Elmar in a light blue shirt and beige trousers and David in a blue and white checkered shirt and red trousers walking in the park and smiling at eachotherFor World Alzheimer’s Month and National Dementia Carers' Day we asked a member of our Rainbow Memory Café and Carers’ group what lockdown has been like. David is a carer for his partner Elmar who lives with dementia.

Lockdown proved to be a difficult time for both Elmar and myself for different reasons.

Elmar found it difficult to understand what was happening around him, why we couldn't go out and continue doing the things he was used to doing. Watching the news became difficult for him, constantly asking what Coronavirus was and getting frustrated when he realised that I had explained it to him many times before. Being a gregarious person, the lack of social contact was difficult to comprehend, and he was wanting to ask friends around for dinner or have lunch with them, getting frustrated when I said we couldn't do it.

For most people, lockdown was a time to catch up on old movies or TV series, but for Elmar this wasn't possible. Although he enjoys going to the cinema, at home he found it difficult to concentrate on any extended programmes and watching a box set was out of the question since he was unable to follow drawn out plots. We ended up watching a lot of nature and travel documentaries which he found engaging but always raised the question of why we weren't going away on holiday.

Elmar has always prided himself on his appearance so not having a haircut for over 3 months proved to be particularly challenging. He refused to believe that hairdressers were not open and on a couple of occasions he insisted on being taken to his barbers only to find it closed. 

For me as Elmar's carer, the main difficulty has been a lack of 'me time'; time to relax and try to recharge. Caring became 24/7.  I was used to having free time for myself 2 or 3 times a week. However, that abruptly came to an end once social gatherings or home visitors were not allowed. Thankfully I enjoy running and I managed to get out most days for an hour of exercise.

Elmar doesn't like to be on his own, and can be quite vocal about it, which as his carer can be stressful. It makes me feel guilty and can be restrictive in what I can do. Lockdown has helped me to become more patient.

Find out more about the Rainbow Memory Café and Carers’ Group by clicking the links. These groups are currently held over Zoom with support from our sessional worker Lucy.

We are also fundraising to continue and increase the capacity of these groups. We warmly welcome any donations – big or small – that can help us support LGBT+ carers and people with dementia.

Elmar in a light blue shirt and beige trousers and David in a blue and white checkered shirt and red trousers at home sitting on their sofa and looking at eachother