A NEW strategy is being drawn up to cope with a big increase in the number of Wiltshire people with dementia.

Latest estimates are that more than 6,500 residents suffer from dementia and the number is expected almost to double by 2030, placing a strain on local services. A Wiltshire Council draft strategy for the years to 2021 says the estimated cost of dementia in the county this year is £152m, which takes into account accommodation, formal care and the roughly £55m cost of care provided informally by family and friends.

It is also reckoned that 62 per cent of those with dementia in Wiltshire have not been given a diagnosis. Most of those with dementia in Wiltshire are women – 64 per cent.

The strategy report says people with dementia and their carers believe that day care, memory cafes and some community activities are good, but they also believe there is room for improvement in areas such as support for people living alone. They also report mixed experiences in obtaining support from family doctors.

The strategy, which has been approved for public consultation, proposes a series of priorities to improve care and life for dementia sufferers and their families. The steps include providing more information about services, monitoring GP assessments, improving needs assessments and promoting cooperation between the different organisations involved.

Other steps include using personal budgets to promote flexible and personalised care, further implementation of the Help to Live at Home scheme and a review of respite breaks for carers. One aim is for new care home developments to include respite provision.

Estimates of the numbers of dementia sufferers who are registered with a GP are that there are 576 in Salisbury, 368 in Amesbury, 163 in Tidworth, 108 in Wilton and 96 in Tisbury.