Aging population sparks call for care investment

Istock-1053414448 (1)

New figures show 19% of Scots are aged 65 or over. 

14th August 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A charity is calling for more investment in health care for older people as new figures highlighted Scotland’s aging population.

Statistics published this week by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that 19% of Scots were aged 65 and over in 2018, compared with 16% a decade before.

NRS said this reflects a number of societal changes, including longer lifespans and lower birth rates than in previous years.

The figures predict that by 2038, a quarter of the population will be 65 and over, placing a far greater demand on health and care services.

Responding to the statistics, Age Scotland said it is vital that Scotland is fit for the future with more investment in health and social care.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland chief executive, said: “Scotland’s ageing population presents many challenges but also opportunities. We already know that Scotland is ageing faster than the rest of the UK and the trend is that we will continue to get older as a country.

“We need to ensure that Scotland is fit for the future. This includes ensuring that our precious health and social care services are properly resourced and are planning on how best to support more older people. We already know that social care in Scotland faces immense pressure in terms of funding and staffing, so it is vital that this is properly invested in and extensive recruitment is undertaken.”

According to the charity, the next 20 years will see a 50% rise in people living with dementia in Scotland. It estimates that one in three children born this year has a chance to develop the condition in later life.

“It is therefore absolutely vital that Scotland gets it right in terms of how to best support and care for those affected,” Mr Sloan said.

“Prevention and education about dementia is also key to helping people become more aware about how to reduce the risk of developing it and living well if they are affected.”

The charity also called for better support for older people in the workplace, and for employers to become more age-inclusive.

Mr Sloan said: “People are working longer both because they want to and that financially, they need to. Employers need to become much more age-inclusive, support older workers better and embrace their huge wealth of experience.

“This would help reduce the £360m skills shortage in Scotland and would benefit the economy, business and the workforce.”