The number of older people with dementia is predicted to grow by 20 per cent over the coming decade, a care centre has claimed.

Home Instead Wimbledon and Kingston said it has had to give 16 carers specialist training to deal with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, which is expected to affect nearly 5,000 people in Sutton and Merton by 2021.

Clare Jeffries from the centre said about 80 per cent of their patients suffer from the condition, which can cause severe memory loss and the ability to reason.

She said: “Rather than trying to force those living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia to live in our world in the here and now, we need to meet them in the past and the programme helps our caregivers to achieve this.

“Dementia care often focuses on keeping the person with dementia from exhibiting unwanted behaviours, whereas the new programme teaches caregivers to focus on supporting wanted behaviours.”

“Challenging behaviours” associated with dementia including refusal to cooperate, aggression, false accusations, wandering, and agitation.

The company’s New Malden-based centre was the first to sent its staff on the programme and it has pledged to have trained 1,000 carers across the country by the end of 2013.