About Age Scotland

Age Scotland is the leading charity for all older people in Scotland. We campaign, we research and we fundraise to make sure we build a better life for everyone in later life. We ensure older people’s voices are heard, we challenge and change attitudes, we fight discrimination wherever we find it and we tackle elder abuse in all its forms. We put older people at the heart of everything we do.

Computer Science and fighting loneliness: Meet Niamh

Student Volunteering Week (11-17th February) is a national celebration of the impact of student volunteers. Every year thousands of students engage in community life, tackle social and environmental challenges and support local causes through their volunteering. 

Meet Niamh – a 4th Year Computer Science student at Napier University – who volunteers with our Community Connecting service supporting older people to find and attend social activities in their local area. We asked Niamh to tell us about what she gets out of volunteering.


niamh volVolunteering is for everyone. There are infinite opportunities for people to get involved in and giving back can give you a great sense of fulfilment. Although your skills and time might help improve a group or service, it also boosts your own self-esteem and confidence. It’s a good feeling knowing you have made a difference.

I wanted to get involved with Age Scotland as wanted to give back to a similar service that my gran gets at home. Secondly, I wanted to do something outside of University. As a full time student, volunteering is a flexible solution that enables me to gain new skills while building on my existing abilities. I’m glad I can gain something from it while doing something worthwhile with my time, something that I wasn’t getting paid for.

Whilst university taught me a range of useful skills for the future, I believe it’s good to get some ‘real-life’ experience before getting a job. Volunteering has given me access to many training opportunities and has improved my telephone skills! I have gained so much confidence in talking to a wide variety of people and have learnt some useful tips for effective communication over the phone.


Visit the Age Scotland website to find out more about our community connecting service or volunteering opportunities.

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Studying psychology and tackling loneliness: Meet Hannah

Forget the stereotype of students doing nothing but partying, every year thousands of students are engaging in community life, tackling social and environmental challenges, supporting local causes and volunteering. Student Volunteering Week (11-17th February) is a national celebration of the impact of student volunteers.

Meet Hannah – a 4th Year Psychology student at Edinburgh University – who volunteers with our Community Connecting service supporting older people to find and attend social activities in their local area.


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Being in your fourth year at university, you must have a lot on your plate. Tell us a bit about why you volunteer.

Volunteering is valuable to me because just a few hours of my time every week can make such a positive difference to somebody’s day. Knowing that your phone call has made someone’s day just a little bit brighter is so rewarding.

I volunteer because I think it’s so important to stay connected with groups of people that I wouldn’t necessarily come across that often as a university student. I think that elderly people in particular can feel quite isolated in society due to technology advancing so quickly and everything going online, so I think volunteering at Age Scotland’s Community Connecting service is incredibly important to me because it allows me to find clubs and activities for our callers online, that they wouldn’t have known about if they didn’t have access to, or weren’t able to use the internet.

What do you feel you’ve gained from volunteering?

Feeling like I’ve made a positive difference to someone has definitely added value to my everyday life. It is, by far, one of the most rewarding experiences I have. In the future, I want to pursue a career as a Clinical Psychologist, and volunteering at Age Scotland has highlighted to me how important it is for everyone, particularly those who are older and more isolated, to have someone that they can trust and talk to, which has led to me deciding that I would like to offer free clinical services to elderly people in the future.


Visit the Age Scotland website to find out more about our community connecting service or volunteering opportunities.

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Ensuring older veterans are supported with sight and hearing loss

As people get older, sight and hearing may be affected as part of the natural ageing process. Sometimes though an older person will have worse problems with sight or hearing than might otherwise have been the case because of their military service.

Veterans who were exposed to loud noise from small arms fire, artillery, engines, other machinery or explosives are at particular risk of developing hearing loss. Research has found links between sight loss and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There is a wealth of support available specifically for veterans with sight and hearing loss but unfortunately many are missing out either because they are unaware it is available, or because they don’t realise they count as a veteran.

Anyone aged 65 years and older who has done and received pay for at least one day’s service in the UK Armed Forces is classed as an older veteran. That includes national servicemen, reservists and merchant navy who have supported a military operation.

Age Scotland has combined forces with Action on Hearing Loss and Scottish War Blinded to raise awareness among Scotland’s veterans of the need to act swiftly if they are having problems with their hearing or vision. Getting the right support in placer can make a massive difference to someone’s quality of life.

Isa, age 88, first experienced sight loss problems in her mid-eighties. She said:

“It came on quite quickly. I just couldn’t see. It was as though there was something on my eyes, and I was rubbing them to try and get rid of it.”

A couple of weeks later she visited her GP and was referred to the Royal Alexandria Hospital, which diagnosed macular degeneration. A quick medical referral gave her answers about the causes of her condition, but little else. “After the hospital treatment I didn’t see anyone, and I was left to cope alone.”

