When we published Age Home and Community: A Strategy for Housing for Scotland’s Older People: 2012 – 21 in 2011, it confirmed our commitment to help older people do what they told us they wanted to do – live independently at home. We recognised that living in the right home with suitable physical features and appropriate support services would, along with access to the right advice, enable people to live safely and independently at home.
We also committed to a mid-point review to assess progress and consider which actions should be taken forward to the next phase of the strategy. We published Age, Home and Community – The First Five Years on 30 October 2017, highlighting progress made on the original actions with case studies that illustrated how older people have benefited and improved their ability to live independently and safely at home.
There have been many positive developments since 2011, which are changing the way we provide services and support to those who need them:
- The formation of 31 new Health and Social Care Partnerships set up to deliver integrated health and social care services.
- The Scotland Act 2016 devolving a range of social security powers to the Scottish Parliament.
- The introduction of Self-Directed Support following the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013, providing people with greater choice and control over how their care and support is delivered.
- The Fairer Scotland Action Plan (2016), published following the Fairer Scotland conversation, with 50 actions, including specific actions directed towards older people, to help tackle poverty, reduce inequality and build a fairer and more inclusive Scotland.
We have responded to these changes by working together with stakeholders to develop policy and support good practice to achieve our aim of older people enjoying full and positive lives.
Age, Home and Community – The Next Phase sets out our approach to housing and older people. Providing the right advice, house and support will allow older people to live the way they choose. It sets out our vision for the next phase of the strategy and has been developed using what we have learned from the experiences of older people and the insights of organisations who work with them.
Our vision is for older people in Scotland to enjoy full and positive lives in homes that meet their needs. To achieve this aim we have identified three principles: Right Advice, Right Home and Right Support. We will focus on these three key areas to achieve the changes required to enable our growing population of older people to live safely and independently at home for as long as they chose to do so.
It is important that our older people’s housing strategy connects with other policies that affect older people, with clear outcomes and measureable actions. We are working with our analysts to identify measureable targets and will also develop an action plan with the advisory group once the refreshed strategy is published. Helping older people to live independently at home cuts across many areas of policy and practice, so it is right to set this strategy in a broader context. Ageing is an important cross-cutting policy issue and work is on-going in a number of other areas such as dementia, and social isolation and loneliness.
We recently consulted on a new fuel poverty strategy which included proposals on a new target and a revised definition of fuel poverty that is more focussed on low income households. We will introduce a Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill to Parliament in summer 2018. The Bill will achieve three key things – it will set a new target for fuel poverty; introduce a new definition that will focus our support on those who need it most, no matter where in Scotland they live; and mandate the production of a new long-term fuel poverty strategy.
This refreshed Strategy, along with other relevant Scottish Government action plans and strategies and local authority interventions, will continue to drive change to improve the lives of older people. These initiatives are referred to throughout this document, and highlight the importance of the collaborative cross-cutting policy work that is needed to deliver our vision of enabling older people in Scotland to enjoy full and positive lives in homes that meet their needs.
We will monitor and measure our progress to ensure we are delivering the support Scotland’s older people require in order to access the right advice, the right home and the right support.