‘Two thirds of over 50s in Scotland feel unvalued’

An Age Scotland survey shows a big increase in the number of over 50s who feel unvalued and that life is getting worse.

Woman leaning against a wall looks out into the distance thoughtfully. She is wearing a green top


There has been a sharp increase in the number of older people feeling that life is getting worse and that they aren’t valued by society , according to Age Scotland.

The charity’s 2023 Big Survey identified that two thirds of people over the age of 50 don’t feel valued by society, up from 51% in 2021 to 66%, and more than half (56%) felt life in Scotland was getting worse for older people, up from 34% in 2021.

Age Scotland and Scotinform surveyed more than 4,100 over 50s covering every local authority area in Scotland and found that only 8% feel satisfied that decision makers and politicians treat older people’s issues with due consideration. Nearly 6 in 10 (56%) were not satisfied.

Just 3% felt that it was easy to have their voice heard by decision makers with most respondents (56%) feeling it was not easy.

The findings also show 3% of older people feel represented positively in the media and 16% optimistic about their future. Just 8% feel optimistic for future generations/their grandchildren.

The issues older people identified as most important to them included timely access to healthcare; reducing the cost of living; more affordable, accessible, energy efficient homes; improving opportunities for younger people; tackling loneliness and isolation; improving public services; and protecting the environment.

When asked what the First Minister’s priorities should be, the top two issues were social care and the NHS.

Age Scotland’s Interim Chief Executive, Katherine Crawford, said: “Older people have contributed in countless ways throughout their lives and continue to do so, yet far too many of them are spending their later years feeling unvalued and unheard.

“At a time when Scotland’s population is ageing and facing a growing number of serious challenges, it has been beyond disappointing that the Scottish Government stopped having a named minister for older people earlier this year. This is one of the many reasons why we have been campaigning for a Commissioner for Older People to act as an independent advocate to champion their voices and help to change how they feel.

“We hope our research is a wake-up call for politicians and decision makers to strengthen older people’s voices and ensure they are considered in decisions made right across Government.”

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