Distraught relatives yesterday told how some people are being refused care even as their condition deteriorates.
Home closures and a lack of social care funding are creating a crisis, according to Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society.
A helpline set up by the charity is being bombarded as families frantically search for options.
He said: “Families phone us up and say they’ve been told their mum, dad or sister needs to move into a care home but they can’t find one to take them.
“Increasingly, we’re hearing of care homes cherry-picking people who are easier to support because they don’t get enough money from local authorities to cover the cost of specialist dementia care.
“Some people have relatives who have ended up in a care home 200 miles away – because they can’t find anything closer.”
Jeanette Nash, from Bristol, died in hospital three years after developing dementia.
Her daughter-in-law Anne said: “We went round to 10 homes. But we kept being told they couldn’t accept someone with such advanced dementia.”
More than 920,000 people suffer from dementia in Britain and the number is predicted to soar to two million by 2050.
Mr Hughes blamed closing care homes for the increased demand for care home beds and pointed out that fewer people are able to care for their elderly parents because they live further away.