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All Our Futures: Planning for a Scotland with an Ageing Population: 1: Summary and action plan

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Foreword

Rona Brankin photoAll our futures: Planning for a Scotland with an Ageing Population

This Strategy sets the vision for a future Scotland - a Scotland which will value and benefit from the talents and experience of its older people; a Scotland which welcomes its ageing population.

In this 21st century, the world around us is changing faster than it has ever done before. The certainties and assumptions of the past are being swept away by economic, technological, environmental and demographic change.

We can already see the impact of those changes in our own lives, in our communities and in Scotland's economy - and we can be sure that there is much more to come in the decades ahead.

Older people play a crucial role in almost every aspect of life in modern Scotland. But there is much more that we still need to do to enable and support their contribution to our society and our economy. The barriers and challenges faced by older people are not to be ignored. Age discrimination and ageist attitudes still see people judged on the basis of their chronological age, not on their life experiences and abilities. Challenging that discrimination and those attitudes is at the heart of our approach.

In the context of a changing world and an ageing population, we know that simply relying on our current actions and achievements will not be enough. As we look forward, we will need to ensure that our actions, our services and infrastructure fully reflect and are adapted to our changing demographic picture.

This document is the start of a process. Achieving our vision for future generations will not be the result of one strategy or action plan, or the actions of a limited number of people. Each and every one of us will have a role to play if we are to succeed and achieve our aspirations for Scotland's future. We look forward to working with you all in the months and years ahead.

Rhona Brankin Signature

Rhona Brankin, MSP
Minister for Communities

Introduction

  • In 1900, the average Scottish life expectancy was 40; in 2004, it was just over 74 for males and just over 79 for females
  • By 2031 the number of people aged 50+ is projected to rise by 28% and the number aged 75+ is projected to increase by 75%

Scotland is changing in a fundamental way: older people form an increasing proportion of our population, and will play an increasingly important role in our prosperity and future. We are entering an unprecedented era in Scotland, and we are not alone. All over the world, other countries are also beginning to consider the implications of big changes in the age structures of their populations.

The skills and life experience of older people are an asset in any nation, and Scotland can and should benefit from its changing age profile. Too often, population ageing has been seen in negative terms, with the emphasis on an increasing burden on health and social care services, rather than on the value that older people bring. So we need to challenge current perceptions about ageing and at the same time promote a positive vision for the longer term, in which all generations can plan for and influence the way Scotland prospers.

That is why the devolved government of Scotland has chosen to develop a strategic approach - to consider how best to respond to and plan for a Scotland with an ageing population.

The implications of an ageing population for Scotland's development and for society as a whole are wide-ranging and complex and we do not know exactly what the future holds. And so this strategy does not attempt to provide all the answers for the future development of Scotland with an ageing population. Instead, this document is an important milestone in this process. The evidence gathered and the issues raised will form the basis for reflection, debate and forward planning in all sectors in Scotland.

We believe that the government of Scotland, all local authorities, public agencies, further and higher education bodies, the private sector and the voluntary sector and, where relevant, the UK Government should work together to develop a shared understanding of the wider implications of an ageing population; work together to carry through the culture change we need; and plan effectively for the years ahead. We are committed to promoting and fostering this process into the future.

For this strategy we will focus mainly, though not exclusively, on the over 50 age group; while recognising the importance of the full life course. This age is chosen not because it marks the start of "old age" or because we think all people over this age are somehow similar, but because for many it is a point at which life circumstances start to change in ways that have implications for the future. For example, many people start to change their working patterns, some leaving the labour market completely. Grown-up children may leave home, and parents have more time and possibly more money. People take on caring responsibilities perhaps for the first time, for example for elderly relatives. People also gradually become more likely to develop long term health conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis, which they may have to live with for many years.

Scotland's population is changing. Lower birth rates mean that numbers of younger people will fall, while numbers of older people will rise. Ageing is a personal, biological and demographic fact, and mass ageing - people surviving into their seventies, eighties and nineties - is the result of huge and successful shifts in society.

