We formed the band in 1985.
"I met them at the Oaks, when I was a nurse there I used to sing for them and then the band would come in and play and it just went from there."
After years of fundraising efforts the group managed to secure the lease of the house next to Akooramak and Mrs Eather said plans were under way to transform it into a respite centre.
"It is absolutely wonderful," she said.
"It needs a lot of renovation and we have a plan drawn up, but we are just waiting on funding from the Federal Government.
"The building will be somewhere for dementia and Alzheimer's sufferers to stay for a day, night or up to a fortnight so their carers can have some respite."
It's something Mrs Eather knows is all too important.
"I think something like this is really needed in our town," she said.
"Most people have a family member or know someone who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's.
"It is a disease that affects the whole family not just the person suffering from it."
Mrs Eather said the support group would not have been able to achieve what it had without the wonderful support of the community.
"I would just like to thank everybody who has donated to us over the years, both large and small donations," she said.
"Even if it was just a couple of dollars, it doesn't take long to mount up."
While she won't be taking to the stage anytime soon, Mrs Eather said plans were under way to find new ways of raising funds.
The monthly Dementia Support Group meetings will still continue as well.