Shadow housing minster meets Stirling housing and ageing experts

A local MSP has visited the University of Stirling to hear how its housing and ageing research is helping to stimulate debate on some of Scotland’s long-term challenges.

Graham Simpson MSP, the Scottish Conservatives spokesperson for housing and communities, was welcomed to the Faculty of Social Sciences by the University’s deputy principal for research, Professor Judith Phillips.

(from left) Professor Alison Bowes, Lynda Hutton, Graham Simpson MSP and Dr Vikki McCall

Mr Simpson was then given an overview of the University’s strengths in ageing and dementia, including its proposals for an intergenerational research hub and village.

Earlier this year, Mr Simpson tabled a debate in the Scottish Parliament on a study co-produced by the University in partnership with charity Age Scotland. Housing through the lens of Ageing: Integration, Communications and Community was praised by politicians involved for its role in progressing thinking around the role of housing in the quality of life of older people in Scotland.

The University is a leading centre of expertise in housing and ageing research, and its Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub is planned to act as a test-bed for the latest technological, health and social care, architectural, and streetscape solutions to living well in older age. It will also enable communities to live together in a way that provides benefit and support to all. During the visit, Mr Simpson took a tour of the University’s Dementia Design and technology suite – a specialist unit which showcases the principles of dementia-friendly design.

Graham Simpson MSP said: “I was delighted to visit the University of Stirling to discuss how Scotland delivers the housing required to support our ageing population.

“It is important for the planning system to take into account the demographic challenges that Scotland will face in the coming decades – with an ever-increasing ageing population. We must ensure that there are sufficient levels of suitable housing available to meet the housing needs of older people. Scotland’s population of older people is projected to increase significantly between 2012 and 2037, with the number of people aged 65 and over projected to rise by 59% from 930,000 to 1,470,000.

“These statistics highlight the fact that Scotland must invest in housing for older people, and to address their housing needs. This issue will only be addressed through strategic action at the national and local levels. There must be greater energy and resources targeted at the housing needs of older people by the Scottish Government.

“The University is doing ground-breaking research into housing and I was hugely impressed by what I saw. The challenge for politicians is to make sure that what the research shows works is put into action.”

Professor Phillips added: “We were pleased to welcome Graham Simpson to Stirling and to have the opportunity to showcase our world leading research on housing and ageing. Our academics are at the forefront of developing cutting-edge design and services for older people and producing innovative solutions to enable older people to live independent lives, for longer.”

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