The council sensory impairment team visited Isa and referred her to Scottish War Blinded. Over the following year she was visited by an Outreach Worker and benefited from home visits from the charity’s local rehabilitation officer, who provided guidance and a CCTV reader that enabled Isa to continue her hobby of knitting.

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Then Scottish War Blinded’s Hawkhead Centre opened in Paisley. “At first I thought it wasn’t for me, I told them I was too old. Now the Hawkhead drivers come and pick me up and drop me home again each week, which is great.”

She is involved with “everything”; from yoga, to art and crafts activities, to social music groups. “Around the house I’m fine, but I’m not confident to go outside on my own other than to the shop across the road so I love going to the centre. It’s smashing.”

With support from the centre’s Rehabilitation Officer she has also benefitted from equipment, including cup levels that enable her to make a cup of tea at home, and a talking watch to keep track of the time.

Getting the right support in place can make a huge difference – but sometimes it’s tricky to know where to start. Age Scotland have worked with Action on Hearing Loss Scotland and Scottish War Blinded to produce a new publication to help veterans find the support they are entitled to. You can download the guide below or request a free copy be posted to you by calling the Age Scotland helpline on 0800 12 44 222.

Download ‘Combating Sight and Hearing Loss – Advice for older people with a military service background’.

Age Scotland logo, Scottish War Blinded logo, Action on Hearing Loss logo


Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s Hearing Forces project, Age Scotland and Scottish War Blinded are members of the ‘Unforgotten Forces’ Consortium which is a partnership between 15 leading organisations led by Poppyscotland which is delivering a range of new and enhanced services to older veterans.

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Three top tips to stay warm and well

Age Scotland Energy Rights Officer Callum Boath, has been travelling across Scotland giving our member groups advice on how to stay warm whilst also reducing your fuel bills in the winter months. In his guest blog he shares his three top tips to keeping warm and well.


With the winter now well and truly upon us it’s important that we know what we are entitled to, where we can ask for support and, probably most importantly, reduce our fuel bills!

It’s quite amazing how much has changed over the last few decades. Our energy is set to be monitored in a new way with smart meters, our electricity is now being generated in part by renewable technologies and there’s a plethora of new energy suppliers on the market. Yes, long gone are the days of getting our gas from the Gas Board and electricity from the Electric Board. There are now almost 30 energy suppliers on the market and that number is only set to increase.

Callum Boath at and Age Scotland Warm and Well Project

Callum Boath speaks to an Age Scotland member group

So, what are we entitled to and who do we speak to to get it? Here are three top tips.

Make sure you are getting the best deal

It is said that changing energy supplier could save people anywhere between £100 and £300 a year. However, with their being so many suppliers on the market, trying to get in contact with them would be a part time job! You could try online, but some people aren’t that way inclined and don’t feel comfortable giving personal information online. So, what do you do? We would normally encourage people to check with Citrus Energy, an impartial switching service based in Scotland. They offer free advice and also switch you over the phone and send all of the information through the post. If you want to give them a call for a chat you can get them on 0800 221 8089.

Check if you are eligible for extra support

Check if you’re eligible for the Warm Homes Discount. This could be £140 off of your electricity bill during the winter and often people are unaware of they are eligible for it. Not every supplier offers it but, if they do, and you receive pension credits, you should receive it automatically. There’s also the chance you can receive it if your income is under £16,100 and you are spending over 10% of your income on your energy. There are several ways to be eligible for it so contact your energy supplier or contact Citrus Energy who will try and pair you with a supplier who offers it.

Ensure your heating is up to scratch

Is your home cold and draughty? Was your heating system in with the bricks? It’s always difficult making the decision to change an old heating system because of how expensive it is but it could be that you’re eligible for support in changing it for a new one. You can contact Home Energy Scotland who are a free and impartial advice service who will let you know if you are eligible for any funding or grants from the Scottish Government. We’ve all had the cold calls offering us free heating systems but Home Energy Scotland will give you the correct advice. They can be contacted on 0808 808 2282.

All of these savings to be made without even changing a lightbulb to an LED one! But if you’d like more advice about simple ways to reduce your fuel bills and just have a general chat you can give the Age Scotland Helpline a call on 0800 12 44 222 and we’d be more than happy to discuss it with you.

The Warm and Well project offers to come out to groups of people to deliver a session about how to make your money go a little further in the winter and what people could be entitled to. If you’d like to arrange one of these session contact warmandwell@agescotland.org.uk

Preparing for cold weather

Cold weather alerts are issued by the Met Office when the winter weather is most likely to significantly impact people’s health. The Met Office’s cold weather alerts are a way of warning about cold weather conditions in advance – so you can take extra precautions to keep safe and well.

Make sure you’re prepared with these simple steps

1. Keep an eye on the weather forecast. It’s good to know what to expect so you can plan ahead.

2. If bad weather is forecast, make sure you have everything you need. Order any repeat prescriptions in plenty of time and check you’ve got enough medication. Stock up on food to keep in the cupboards or freezer in case the weather makes it harder to leave the house.

