The CBM area has a higher percentage of elderly than any other part of the city with 2,200 of the total population of 11,400 being over 65 and 750 over 85 (see section 1). Likely reasons for this situation are:
- The area has an attractive social and natural environment.
- Most original residents and movers in wish to stay in the area after their families have flown out.
- There are relative few affordable houses for young people starting families.
As the accompanying figure shows, in future decades the proportion of the population who are elderly is expected to increase in the city, particularly those over 751. However, the increase in population in the CBM area is dominated by new developments and the – generally large – houses in these developments tend to be occupied by younger families. Hence overall there may not be such a strong increase in the proportion of elderly in the area but the ‘ageing process’ will almost certainly be noticeable in localities with traditional housing.
The needs of the elderly make heavy demands on a range of public services and the increasing emphasis on community care and wellbeing means a complex web of services and community support is required across a wide spectrum of needs. At one end are the formal services, such as medical and social care, housing and transport, and at the other end ‘good neighbourliness’ with a wide variety of voluntary community support between the two.
The CC has a very limited remit in regards to services for the elderly provided by the state, NHS, AHSCP and ACC but it can highlight concerns and raise issues. However, in terms of local community support it could be more active. It can, for example, encourage new support proposals by a local organisation or initiate action where a need has been identified.
Whilst the local population is significantly wealthier than the city as a whole, there is a wide spectrum and there appear to be elderly who are asset rich – their house – but cash poor.
Most elderly live the as the rest of the community, in ordinary houses, apartments, flats etc. Many live with their partners or other family but 11.6%2 of houses are occupied by a single person over 65. There is a range of special accommodations – mostly provided privately.
- There are three commercial care and nursing homes (Deeside Care Home, Tor-Na-Dee Care Home and Hawkhill House Nursing Home) and Simeon House, a charity and part of the wider Camphill Movement. Together they provide residential care for up to 200 elderly persons.
- Amenity housing. Rorie Court – managed by the city council. 27 flats designed and adapted for people usually 55 years and above with functional and support issues in their current properties.
- Extra care/assisted living accommodation. Florence Court with 53 flats Retirement Living Plus scheme with on-site care staff (24 hours / 7 days).
- Retirement Living. Dunmail Manor and Kirk Manor Court. Total 69 flats.
There is also ACC controlled accommodation for the elderly available in surrounding areas.
Most retired people lead active independent lives, making use of the general local facilities, churches, amenities, clubs and many make very active contributions to the local community life. Many also have caring roles, not only grandchildren but elderly relatives or even their own parents.
There is a range of local support specifically focussing on the elderly – social clubs, lunch clubs, walking groups etc. The churches are particularly active in organising support and in providing a range of care. In all communities there are those hard to reach – maybe lonely or agoraphobic. This is a specific area where ‘good neighbourliness’ can be important.
Some Current Key Issues
- Planning applications for three new care homes.
Two of these are of retirement village type. Desirable developments for the elderly should not be stopped because services are not currently available but they must be planned comprehensively (including the allocation of special developer’s contributions) from the start. Also, the danger of ghettoization must be avoided and ‘balancing’ availability of nearby or mixed-in affordable family housing should be an essential consideration when looking at any new development of this type.
- The need for bungalow type housing to be built to allow down-sizing.
Developers do not favour these as the profit margin is lower and they claim there is not the demand. This needs to be examined in more detail.
- Social Care Services.
The ACC has stated that it has revised its eligibility criteria and has raised the threshold at which citizens can expect to receive a social care service. Only those with needs that have been assessed at either Emergency/Urgent levels or High levels will be eligible for this service now3. There is some concern that terms and conditions of service is affecting availability of carers in the CBM area.
- Housing. Scottish Government proposals to make all owner-occupied dwellings have an Energy Performance Certificate at grade C or better by 2030 may be challenging for elderly homeowners in older buildings.
Other Potential Issues
There will be increasing demands on health and social care services due to people living longer and with more complex longer-term conditions to manage. This is against a backdrop of limited resources in the public sector to support local needs.
The aging population will also require special consideration when deciding on transport or security and resilience matters.
Community Council Objective
To take the needs of this significant portion of the population fully into account when considering issues such as transport, housing, health and social care and community activities.
- To continue to press for bungalow type housing to be built to allow down-sizing.
- To examine ways ‘good neighbourliness’ can be encouraged.
- To request ACC to undertake a comprehensive study (involving the CBMCC) to understand and quantify what “an appropriate housing mix” should be for the CBM area (ACC Policy H4 – Housing Mix and Housing for Particular Needs).
The CC would welcome suggestions as to actions it could take to further, directly or indirectly, community support for the elderly.
Should the CC encourage or discourage ‘retirement villages’ and what other types of new housing should it support for the elderly?
- Briefing note: 2016-based population projections – Aberdeen City. Appendix 1. ACC 2019.
- West Locality Profile. AHSCP. 2017. This statistic is for the former West Locality which includes the whole of Lower Deeside and Kingswell.
- Entitlement to Adult Care Services. ACC. 2008/9.
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