Active ageing is the process of optimising opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age (World Health Organisation, 2002).

We have learned from extensive and in-depth consultation, discussion, seminars and focus groups with individuals and organisations across Scotland. This process has led to the shared vision set out here.

Our vision is of a Scotland where:

All the years of life are fulfilling and the contribution of older people - irrespective of age, ethnicity, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or religious belief - is valued, appreciated and where necessary supported.

Age is not used to define or make assumptions about the role, value or potential of an individual.

People enjoy more years of healthy life, and are enabled to manage long term health conditions.

People are enabled to continue to work for as long as they want or need to, in the way that suits them best, supported by flexible approaches to employment and retirement.

Older people have ready access to information technology and the internet.

Older people are able to participate in learning activities, both vocational and for personal development.

Older people are enabled to volunteer for as long as they want, in the way that suits them best, and that contribution is fully recognised.

Fewer older people than ever before will live in poverty.

Vulnerable older people are protected, safe, and are free from fear.

Older people have access to public services which are people-centred, accessible and joined up; and can access quality services appropriate to their needs, when and where they are required.

Houses, buildings, communities, transport systems and infrastructure are well-designed and accessible, and can be used by older people in safety and with confidence.

Authoritative, up-to-date sources of advice and information are accessible to older people, when and where they are required and in a format that is accessible and user-friendly.

We are not starting from a blank sheet in achieving this.
A range of key actions outlined below is already being taken which will help us achieve the outcomes. However, we recognise that we all also need to act now and plan to meet the challenges and opportunities the future presents.

What we are doing now

Much of what the government of Scotland and other bodies do already supports older people in living the lives they want to lead. In the period between 2003-04 and 2007-08 Scottish Executive spending on the 60+ age group increased by 5% per annum in real terms and now stands at £5.1 billion a year, for the full range of services to that age group.

Older people are benefiting from this spending which helps them to live longer, more comfortable and more fulfilling lives. Key policies are set out below.

Most people want to remain in their own homes for as long as they are able to. Our policy of Free Personal Care is directing £169 million in 2007-08 so that some 50,000 people can receive free personal care services, and initiatives such as our Telecare Development Programme with an investment of £8 million over
2 years and Care and Repair with some £16 million a year support older people with services which enable them to stay at home for as long as possible. We have established the Care Commission and we now state our commitment to publicise the National Care Standards so older people know what they can expect when they receive care services.

Accessible transport services enable older people to participate and access opportunities. Our National Concessionary Travel Scheme introduced in April 2006 with £216 million and £217 million in 2007-08 provides them with the means to go where they want or need to go. Between April 2006 and February 2007, 835,800 people aged 60 and over benefited from free bus travel. The projected £10.5 million annual funding for Demand Responsive Transport Services such as dial-a-ride and dial-a-bus also supports accessibility for older people, particularly those living in rural communities.

We will continue to help to increase the disposable income of older Scots through spending on Fuel Poverty Programmes including the Central Heating Programme. We have already spent over £294 million on fuel poverty programmes and a further £102 million has been set aside over 2006-08. So far over 300,000 households have benefited from these programmes, lifting a substantial proportion out of fuel poverty and providing warm, comfortable housing. Additional funding of £14 million in 2007-08 will increase the numbers benefiting.

The quality of older people's lives will also benefit from the concerted action being taken by the Executive on anti-social behaviour with an investment of over £120 million.

We are committed to continuing to achieve significant improvement in the health - and healthy life expectancy - of all older people in Scotland through the implementation of Delivering for Health. Work is already underway on improving health through a number of programmes including the ban on smoking in public places, a range of physical activity programmes for older people which promote the health and well-being benefits of being active, interventions designed to promote walking, such as Paths to Health, and supporting falls prevention work to enable older people to live independent lives for as long as possible. Initiatives such as the new free NHS eye examination introduced in April 2006 will also impact particularly on older people and all the indications are that uptake on this demand-led service is good.

