Local people aged 55 and over are being urged to respond to a leading charity’s new national housing survey by Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan.

The national charity for older people, Age Scotland, is seeking the views of older people about their housing needs and household energy usage to help shape future Scottish Government policy.

Scotland’s population is ageing at a faster rate than the rest of the UK and a quarter of Scotland’s population set to be over 65 by 2043.

The Scottish Government has pledged to build 50,000 new homes by the end of this Parliament, and Age Scotland wants to ensure the government have as much information as possible about the housing needs of older people to ensure the right kinds of homes are being built.

It is hoped that the findings from this survey will help to shape the Scottish Government’s housing policy as it relates to older people, with a view to how to help people live well and independently in their own or new home for as long as possible.

Alasdair Allan MSP said:“The age profile of the Western Isles means few other places in Scotland have such a pressing need to ensure their elderly are properly taken care of.

“With an increasingly ageing population we need to ensure that there are enough homes in the right places, suitable for older people.

“I would encourage anyone over 55 to take part in this survey as it will help provide the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament the information it needs to better plan for the future.”

Adam Stachura, Head of Policy and Communications at Age Scotland, added: “The quality of the housing you live in has a profound impact on your health, especially as you reach older age. We want everyone to live well in their home and be able to use it to its full extent.

“Often people discover far too late that where they live is no longer suitable for their needs. It can become unaffordable and inefficient to heat, more inaccessible and harder to access the routine local services they need. This survey will not only help highlight how suitable homes are for an ageing population but give us great insight into at what stage people make decisions about their future.”

As an added incentive, there are five £50 cash prizes available for randomly selected participants.

Copies of the survey are available from Alasdair Allan’s local office at 20 Kenneth Street, Stornoway or online at www.age.scot/housingsurvey