3. Take extra care if the ground is slippery. Wear shoes with good grip and consider keeping salt and sand mixture handy to grit paths. You could always ask your neighbours for help to clear paths or driveways clear in bad weather – the vast majority of people are more than happy to help.

4. Try to avoid driving in bad weather if at all possible, and make sure you follow advice on driving conditions near you. If you do need to go out, make sure you keep blankets, some snacks, water and a shovel in the car in case you get stuck. Make sure these are easy for you to access – supplies aren’t much use if they are in the boot and you can’t get to them!

5. Cold weather can sometimes result in power cuts. Have a torch at home in case of a power cut (and don’t forget to check the batteries!) It’s also worth making sure any mobile phones, laptops or tablets are fully charged. You should report a power cut by calling 105.

For more information about keeping well in the Winter months, view our Warm and Well guide.

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People living with dementia and their unpaid carers at the heart of new National Policy and Practice Forum

For many people in Scotland living with dementia and their unpaid carers, a one-size-fits-all approach to their care does not always take into account the vital aspects of their everyday life and well-being.

This needs to change.

Thanks to a ground-breaking investment of £2.5 million from the Life Changes Trust, Age Scotland, the University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University to deliver two bold new initiatives; a National Forum for Dementia Policy and Practice and a School of Leadership in Dementia.  Both projects will support people with dementia and carers to become experts, leaders and influencers in Scotland.

Our joint mission is a Scotland where having dementia doesn’t matter to who someone is or how they live their life.

People affected by dementia and their unpaid carers will be at the heart of this work. They are the real experts and are on every street in Scotland. Together we will identify and demonstrate what works in terms of human rights, peer support, early intervention, prevention and a relationship-centred approach to care.

We will listen to them and respect their experience so they know they are valued.

Scotland has already led the way with its three National Dementia Strategies. The creation of the National Forum will bring together people with experience and expertise in dementia, locally and nationally, with the aim of evidencing what will create better lives for people with dementia and unpaid carers. The Forum will provide space to scrutinise policy and practice in many areas, including housing and dementia, sport and dementia, the arts and dementia, and human rights and dementia.

We are incredibly proud that so many wonderful organisations are partnering with us to deliver this ground-breaking Policy and Practice Forum.

We will promote evidence of what works well so that national and local policy and practice can be reviewed and, where necessary, adjusted. This is so that Scotland can become an exemplar of how, in all aspects of life, people with dementia can find meaning, be fully supported and involved.

The Forum will work hard to ensure that policy makers, service providers and the public know what matters to people affected by dementia and use the evidence we produce to show how to make Scotland a better place to live.

We’re hugely proud and excited about what can be achieved for people affected by dementia and their unpaid carers.


The founding partners of the National Forum for Dementia Policy and Practice are: Go Upstream, Luminate, Deaf Scotland, Ash Scotland, Paths for All, Heriot Watt University, Tide, Reach Community Health Project, Solicitors for Older People Scotland, Kirrie Connections, Faith in Older People Scotland, Eric Liddell Centre, Care and Repair Scotland, Age Scotland Orkney and the Mental Health Foundation. partners

Help Age Scotland become Edinburgh Airport’s chosen Charity for 2019!

We have some very exciting news – Age Scotland has been shortlisted to be Edinburgh Airport’s chosen charity for 2019!

If Age Scotland wins this partnership, funds raised by Edinburgh Airport will enable us to significantly develop our Community Connecting service, which works to draw older people from the isolation of their homes.  The service typically offers support and encouragement to older people who’ve lost a sense of purpose and social interaction since retiring, or through bereavement – helping them to take small steps initially to re-engage with others in their community, improving wellbeing.  We match individuals to activities based on their needs and preferences, facilitate introductions, and provide encouragement until their confidence grows. This important service helps individuals integrate back into their local community which significantly reduces feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

The partnership would also help us to raise awareness of Age Scotland as an organisation and the range of support we offer over 50s across Scotland. Our mission is to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow older. From our Independent Living Programme to the Age Scotland Helpline, from dedicated Early Stage Dementia and Older Veterans projects to our work with employers to create Age Inclusive Workplaces, we are doing a lot but with this partnership, we can do so much more.

Between now and the 10th of December Edinburgh Airport staff are being asked to vote for the charity they want to support during 2019 – and the charity with the most votes wins. This is a fantastic opportunity for Age Scotland as an organisation and we need your help to win.

It’s really easy.

Work for Edinburgh Airport? Please consider voting for Age Scotland.

Know someone who works for Edinburgh Airport? Encourage them to vote for Age Scotland.

No connection to the airport? You can still help! By sharing our social media posts across your network you can help spread the word about this fantastic opportunity. We’ll be working to gather support across Twitter, Facebook and Linkedinso please keep a look out.

Thank you for your support!