Work to offer learning opportunities throughout life is underpinned through our Lifelong Learning Strategy and we look to colleges and universities to respond to the demands of our ageing population to provide appropriate training and learning opportunities.

We are continuing to support the employability of all those who wish to work through initiatives such as Workforce Plus, designed to help people of working age back into work.

Access to, and use of, information technology can impact positively in many ways on the lives of older people and our Digital Inclusion Strategy is designed to help make Scotland a digitally inclusive society and to overcome the Digital Divide; enabling all to participate in and benefit from the growing knowledge society in which we live.

We support Community Service Volunteers to run the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme ( RSVP) and the National Forum on Older Volunteering in Scotland, working to provide opportunities in volunteering. We recognise the value of links between the generations and are continuing to encourage schools across Scotland to build and develop ongoing relationships with older people.

We provide £200,000 a year for the Scottish Helpline for Older People and support other work which provides the information people need to access and use services.

There is more information about current government policy and activity in Volume 2 of the Strategy.

Future thinking

We have learned much from our work looking at the future of Scotland. The implications of an ageing population cannot be addressed easily in a single policy statement. Scotland's ageing population will present many new challenges but also an unrivalled opportunity for creativity and innovation in business and in education. Scotland's ageing population will challenge our perceptions of working life, of education and learning, of families and communities. At the same time it will reveal new and emerging opportunities for people in Scotland to live longer, healthier and fulfilling lives in vibrant communities. Maturity and experience should be an asset for Scotland - helping to shape and build communities of the future, constructively influencing the economy and benefiting the development and education of young people in Scotland.

What we will do - priorities for action

We identify six priority areas for strategic action. We have developed these based on what our consultation and engagement told us needs to be addressed now, informed by a clear view of the challenges and opportunities for the future.

For each priority area, we highlight what needs to happen to help bring about that change for the future. We ask others to play their role, building on the very positive work already happening in Scotland.

Effective implementation and monitoring will be key to success, and we intend to take the following actions to achieve this:

National Forum on Ageing

We will establish a broadly based National Forum on Ageing to champion this work; to help take forward the development of this Strategy through raising awareness, and providing advice and assistance to all sectors in developing their responses to the Strategy. We will allocate £100,000 in the first year for this work.

National stakeholder event

We will hold a national stakeholder event at the end of 2007 to hear the initial plans for action identified by key stakeholders at which we will consider further the responses of all sectors to this Strategy.

Indicators of success

We will work with the National Forum on Ageing to develop measures to monitor progress in all sectors toward the strategic outcomes.

Parliament

We intend to make regular reports to Parliament, starting in 2008.

1. We will act to continue to improve opportunities for older people - to remove barriers and to create more chances for older people to participate and to be involved in their communities - as volunteers; through paid work; in learning, leisure, culture and sport.

What government will do for the future

  • We will lead the process of removing barriers and supporting the contribution of older people, recognising that government has a key role to play in setting direction and in helping to coordinate wider activity.
  • We will provide £750,000 for a campaign to combat ageism and promote more positive images of older people.
  • We will encourage more volunteering among older people and provide £100,000 each year to support this activity.
  • We will raise awareness of age as an equality issue and foster greater understanding of the equality issues associated with an ageing population.
  • We have increased support to Project Scotland to promote more collaboration and joint activity between older and younger people.

What we invite others to do

We invite public, private, voluntary, community and older people's organisations to work with the National Forum on Ageing to develop their strategies for engaging positively with older people; and to report on their concrete proposals for action at the first national ageing event at the end of 2007.

Success will mean

  • Local Authorities working with community planning partners to plan and deliver age-friendly services with older people actively engaged and involved; finding ways to create opportunities for older people in their areas, including those that they can create as employers; setting out clear outcomes for older people developed in dialogue with older people in their communities.
  • The NHS making a strong contribution in local community development, as a leading employer, as a major service provider, as a partner to many voluntary sector organisations and as an advocate for the needs of older people in local communities; playing a key role in removing barriers and opening up opportunities for older people.
  • Businesses working on the new products and services older people will want in the future to improve their quality of life; and removing barriers to older employees and entrepreneurs.
  • Scottish Enterprise will pilot Personal Enterprise Shows with specific emphasis on people aged over 50 and Enterprise Networks will consider how they might promote entrepreneurial activity among the
    over 50s.
  • Voluntary organisations building capacity to increase participation of and work with the older population.
  • Older People feeling confident and wanted as they work with government, business, the voluntary sector and others to remove remaining barriers to full civic participation.

