Dementia sufferer, 72, kept on metal chain by relatives who take him for walks

An elderly dementia sufferer is kept on a metal chain by relatives who release him once a week to take him for a walk.

The 72-year-old has had the 39-foot metal chain attached to his left foot and fixed next to his bed for about a year, according to local media.

He is able to venture outside his home in Ouhai, Wenzhou, China, but only as far as the chain allows.

Neighbours alerted local authorities after witnessing him shuffling around outside his home.

His brother claims they had to lock him up because he suffered a mental breakdown and attacks people.

And a brother-in-law said: "We chained him up last year. I release him every week and walk him around."

The elderly man's younger brother told local media: "My brother has senile dementia and his mental [state] is not good.

"Over 50 years ago, he had a fiancée, but soon after the engagement she ran away with other people."

He claimed his brother suffered a mental breakdown as a result.

He added: "Now it's only me taking care of my brother. His mental illness is getting more and more serious. He doesn't even speak to anyone.

"I tell others 'don't come near him because he'll attack you'.

"I have to lock him up with a metal chain, firstly for his safety because he often gets lost, secondly because he attacks people.

"He even hit my sister and our other brother."

Wenzhou University sociology professor Xu Xudong said: "Elderly people who are locked in their homes are a potential threat to themselves and others.

"The best thing to do is to send the elderly person to a medical institution for treatment.

"The related costs can be shared by family members, the government and medical institutions."

It is unclear whether the local authorities are investigating the matter.

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