THE amount of money to fund adaptations to properties to enable disabled people to remain in their homes has almost doubled over the past three years.

Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet is set to approve releasing £868,000 made available through the Government’s Better Care Fund programme, which seeks to join-up health and care services, enabling people to live independently in their communities for as long as possible.

Funding the work is viewed as vital by the authority’s leading members, amid concerns over its escalating social care budget, as adaptations to a disabled person’s home can cut domestic risks, delay the need for care and support and also prevent or delay the admission to residential care.

Amounts of up to £30,000 are available to adults and children with a disability, when works such as access to properties or heating improvements are judged “necessary and appropriate” and when it is “reasonable and practicable” to carry them out.

An officers’ report to Cabinet members states the proportion of people who will need work carried out to their homes to enable them to continue to live independently is likely to increase, partly due to an ageing population in the town.

It says the number of people aged 65 or over is set to rise by 23 per cent by 2025 and thereby the number of older people with disabilities will increase.

The report states: “Demand for adaptations has also been accelerated by medical advances which have allowed people of all ages with varying levels of disability and complex needs, to lead more independent lives in the community.

“Similarly, more children with disabilities are living longer into adulthood, which means families need to adapt their homes to meet their changing needs.”