NEW research has identified nearly half of people in Southampton are affected by dementia.

Launched to mark the start of Dementia Action Week, the study by British Gas found 49 per cent of people in the city are affected by the condition – either themselves or via a family member or friend.

It also revealed that 78 per cent of survey respondents said they understand feeling confused and disorientated is a concern for someone with dementia and 31 per cent of people have not considered personal finances problems with the condition.

British Gas believes one in every 100 households the company serves is living alone with the disease.

To help support its vulnerable customers, more than 20,000 British Gas employees have become Dementia Friends, including 1,460 engineers across the South East and 127 team members at the company's offices in Chandlers Ford.

Keira Whitlock is a specially trained Dementia Champion, based at the British Gas office in Chandlers Ford, helping the local community to better understand dementia.

She said: “What strikes me the most when we go out and meet people in the area, is that everyone knows someone who’s been affected by dementia. People can relate to what we’re saying and we can make a real difference to their lives. So many people tell us they wish they’d known sooner about the help that’s available.”