Edinburgh faces fast growth in elderly population over next 25 years
THE challenge facing the Capital as a result of a growing elderly population has been underlined with new projections showing an extra 240,000 pensioners in Scotland within the next 25 years.
The statistics suggest there will be no natural growth in Scotland’s population, meaning that deaths are expected to outweigh births each year from now on, with the only population increase coming from inward migration.
Paul Lowe, Registrar General for Scotland, said: “Over the next 25 years, there are projected to be a growing number of older people, fewer children, and the working age population is projected to make up a slightly lower proportion of our total population.”
Localised projections are not due to be published until March, but recent figures for population changes over the past decade showed Edinburgh and the other Lothian authorities as among those with the fastest growing populations.
And more elderly people means more demand on care services.
Ricky Henderson, vice-chair of Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (IJB) which is in charge of health and social care, said: “It’s great people a re living longer and that has to be celebrated, but we know people are living longer with more complex needs and long-lasting health conditions.
“Funding is constrained at the moment and it doesn’t look like that is going to change any time soon.”
He said helping people to live as independently as possible was key for the future. “We want to build a community infrastructure so people have got support around them, places they can go to meet people and keep themselves as fit and healthy as possible. The more funding we can get the quicker and better we can do that.”
External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said Scotland needed inward migration to support the economy, particularly in sectors like tourism, hospitality, construction and agriculture, but also to enrich and diversify society.
She said: “It is clear Scotland urgently needs powers to deliver a tailored immigration system so we can mitigate against the risks of the UK Government’s increasingly restrictive policies and ensure Scotland can continue to be a welcoming, progressive and diverse country.”
Tory public health spokeswoman Annie Wells said the Scottish Government had been “well warned” about the growing elderly population but had failed to plan well enough.