2. We will act to forge better links between the generations

What government will do for the future

  • Government recognises the crucial importance of this work and will establish a Scottish Centre for Intergenerational Practice with £200,000 in the first year to help develop intergenerational work across Scotland.
  • Specifically, the Centre will:
    • promote best practice;
    • offer support to individuals, organisations and businesses who want to get involved in intergenerational work.
  • The Centre will work with partners across Scotland, with the National Forum on Ageing and draw on the expertise of the UK Centre for Intergenerational Practice to develop measures of the success of intergenerational work.
  • Government will work with the new Centre to support further mentoring schemes for young adults and older people to facilitate sharing experiences, learning and skills.

What we invite others to do

We invite public, private, voluntary, community and older people's organisations to develop intergenerational work in their areas.

Success will mean

  • Local Authorities creating opportunities for older people and younger people to interact positively in their area - in schools (in classrooms and in the governance arrangements for schools); in youth work; in services for older people; and in sport, culture and leisure for example.
  • Businesses working on how their older employees might help develop the skills and capacity of young people - both within companies and in the wider community.
  • Voluntary organisations developing further opportunities for older and younger people to work together and share experiences.
  • Older people looking for opportunities to contribute to the development of young people - as grandparents; as role models; as experienced working colleagues; and as volunteers, for example.

3. We will continue to act to improve the health and quality of life of older people

What government will do for the future

  • We will contribute to the quality of life of older people by continuing our provision of central heating support.
  • The government of Scotland is committed to continuing to achieve significant improvement in the health - and healthy life expectancy - of all older people in Scotland through the implementation of Delivering for Health.
  • We will continue to promote health services that allow older people, if they choose, to remain at home and in their community wherever possible.
  • We will continue to promote health improvement for older people, focussing on mental health and
    well-being, physical activity, smoking prevention, better diet and a sensible approach to alcohol.
  • We will continue to lead partners across the public, private, community and voluntary sectors to reduce health inequalities in Scotland.
  • We will develop skills in all physical activity-related professionals working with older people and train staff in residential care and similar settings in how to support residents to benefit from physical activity.

What we invite others to do

We invite public, private, voluntary, community and older people's organisations to work together to develop clear plans for continuous improvement in the health and quality of life of older people in their areas.

Success will mean

  • Local Authorities working with local partners on priorities for action that will make the biggest impact for the future.
  • NHS Boards making strong progress on Delivering for Health and working in partnership with Local Authorities and others.
  • Businesses anticipating the health products and services that will improve the quality of life for older people in the future, and seeing how they can, through their activities, contribute to healthier older people as employees and as consumers.
  • Voluntary organisations embedding and promoting positive attitudes to healthy older life in every aspect of their work.
  • Older people improving their own health and healthy life expectancy through healthy lifestyles.

4. We will continue to improve care, support and protection for those older people who need it.

What government will do for the future

  • The government of Scotland commits to provide high quality and essential services to those who cannot rely solely on the support of their families and communities now and in the future. We will encourage all to understand the needs of older people in all their diversity.
  • We will continue our commitment to free personal care. We will publicise the National Care Standards to raise the awareness of older people and their families and will fund this with £200,000 in 2007-08.
  • We will continue to support the roll out of Telecare services for older people across Scotland.
  • We will tackle the issue of elder abuse through the implementation of the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Bill, which has now completed its Scottish Parliament consideration.

What we invite others to do

We invite public, private, voluntary, community and older people's organisations to develop their plans for continually improving care and support of older people in their areas.

