2.1 The Scottish population is ageing and in 2020, there were an estimated one million Scotland residents aged sixty-five years or older. By 2040, this will rise to an estimated 1.4 million, or 25% of our population. Old age offers great opportunities for us as individuals, for communities, for society and for our economy. Older people provide a valuable contribution to our society through employment, spending, volunteering and often through unpaid caring.
2.2 However, older age can bring disadvantage too. Currently in Scotland people aged over 70 years live with an average of three chronic health conditions. People aged 65 years and over account for 70% of emergency admissions to hospitals. Over time, older people are taking a greater number of medications, attending more healthcare appointments and being admitted to hospital more often and despite all this, are experiencing poorer health and more delays in discharge than younger people.
2.3 Scotland must adapt to our increasingly older population and ensure that older people are afforded the opportunity to age well and be resilient. Allowing them to live and die well, in the way they would like to, by listening to and respecting their wishes. We need to address inequalities in this age group and support those most in need, no matter where they live.
2.4 The COVID-19 Pandemic has shone a spotlight on older people, who were amongst the worst affected by the virus in society. In fact, 73.3% or almost three quarters of those currently on the Covid highest risk list are 55 years of age or over. As we rebuild and remobilise the NHS in Scotland, we have a significant opportunity to ensure that older people are placed at the centre of that recovery and focus on a preventative, joined up approach to healthy ageing in older people.
2.5 It is clear that many older people's health and social care services need to adapt now to ensure that health and social care services can adapt to the increasing ageing population and the complex health care needs that older people can have.
2.6 In March 2021, we published our Statement of Intent, setting out our plan to develop a new integrated health and social care strategy for older people. We committed to developing the strategy with older people, and the people and organisations which support them.
2.7 This strategy will build on the work which has already been undertaken across Scotland to deliver integrated, person centred health and social care for older people, address gaps, and develop any new priorities from emerging areas of work from, for example, the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
2.8 This consultation forms part of the engagement to develop the new health and social care strategy for older people.
Why Your Views Matter
2.9 The Scottish Government's ambition is to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow old. As people in Scotland get older they experience a great quality of life though safe, integrated, person centred health and social care. They are able to live actively, and drive the decisions about their health and wellbeing; with their human rights respected and their dignity protected.
2.10 Ageing is inevitable but ageing in poor health should not be. It is important for everyone in Scotland that we make sure our health and social care services are delivering for older people so that we can grow older healthier and live independently. Hearing the views of a wide range of people will therefore be an important part of developing this new strategy.
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