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Dementia sufferer left locked in a bus

A dementia sufferer forgotten by charity staff was left in a locked bus in the cold for 45 minutes.

The woman, believed to be in her 80s, had to bang on the windows to get attention after she was left in a depot by Alzheimer's Society staff.

Two people have now been suspended by the charity.

The bus had been parked at about 4:15pm by a charity worker at the Middlefields depot in South Shields. She was found by South Tyneside Council staff at 4:50pm. The woman was returned home at 6:30pm.

An initial report into the circumstances of what happened has now been completed, and the Alzheimer's Society is carrying out an investigation.

Alzheimer's Society takes the well-being and safety of everyone using our services very seriously.

On this occasion mistakes were made that led to this very unfortunate incident.

We have apologised whole-heartedly to the individual and their family that in this instance we fell below the standard of care and support that we usually deliver in the care of our vulnerable service users.

We are sorry for the distress that this has caused to the family.

– Helen Foster, the Alzheimer's Society regional director for the north

From the moment we became aware of this incident, we took action and continue to take the matter extremely seriously.

'We have been in communication with the Alzheimer's Society from an early stage and have urged them to identify exactly what went wrong on this occasion and to review procedures in consultation with our officers.

'Our priority is to ensure that users of services funded by the Council are well looked after and safe.

– South Tyneside Council


  1. National

Less than half dementia sufferers have a good quality of life

Fewer than half of the people suffering from dementia, who currently live in care homes, enjoy a good quality of life, a charity has warned.

The report from the Alzheimer's Society also found that record numbers of people in care homes have the condition.

Record numbers of people in care homes have dementia Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

It said 80 per cent of people in residential care homes have either memory loss or dementia.

Previous estimates put the number of people with the condition at just over 60 per cent.

"People with dementia sometimes need a helping hand"

The Alzheimer's Society is encouraging people to learn about dementia in order to make those suffering from the disease feel included and understood.

"People with dementia want to remain independent and engaged in their communities by continuing to socialise with their friends and family and be as active as possible. As the brain gradually shuts down, people with dementia sometimes need a helping hand to go about their daily lives and feel included in their local community which is why the Dementia Friends initiative is of such importance and will help to improve the quality of life for someone living with dementia."

– Caroline Burden Area Manager for Alzheimer's Society in North East and Cumbria

Do you understand dementia?

Alzheimer's Society research shows that 41% of people in the North East feel they have a role to play to support people with dementia, but only 48% feel they have a good understanding of the disease.

'Dementia Friends' is an initiative to help a million people understand how to speak sensitively to a person suffering from dementia. The project helps people to make those with dementia feel included and understood.