Call for Borderers to help the elderly

BORDERERS have been called to support its pensioners, as figures show the number of people over 75 years of age will double by 2033.

The ageing population of the region was highlighted by statistics from the General Register Office of Scotland, which showed 20,126 over-75s are expected to be living in the Borders in 22 years.

Last year the number of those within this age group was estimated to stand at 10,247, meaning OAPs over 75 will represent 15 per cent of Borderers in 2033.

Scottish Borders Council’s older people’s champion, Willie Archibald, said the importance of the voluntary sector’s support for the elderly will increase as their population rises.

The Tweeddale West councillor said: “I am not surprised by the figures and it proves two things; that efficient modern medicine is enabling people to live not just longer, but with a good quality of life, and that the Borders is an attractive place to live.

“A measure of a civilised society is how it treats its older people.”

Mr Archibald believes the wartime-like spirit of communities during the heavy snow and freezing temperatures which cut off homes across the Borders last winter needs to become the norm.

He added: “We had our second consecutive bad winter last year and people across the Borders and Scotland came out and carried out repairs for their elderly neighbours voluntarily.

“The third sector is the way forward. There is a great deal of public support in the Borders for voluntary services.”

Overall, the population of the area has risen slightly by 210 people to 112,870 from 2009 to 2010.

It is estimated that the total population will stand at 130,134 in 2033.

The number of births marginally increased in 2009, in line with the rest of Scotland, to 1,159.

And Borderers are also living longer, with the average being 79.2 years in 2009 from 77.3 years a decade previous.

There were 941 more people who migrated into the Borders than moved away, but 54 more 16 to 29-year-olds left the region than arrived.