CHRISTCHURCH council has pledged its commitment to the health and wellbeing of residents.

The response comes after the town was found to be the ‘dementia capital of the UK’ by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Sean Whitney, Public Health and Protection Manager, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils said health and wellbeing remains a priority.

“A designated officer from our public health team works closely with many local organisations which provide care and services to ensure they are mindful of our residents’ particular needs.

“We coordinate the Christchurch Health and Wellbeing Locality Group, which brings together representatives from health, social care and voluntary organisations, so we can share good practice, identify areas of local need, and act together to support our residents to live well.

Mr Whitney added a close working relationship has been established with GPs, the Alzheimer’s Society and other community groups.

However, Christchurch residents say more help is needed in the community.

Andrew Johnson, 43, a lawyer from Highcliffe, said: “There’s not a lot of provision for people to have help in their own home. It’s left to someone’s partner or their family and it often comes down to whether they can afford it.”

Gil Moulding, 62, a post office clerk from Christchurch, said: “I’ve worked in the care industry in the past and I think we need to get away from using old fashioned terms like day centres and nursing homes, because there is a stigma attached to them and we need to break that down.”

Colin Snell, 65, an aircraft technician from Christchurch, said: “It’s different now, family members move away and often elderly people are left on their own because they have vast distances to travel, but there are homes in this area that do cater for dementia patients.”

Aileen Edwards, 49, a director from Christchurch, said: “I don’t think it’s just a Christchurch problem, there’s not enough support in other regions as well. We’ve lost a lot of funding and it’s difficult because the population demographic is now at a point where it is top-heavy.”

Sandra Yates, 69, a retired cinema manager from Highcliffe, said: “I don’t know how much support there is out there for dementia patients but what is needed is more homes, as in treating them as homes, rather than just bunging in as many people as they can.”

Audrey Kendall, 85, a retired window dresser from Highcliffe, said: “I am concerned about it. I have a brother in Verwood who suffers from dementia. A lot of people do rely on their family, but it depends on how close they are.”

Maurine Gregg, 74, a retired social worker from Highcliffe, said: “As a generalisation there definitely is not enough support for dementia sufferers. There’s not enough medical help either and seeing the numbers so high does worry me.”

James Burnell, 84, a retired dental technician from Moordown, said: “Raising awareness of the symptoms could lead to an easier diagnosis. I’ve had prostate cancer for 20 years and luckily I was diagnosed early. People know a lot about cancer now, but not about dementia.”

Alison Moore, 53, a homemaker from Bournemouth, said: “I think we’re about half way there with the level of support. Maybe a new centre could be built with staff and volunteers giving the help sufferers need as a lot of people rely on their family.”