Lorraine Dallow, in Swindon, who has young-onset Alzheimer’s, tells us how going to events helps to build her confidence.
I was diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s in 2016, and since then I’ve been determined to not let my dementia beat me.
Together with my husband Ian, I regularly enjoy going to concerts, comedy nights, films and football along with all the dementia-friendly activities we're part of.
I can’t be doing with moping about the house, and going out gives me the chance to talk to lots of different people.
I have had lots of great experiences at the venues I’ve been to, and the staff have often been very helpful.
In 2023, I went to well over 50 gigs and concerts – and that doesn’t include watching my favourite football team, Nottingham Forest.
At one match, the stewards saw me struggling to get up and down as people in my row passed me, so they gave me a seat where I wouldn’t get disturbed.
At a Kiss concert, I got lost coming out of the toilet.
A steward found me, looked up my seat number and started to walk me back to my seat. Luckily, Ian appeared in front of us.
I can’t remember the exact conversation that I had with the steward, but I know that they were kind.
Asking for help
Alzheimer’s affects my depth perception and I find going up and down lots of stairs difficult, particularly when there are crowds.
If we arrive at a venue and find that the seats are difficult to get to, we always ask a steward for help and very often they will find us different seats.
That would be a top tip of mine when you go out.
If you think you might have problems accessing your seats, always ask a steward or the accessibility manager. They have always been very supportive of me.
I used to be very shy but since my diagnosis, I have become a lot more outgoing.
One of my favourite things to do now is to go to the stage door after a show and introduce myself to celebrities.
I say, ‘Excuse me, I’m living with dementia. Can I have a photo taken with you as I’m trying to create memories?’
I have so many photos now – Alfie Boe, Lulu, Diversity, Kiss, Craig Revel Horwood!
Every couple of months, Ian gets the photos put into an album and then we sit and reminisce about who we have met.
I wouldn’t be able to do all this without my husband Ian.
Technology isn’t my strong point so I can’t book tickets online – he does it all.
We’ve already got 50 trips booked for next year!
Going to the theatre gets me out of the house, takes my mind off things, makes me happy and gives me energy. I would recommend it to anyone.
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