I wanted to let you know how valuable Opening Doors has been to me in my struggle to adjust to life living with a partner who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Two different friends recommended that I should contact Opening Doors in mid-2020. I hesitated, not realising how useful it was going to be. Covid lockdown increased the difficulties I experienced in getting help and support for myself and my partner. When I eventually contacted Opening Doors in August 2020 and started attending the fortnightly Zoom Rainbow Carers support group (for those who care for people with dementia), I felt instantly welcomed and supported. I wished I had got in touch earlier!

It was not easy to attend the meetings, even on Zoom, as my partner was in denial of her dementia and I had to arrange to do the Zooms at a friend's flat.

The Rainbow Carers group is very welcoming and extremely well-facilitated by Lucy Whitman. She makes sure we all have some time to share our difficulties and to be supportive and encouraging to each other.

The volunteer, Henry, is also really patient and approachable and has held the group together on occasional Internet technical problem moments.

Carers of those with Alzheimer’s lead extremely stressful lives and often the health and social care professionals seem to have little understanding or awareness of how difficult our lives are. The support group was there for me when my partner’s GP would not listen to me, her wife, and he was making it extremely difficult for her to get a formal diagnosis.

For me, the Rainbow Carers support group has been invaluable. It has provided on-line friendship and support and signposted me to other useful services and information. I do not know how I would have managed without this group.

My partner and I have also both enjoyed participating in the online Rainbow Memory café.

This summer (2021) we were lucky enough to enjoy a day out at Kew Gardens with the Rainbow Memory Café and we were kindly given an extra ticket for an additional carer to come with us, as my partner gets anxious on journeys or in unfamiliar places and I wouldn’t have been able to manage on my own. It was lovely, at last, to meet some familiar faces from the Zoom sessions.

Members of the Rainbow Memory Café (LGBTQ+ people with dementia and carers) on a visit to Kew Gardens summer 2021

So, thank you, Opening Doors and the Rainbow Carers support team for being there.

If you're interested in participating in the group, you can email [email protected] and find more info about our dementia services here.