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Orkney Housing Survey

Orkney landscapeWe want to ensure that older people in Scotland live in housing which meets their needs and that there is sufficient housing available to them when the need arises as their circumstances change.

In 2018, we commissioned Scotinform, though funding from the Scottish Government, to study the housing needs of older people in Orkney, where it has been projected that by 2024 30% of the population will be of pensionable age (against a Scottish average of 23%) with a fall amongst residents of working age.

We wanted to capture information about current housing stock, housing needs, to determine awareness of energy efficiency initiatives and establish how much older people were spending on energy bills per year.

The findings from this survey Orkney will assist Age Scotland and other Orkney-based partners to identify the needs of residents of current pensionable age in order to inform planning for the future in areas such as housing, healthcare, benefits and fuel poverty.

In this report we present the key findings from this study, with feedback from 978 people aged over 55 resident in Orkney, which equates to approximately 18% of the population aged 55 and over.

Download the Orkney housing survey

In this report we present the key findings from this study, with feedback from 978 people aged over 55 resident in Orkney, which equates to approximately 18% of the population aged 55 and over.

Age Scotland and ScotInform surveyed 958 people aged 55 and over across Orkney, a total of 18 per cent of the population. Of these, a third reported they had long-standing health problems.

Orkney has one of the fastest ageing populations in Scotland, with the number of residents aged 75 and over predicted to rise by 115.8 per cent by 2037, according to National Records of Scotland. The report highlights a need for more action to “future-proof” homes on the island and build more suitable accommodation.

Accessibility, isolation and high fuel costs were key concerns for older people on the islands.

The cost of household energy

More than half of respondents said they were concerned about rising fuel costs. Almost half (47 per cent) said they turned down their heating to reduce their bills. One in nine older residents said they struggled to pay their fuel bills some or all of the time.

More than half of respondents said they were concerned about rising fuel costs, while almost half (47 per cent) said they turned down their heating to reduce their bills. One in nine older residents said they struggled to pay their fuel bills some or all of the time.

Rising fuel costs were a worry for 56 per cent of respondents, with prices significantly higher than the Scottish average. Respondents reported paying an average of £1080 a year for electricity, compared to £650 across Scotland (according to Age Scotland’s research).

Almost half (47 per cent) said they turned down the heating to save electricity. Although most people tried to save energy through measures ranging from draught excluders to loft insulation, only around a quarter were aware of Scottish Government energy efficiency programmes, and only two per cent had a smart meter installed.

Most respondents (43 per cent) said they would prefer to live in their own homes as they got older, but fewer than a third (32 per cent) had adapted their homes. Fifteen per cent plan to move in the next 10 years, with most wanting to live in a bungalow.

More than a quarter of people aged 75 and over plan to move to supported accommodation, raising concerns that there is not enough housing to fit their needs.

One in nine respondents felt their current home did not fit their needs, but could not find anywhere suitable close by, or were put off by the cost of moving.  Many said they worried about feeling cut off and isolated as they got older, especially if there was a lack of public transport.

Download a copy of the Orkney housing survey

Get in touch

Contact Age Scotland's Policy and Communications team on 0333 323 2400 or email policycomms@agescotland.org.uk

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