National Care Service - people who access adult social care and unpaid carers: evidence

Provides an overview of key sources of evidence about people who access social care and unpaid carers in Scotland. It is part of a collection of contextual evidence papers, setting out key sources of information about social care and related areas in Scotland.

Key findings

  • An estimated 1 in 25 people of all ages in Scotland (231,925 people) were reported as receiving social care support and services at some point during 2020/21.
  • It is estimated that around three-quarters (77%) of people receiving social care support in 2020/21 were aged 65 and over, and around three-fifths (61%) were female.
  • An estimated 93,280 people received home care at some point during 2020/21. There were also an estimated 130,130 people with an active community alarm and/or telecare service.
  • There were an estimated 33,353 residents in care homes as at 31st March 2021, which is 11% lower than in 2011. Over 90% of residents in 2021 were in older people care homes.
  • The number of carers living in Scotland was estimated to be around 700,000 to 800,000 before the pandemic. In 2020, it was estimated that there were around 839,000 adult carers living in Scotland.
  • Older, working age females are more likely to provide unpaid care than other groups. People in the most deprived areas are more likely to provide 50 or more hours of unpaid care a week compared to people living in the least deprived areas
  • The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the social care sector. For care at home services, some people had their care packages reduced or stopped as partnerships focused on providing support to those with critical needs. Many people who receive care and their families also chose to reduce the support they received. More than a quarter of deaths where Covid-19 was mentioned on the certificate between the start of the pandemic and February 2022 were in care homes.



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