FUNDING for the elderly should be focused on helping them live in their own homes for as long as possible, a city politician has said.

Cllr Carol Runciman, the executive member for health at City of York Council, believes money should be prioritised to help keep people in their own homes as they grow older.

She made the comments after health and care groups warned the dignity, health and well-being of older people and those with disabilities are in danger due to unreliable funding.

Those concerned include leaders of councils, the NHS, care providers and charities, who want money to councils to be protected in November's Government Spending Review.

And Cllr Runciman said funding should be put into giving elderly people their independence for longer.

She said: "The most important thing is people are living longer, the demographic has changed and more elderly people need caring for.

"We want to care for them as much as we can in their own homes for as long as possible, and that's the most important funding.

"The council is looking at all sorts of ways to try and work with various groups in the community to do exactly this.

"We want to try and enable people to stay in their own homes for a bit longer and live an independent life as much as possible, so they don't need to go into residential care homes.

"People are staying in their own homes but they need support and that's where investment should go for early help and early intervention."

While the Government has pledged an extra £8billion a year for the NHS by 2020, social care has received no such assurances.

Ray James, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “It is vitally important that this year’s Spending Review understands the importance of our services to vulnerable people; the significance of a well-funded, collaborative and integrated social care service has for the NHS, and the near-certainty that without adequate and sustained finances our ability to carry out our Care Act duties to maintain a viable home and residential market will be in jeopardy."