Age Scotland: Scotland must be better prepared to meet the needs of an ageing population
Population and housing estimates reveal greater urgency of addressing the needs of an ageing population, according to Age Scotland.
The data, released on Friday by National Records of Scotland, reveals that the number of people aged 65+ has increased by 256,600 in the last 20 years.
All 32 Scottish council areas have seen an increase in their population aged 65 and over in the last decade, with the greatest increases occurring in West Lothian, Orkney Islands and Clackmannanshire.
The housing figures show that around a third of households in Scotland consist of just one person, amounting to 900,000 people living alone.
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said: “Today’s figures highlight the need for Scotland to be better prepared to meet the health, social care and housing needs of an ageing population in order to ensure everyone can enjoy a dignified standard of living in later life.
“Our health and social care services will face the challenge of supporting an increasing number of people to live well at an older age, so they must be fully equipped and planning ahead on how best to do this.
“With the number of older people living alone also on the rise, we must continue tackling loneliness and isolation as a matter of urgency – especially given the ongoing epidemic of lockdown loneliness. Supporting connections to people, services and communities has never been more important.”
He added: “Whether they live alone or not, older people should also be able to live well and safely in their own homes for as long as they want to and are able, which will only be possible if we see an increase in availability of accessible and adaptable homes and further efforts to reduce pensioner and fuel poverty.
“With a growing older population, it is also vital that local decision-making in Scotland meets the needs of older people. Just as the Scottish Government has a dedicated Minister for Older People and Equalities, we believe that Councils should have a role focussing on older people, which is why we are continuing work on our Older People’s Champions campaign.
“These are not issues that will disappear overnight but, by planning ahead and ensuring we are as equipped as possible to meet the needs of an ageing population, we can help make sure Scotland is fit for the future.”