Help elderly urges MSP Fiona McLeod

Bearsden MSP Fiona McLeod used her maiden speech at Holyrood to highlight services for older people.

The newly elected politician spoke during a debate on the subject - and said she was “delighted” with the personal pledge she received from health secretary Nicola Sturgeon that care for the elderly will be a Scottish Government priority.

Mrs McLeod said: “I was very fortunate to meet Angi from Alzheimer’s Scotland at Lenzie Gala where she was highlighting Dementia Awareness Week. We discussed what the priorities are for older people with dementia and I took elements of our discussion and used that information in my maiden speech.

“It is a testament to the health and activity of East Dunbartonshire’s elderly that they are living longer, indeed by 2016 there will be an increase of 22 per cent in our over 65’s population and a massive 101 per cent increase in our over 85’s population.

“To cope with this we must have an integrated social care plan which includes a strategy for both housing and caring for older people. I was delighted that the housing minister confirmed a strategy for this and the Cabinet Secretary for Health made a personal pledge that care for the elderly will be a Scottish Government priority for this five year term.

“Sadly, with the Scottish Power announcement that they will be increasing electricity costs by 19 per cent, this will push many more people and specifically older people into fuel poverty. I welcome the winter fuel allowance – but with it costing on average 20 per cent more to heat a house in Bearsden than in the south of England – the allowance doesn’t take that into consideration.

“As I used to work for Carer’s Link in Milngavie I must declare a personal interest in this issue – I have seen first hand what hard working carers do either without financial recompense or for the derisory sum provided by the Department for Work and Pensions. If all carers stopped providing the services they do it would cost Westminster somewhere in the region of £7.6billion – but they do not receive anywhere near that amount.

“There is a lot to be done to provide the kind of service our older people need and deserve and I believe the Scottish Government will pay them the respect they are due.”