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 . Older 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.
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.
Scotland must adapt to our increasingly older population and ensure that older people are afforded the opportunity to age well and be resilient. We need to address inequalities in this age group and support those most in need, no matter where they live.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has shone a spotlight on older people, who were amongst the worst affected by the virus in society. As we rebuild and remobilise the NHS in Scotland, we have a significant opportunity to ensure that older people are at the centre of that recovery and to focus on a preventative, joined up approach to healthy ageing.
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.
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.
1.1 Consultation and Engagement 2021
As we committed to in our Statement of Intent, we have engaged with a wide range of older people from a range of organisations and groups that support them, as well as individuals through a questionnaire which ran from September-November 2021.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, this engagement took place online. We recognise that this may have led to many older people being disengaged in this part of our engagement – however, this was the initial part of our engagement, and, as set out later, we will engage further on this consultation paper to ensure we get a wide range of views.
During these sessions we listened and gathered views from attendees on the priorities set out in our Statement of Intent
Views and opinions expressed during this engagement process were used in the development of a formal written consultation paper and the questions within it.
- Statement of Intent pubished March 2021
- Engagement and consultation with older people - Sep- Nov 2021
- Development of consultation paper Dec 21-Jan 22
- Formal Consultation exercise Mar-July 2022
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