People with dementia are increasingly trapped in hospital due to Britain’s deepening social care crisis, campaigners have warned.
An estimated 10,000 of those with Alzheimer's a year in England are stuck on wards - despite being medically cleared to leave - because of a lack of available care in the community.
New figures, obtained by ITV News, reveal the scale of the issue which is costing the NHS millions and causing misery for thousands of people with dementia and their families.
With the number of people with dementia set to soar beyond one million by 2021, the government is being pressed to find a long-term solution to social care provision.
Dotti Harman, 87, was admitted to hospital with pneumonia last September and - despite recovering quickly - was forced to stay in hospital for two months because of delays in finding her appropriate care at home.
“As you'd leave, she'd say: ‘Am I coming with you then?’ It's just heart-wrenching,” her daughter Sam Evans told ITV News.
Evans witnessed a rapid deterioration in her mother’s health and happiness.
“Her memory became worse, she became depressed, sad and withdrawn.
“It’s just upsetting to see..this little lady in bed knowing she shouldn’t be there.”
Dotti is now receiving excellent care in a residential care home where Evans says she has “got her little spark back”.
People with dementia were stranded in hospital over Christmas
amount NHS spends every month on unnecessary stays for people with dementia - Alzheimer's Society
People currently with dementia in UK - expected to pass one million by 2021
But the system which left her mother in limbo is still, according to Evans, forcing thousands of families on a “horrible journey” where they have to “fight” and “make enemies” to get their loved ones the care they need.
She called on the government to pour more money into social care to enable local authorities to show the compassion those with dementia like her mother deserve.
"They [Britain’s elderly] contributed to life in such a big way and now are we looking after them well? No, I don't think we are.”
"She's always worked, paid her taxes and what does she get at the end of it? Unless you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth what do you get? Nothing."
Jeremy Hughes, the chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said the figures were "frightening".
He called for greater integration between the health service and local authorities to ensure people with dementia avoid becoming "lost inside the NHS system" or dying prematurely.
"When you're in hospital, you get a tray of food in front of you. People with dementia often don't remember that they need to eat so the tray of food will be taken away again half an hour later and the person we've dementia won't have eaten.
"So sadly some people die in hospital when they've got dementia when they could have been living well in the community either in their own home or a care home."
ITV News has approached the government for comment.