Success will mean

  • Local Authorities, jointly with health boards, identifying clear priorities for action and change based on engagement with older people and carers in their area and the expected needs of the older population in the future.
  • NHS Boards, jointly with local authorities, preparing for the future, anticipating that older people will often want tailored local community services and services in their homes.
  • Businesses offering products and services that can enable older people to feel safe and secure in their homes and communities.
  • Voluntary organisations looking for new opportunities to offer community-based and tailored care and support services to older people.
  • People planning ahead wherever possible for themselves and contributing to the development of improved care and support services for other older people in the future.

In relation to priority 3 and 4, we are particularly interested in exploring the potential of thematic outcome agreements, as a new approach to services which links funding more directly to the achievement of outcomes, while offering partnerships more flexibility on the way funding is used or some relaxation of existing reporting burdens. We will set aside funding of £2 million in 2007-08 to support suitable proposals.

5. We will ensure that the right infrastructure is in place for a Scotland with an ageing population with housing, transport and planning progressively meeting the needs of all ages.

What government will do for the future

  • We will continue to provide support to older people through our concessionary travel programme and improvements to the accessibility of public transport.
  • We will welcome proposals from local authorities and NHS on how to improve the outcomes for older people.
  • We will continue to fund and support help delivered through Care and Repair that enables older people to adapt their houses to meet their changing needs and so remain in their own homes. An additional £10 million in 2007-08 will expand local authorities' scope to address demand.
  • We will promote an integrated approach in developing and delivering services to older people and explore the potential of thematic outcome agreements with local authorities and Health and Social Care Partnerships.
  • We will move forward our commitment to develop
    'all-age housing' by which we mean housing that is suitable for people's changing needs through life.
  • We will continue to provide support for services and grants that enable older people to make changes and improvements to their homes so that they can remain there wherever possible.

What we invite others to do

We invite public, private, voluntary, community and older people's organisations to work together to develop their plans for continuous improvement in providing the right infrastructure for Scotland's ageing population and in ensuring that housing, transport and planning meet the needs of all ages.

Success will mean

  • Local Authorities thinking how best to develop
    age-friendly services to support older people across the whole range of housing, transport and planning services; and making proposals to the government of Scotland based on thematic outcome agreements which focus action and services for older people around clearly defined outcomes.
  • Businesses considering how their activities can contribute to improving Scotland's infrastructure and where products and services might assist older people's housing and transport needs.
  • Voluntary organisations looking for further opportunities to support older people across the whole spectrum of housing, transport and planning; expanding the role of community organisations in developing Demand Responsive Transport Services and partnering local authorities, the police and other local agencies to help create safer communities.
  • People working with local agencies to make the communities where they live safer and more pleasant for all ages.

6. We will offer learning opportunities throughout life.

What government will do for the future

  • We will foster a new learning culture for Scotland that takes account of the ageing population; and that capitalises on the contribution that older people can make in growing learning in every part of Scottish life.
  • We will work with Student Awards Agency Scotland and learndirect scotland to produce information, advice and guidance targeted at older people. We will work together to develop a series of targeted information leaflets on learning and financial support for learning for people over 50.
  • We will develop new approaches to encourage and support lower skilled workers to improve their skills and employability.

What we invite others to do

We invite public, private, academic, voluntary, community and older people's organisations to work together to develop further proposals for how to engage older people positively in educational and learning opportunities, now and in the future.

Success will mean

  • Local Authorities working with local businesses and community organisations to offer varied learning and training opportunities focused on the needs of their local areas.
  • Businesses considering what they can do to develop the skills of their employees throughout their working life; and then to help them manage a successful transition to a positive and fulfilling retirement, with special stress on offering opportunities for flexible employment and skills development towards the end of careers.
  • Voluntary organisations looking to develop the skills of older people; and help older people contribute to the learning of others.
  • Older people embracing - and continuing to demand - learning opportunities for their personal development, improving their quality of life and helping them to lead positive and fulfilled lives.

