Rotary hears of shire’s demographic challenge

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Aberdeenshire will see a doubling of its over-65 population by 2035, which is set to drive a change in how services are delivered for older people, according to a senior manager at Aberdeenshire Council.

Lesley Mackenzie, a Social Work Manager dealing with Rehabilitation and Enablement, made her remarks at a meeting of Oldmeldrum Rotarians last week, where she outlined some of the changes already being made in Aberdeenshire.

Overall, the shire population is set to rise by 22% by 2035. While the population of over 56’s is expected to increase by 96%, the 16-65 population is set to increase by just 5%, which could lead to pressures in delivering care.

Lesley, who lives in Banff but is based in Inverurie, explained that Aberdeenshire Council aimed to keep people in their own homes as far as possible. The authority also aims to speed up hospital discharges by offering intense support to allow people to regain their confidence and competence in daily living skills such as cooking, washing and dressing.

“It’s about outcomes and what people want to achieve, rather than a prescriptive approach”, she said. “It’s about what people can do, rather than what they can’t do.”

Acknowledging that direct payments and associated responsibilities may not be suitable for everyone, Lesley explained that those eligible to receive help from Social Work would be told of their financial allocations and given options arranging their care, from having full control over their care with oversight, to the council selecting, directing and managing their care.