Charity says more must be done to ensure everyone in Scotland can enjoy a dignified standard of living in later life
A charity representing the rights of older people in Scotland has said the country must rise to the challenges of its ageing population.
Population projection figures released on Wednesday by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) show that the number of people aged 65 and over is estimated to grow by 30% by 2045 from 1.06 million to 1.37m.
The analysis also projects that the number of children will fall by 22% over this time period.
Age Scotland has said that the significant increase in people of pension age which has been projected over the next two decades means that urgent action is needed to make Scotland fit for the future.
The national charity for older people has highlighted the importance of preparing to meet the needs of an ageing population sooner rather than later.
Research from Age Scotland has previously revealed that only one in five older people feel valued for their contribution to society, while more than a third feel that life is getting worse for older people.
Now, the charity is urging that more must be done to ensure everyone in Scotland can enjoy a dignified standard of living in later life.
Age Scotland’s chief executive, Brian Sloan, said: “These figures highlight the urgent need for Scotland to better plan, improve resources and build services to support older people if we are to meet the needs of an ageing population over the next two decades and beyond.
“Even before the pandemic, our health and social care services faced immense pressure and now they’re being stretched to breaking point.
“If we are to deliver on the healthcare needs of older people both now and in the future, more investment and resources will be needed to ensure older people can access what they need, when they need it.
“It’s clear we have some way to go in making Scotland the best place in the world to grow older and helping older people feel positive about the future but, by looking ahead and preparing to meet the needs of an ageing population, we can make this a reality sooner rather than later.”
The NRS research projects that Scotland’s population will increase slightly to a peak of 5.48m in 2028 before falling to 5.39m by 2045 - lower than the current figure of 5.47m.
Despite suggestions Scotland’s population would fall by 1.5% over the next 25 years, the NRS said the UK’s population as a whole is set to grow by 5.8%.
NRS head of population and migration statistics, Esther Roughsedge, said: “Birth rates have been falling steadily for a number of years. Lower birth rates are the main reason these projections are lower than previous ones.
“Life expectancy has stalled since 2012-2014 and Covid-19 has had some impact. But most of the projected change is due to longer-terms trends showing more deaths than births each year.
“These statistics are a useful guide for those involved in planning services for the future. A fall in the number of children and increases in the number of older people will change the pattern of demand for services like schools, health and social care.”