We will act to continue to improve opportunities for older people - to remove barriers and create more chances for older people to participate and to be involved

More detail on action in these priority areas follows:

1. We will work with stakeholder organisations and with the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights to increase understanding of age as an equality issue and the implications of ageing for different groups of people.

2. We will undertake a campaign to raise awareness about age discrimination and promote positive attitudes towards ageing.

3. Project Scotland will drive engagement between generations by increasing opportunities for volunteer mentors and strengthening partnerships with voluntary organisations that serve and are served by older people.

4. Recognising that for some the wish to remain in the workforce may involve career change, we will work with Careers Scotland to support career decision making for older people wishing to remain in the workforce.

5. We will, as an exemplar employer, promote best practice in flexible employment, starting with the introduction of the Scottish Executive's "no retirement age" policy.

6. We will work through the Equality Matters in Business project with small and medium-sized enterprises to promote the business benefits of employing and retaining older workers.

7. Enterprise Networks will monitor older people's interest in setting up new businesses, and will consider developing marketing approaches specifically aimed at older people. For example, Scottish Enterprise will pilot Personal Enterprise Shows with specific emphasis on people aged over 50.

8. We will, in partnership with the business sector and our Enterprise Agencies and Networks, support and grow the Silver Economy.

9. We will consider the need for further, specifically Scottish, action in our review of Financial Inclusion Action Plan during 2007.

We will act to forge links between the generations

10. We will establish a Scottish Centre for Intergenerational Practice to help develop intergenerational work accross Scotland.

11. We will encourage local authorities to work with schools and the new Parent Councils (from August 2007) to help identify the role that parents, grandparents and others, such as older adults in general, can play in supporting the school.

12. We will include material on engaging with the community and considering the contribution grandparents and older adults can make to the life of the school in the welcome pack for members of Parent Councils. This will support them with their function to promote contact between the school, pupils and parents, and the wider community.

13. We will commission Learning Teaching Scotland ( LTS) to hold an event to showcase the contribution older people can make to young people's learning and the ethos of schools.

14. We will commission LTS to include examples of good intergenerational working in the illustrations of good practice for A Curriculum for Excellence.

15. In building the new curriculum, we will take into account the benefits of using the ideas, skills and experience of older people as a source of enrichment for teaching and learning.

16. In taking forward the Youth Work Strategy we will be working with voluntary organisations to develop an Action Plan for Volunteering in the youth work sector. This will apply to volunteers of all ages so will include the benefits of older people acting as role models, coaches, instructors and mentors in youth work projects.

17. We will build on the existing work of voluntary sector organisations who offer emotional and practical support to vulnerable parents in their community by looking for opportunities to use the experience and knowledge of older people in this work.

18. We will explore further ways in which grandparents assisting with childcare can be better supported, to enable families to benefit from the experience and knowledge they have to offer. We are looking at the results of the consultation on the National Fostering and Kinship Care Strategy and will ensure that the role of grandparents is considered when we are determining the way forward.

19. We will seek to retain older workers in appropriate (e.g. advisory) posts that allow younger staff to tap into their experience.

20. Project Scotland will drive engagement between generations by creating increased opportunities for volunteer mentors and strengthened partnerships with voluntary organisations that serve and are served by older people.

21. We will invite applications for funding from consortia of voluntary organisations for pilot projects which assist closer working between older and younger volunteers.

22. We will hold a seminar to explore opportunities for volunteer organisations in Scotland to bring older and younger people together.

23. Volunteer Development Scotland will extend the Millennium Volunteer Awards to include awards for older people who have contributed particularly to intergenerational volunteering.

24. We will work to take forward the community-led approach to intergenerational volunteering pioneered through the work of the Peebles Youth Trust. We will do this by supporting projects elsewhere in Scotland that will test in other settings the learning and methodologies arising from the Peebles project.

We will continue to act to improve the health and quality of life of older people

25. We are committed to continuing to achieve significant improvement in the health - and the healthy life expectancy - of all older people in Scotland through the implementation of Delivery for Health.

26. We will assess the impact of future work programmes on health improvement and health inequalities to ensure that older people are considered fully in the development and delivery of policy.

