DOZENS of Dudley dementia sufferers need to find alternative care after the Alzheimer’s Society confirmed it was pulling the plug on a vital service.

The charity has taken the "difficult decision" to axe its home support service next month due to funding issues.

Operating from the charity's Black Country office in Castle Mill, on the outskirts of Dudley, the service's 17 members of staff support 63 people by providing respite for carers and allowing dementia sufferers to continue to live in their own homes.

Oldswinford resident Jennifer Neale, aged 70, has used the service for the last three years, since her husband was diagnosed with dementia.

She said it meant "the world" to her to have carers come for two or three hours, three times per week, adding: "I rely on these people, they give me a life.

"I was gutted when I found out. It was really upsetting and I was at a loss to know who to turn to."

Mrs Neale, who paid for the service, said she had looked into alternative care arrangements but added: "We will personally miss the valued relationships that we have built up with the girls."

Tim McLachlan, the charity's operations director for local services, said the charity would continue to support people affected by dementia in Dudley by offering information and support.

He continued: “We always try and avoid closures and redundancies wherever possible. However, we have had to make the difficult decision to close the home support service in Dudley.

"This action was not taken lightly and has come after several years of keeping the service going and subsidising shortfalls in the required statutory funding through donations."

However he said this interim measure was "not a long-term or sustainable solution", adding: "If we are not covering the full costs of delivering a service, we are jeopardising the wider aims of the charity and the other services we provide.

"The prime reason for the closure is the national crisis of sustained and devastating central government cuts to social care funding.

"This is creating local tragedies like the home care service in Dudley."

Mr McLachlan said: "We are grateful to all the staff who have worked for the home support service over the years and have done their utmost to support and care for people with dementia.

"We would also like to thank the local funders who have supported the service to the extent that they are able to, including the clinical commissioning group and local authority.”

He added: “Our staff are meeting with those affected, individually, to discuss the other local support options available to them.

"We are aware that any change is difficult but we will give service users and carers the best possible support and advice to help find alternative care."

Conservative Dudley South MP Mike Wood said: "It is regrettable that Alzheimer's Society don't feel able to provide this service anymore. I know it was really valued by all the service users.

"I wish they had spoken with me before making this decision to see if there were any alternatives to this unfortunate step."