Battling to keep up support for group

A MOE resident is determined to keep the Moe Alzheimer’s Support Group going despite receiving no support at meetings this year.

Pam Trew has been involved with the group for nine years and this year she said she has battled to keep it going.

Mrs Trew said she feared the group would fold if she could not attract new members and said she had kept the meetings going because if she “gave it up it’s not going to start back up”.

However, the support group stalwart is starting to waver.

“If no one comes to this next December meeting I think I won’t bother next year,” Ms Trew said.

When Mrs Trew’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1992 Mrs Trew said she knew “nothing at all” about the disease.

She founded Moe Alzheimer’s Support Group in 1993 and became the facilitator after her mother died in 1995.

She said the regular meetings provided her with an understanding of her mother’s illness as well as offering support for those who were affected by the disease, either suffering themselves or through their family members or friends.

“The last meeting with other attendees was about this time last year and there were five or six of us at a cafe in Purvis Plaza,” she said.

“I haven’t had any success in having anyone come along since.”

Mrs Trew has kept the group from folding previously, taking over the reins in 2008 because she “didn’t want to see it close”.

Back then meetings were held in a “lovely room” at the Moe Community Health Centre, but the group was moved to a staff room in mid 2010 which she said made the attendees feel “locked in”.

After trying different venues and finally finding a suitable meeting room at Moe Place, she said she has held three meetings which nobody else attended. She said the group once had 12 to 15 members from Moe and surrounding areas, including Mirboo North, Tyers and Churchill and encouraged anyone from the Latrobe Valley to attend. She said the name of the group could be misleading and the group was for anyone who was affected by memory loss or is close to someone who was.

“I would like to change the name to memory loss support group or dementia deterioration,” Mrs Trew said.

She said there was only ever the occasional $2 charge, which went to refreshments for the meetings.

The next meeting will be held at Moe Place on 7 December from 1pm to 3pm, including afternoon tea.

Anyone affected by memory loss or dementia or has a friend or family member who is can phone Pam Trew on 5127 4993 or 0419 886 268.