27. We will improve the comfort and health of older people by continuing the funding for our central heating programme.

28. We will develop skills in all physical activity-related professionals working with older people and train staff in residential care and similar settings in how to support residents to benefit from physical activity.

29. We will support the introduction of the new British Heart Foundation/ NHS Health Scotland 'Active for Later Life' guidance for the physical activity workforce.

30. We will explore the particular needs of older people in relation to food and health and introduce best practice guidelines and nutritional and catering standards in a wide range of settings for older people. The aim is to prevent poor dietary habits and malnutrition which may occur through changing life circumstances. We will look at the way food is provided and promote the importance of food preparation and eating of meals in the maintenance of health and well-being throughout life into later years.

We will continue to improve care and support specifically tailored for those older people who need it

31. We will remain committed to working with carers as key partners in providing care. Those Care 21 Report recommendations with significant resource implications will be considered in the next Scottish Executive Spending Review in 2007.

32. As a priority, we will make resources available to ensure that the National Care Standards are well publicised so that people have a clear understanding of what they should expect from Care provision.

33. We will continue to support the roll out of Telecare services for older people across Scotland.

34. We will tackle the issue of elder abuse through the implementation of the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Bill, which has now completed its Scottish Parliament consideration.

We will ensure that the right infrastructure is in place for a Scotland with an ageing population with housing, transport and planning progressively meeting the needs of all ages

35. We will continue to provide support to older people through our concessionary travel programme and improvements to the accessibility of public transport.

36. We will move forward our commitment to develop 'all-age housing' by which we mean housing that is suitable for people's changing needs through life.

37. We will continue to provide support for services and grants that enable older people to make changes and improvements to their homes so that they can remain there wherever possible.

38. We will issue updated guidance to local authorities on future requirements for Local Housing Strategies. This will ensure that Local Authorities fully recognise the implications of demographic profiles at local level when considering local assessments of housing need and planned provision, future housing investment planning and targeting of resources, and how they may more strongly influence private sector housing solutions.

39. We will assess the scope for new options for housing and support needs of older people across all tenures, in the light of rapid developments in technology. This will include consideration of the
long-term future of sheltered housing; development of more tailored support packages, and the provision of a wider range of integrated services to the older person's own home. We will look at the experience of other countries to inform new developments.

40. We will actively explore ways to make use of 'equity release' to
fund adaptations and customised-housing support packages including maintenance, improvements and adaptations to homes or to fund support and care services beyond those provided through free
personal care.

41. We will continue to address the needs of older people through the help delivered through Care and Repair.

We will offer learning opportunities throughout life

42. We will develop new approaches to encourage and support lower skilled workers to improve their skills and employability.

43. We will foster a new learning culture for Scotland that takes account of the ageing population; and that capitalises on the contribution that older people can make in growing learning in every part of Scottish life.

44. Through our Lifelong Learning Strategy, we will encourage additional opportunities for older learners, working with our colleges and universities to ensure that they can respond to the demand from 50+ learners in their approaches to recruitment and admission.

45. We will work with Student Awards Agency Scotland and learndirect scotland to produce information, advice and guidance targeted at older people. We will work together to develop a series of targeted information leaflets on learning and financial support for learning for people aged over 50.

46. We will explore, within current reviews of Further and Higher Education, ways in which more older people could have an opportunity to participate in learning later in life.

47. We will explicitly include older people in the Executive's review of learner support for part-time study and ensure that any new arrangements do not exclude them.

Conclusion

All the measures together will help make Scotland a place fit for the future. A place where ageing is more than accommodated, it is welcomed, supported and turned to advantage. Older people's voices need to be heard; preparing for an active life needs to become routine; talent and experience need to be prized beyond traditional retirement age and links need to be forged between generations. The programme of engagement we have set for the year to come will generate more proposals - national and local - as part of a long-term process of adapting successfully to the challenge of Scotland's ageing population. We look forward, and are committed, to making it a successful transition - for all our futures.