Skip to content
You are here: Home | Data | Older People - Data

Older People - Data

4 older women walking together arm in arm


What you told us

Read the Consultation Report for the Strategic Plan 2022-25 (PDF)

Read the findings from our regular 'What Matters to You' survey 2022 (PDF)

What the data tells us

There are 16,667 people aged 65 and over. People are living longer and the majority of older people live without any formal support.


Age is a risk factor. It is slightly more common in women than in men which is to be expected with women living on average longer than men.

31% of people aged over the age of 85 are living with a diagnosis of dementia. This compares to around 50 people below the age of 65. The figures below are calculated using the 2016 population projections from the National Records of Scotland and applying the dementia prevalence rate averages from Alzheimer’s Scotland. The number of people living with dementia in will nearly double (from 1,475 to 2,824) by 2041. The improved identification of the signs and symptoms of dementia is predicted to lead to increased numbers of diagnosis. People with dementia are also very likely to have other long term conditions affecting their health.

HEAT targets were introduced in April 2013 for people newly diagnosed with dementia to receive a minimum of 1 year’s post diagnostic support. Data for this is only available at a NHS Lothian level. It shows that an estimated 40% of people newly diagnosed with dementia were referred to post diagnostic support in 2015/6. This is slightly below the national average of 42%. Of those referred In NHS Lothian 76% received the support. These figures represent an increase on the previous year’s figures of 25% diagnosed and 72% receiving support.

There have not been many large scale studies into the links between dementia and health inequalities, however it is known that health inequalities persist into old age and that many of the risk factors for dementia are associated with socio-economic disparities.

There is a higher rate of Dementia diagnosis in the learning disability community and onset tends to happen at a younger age. Up to 75% of people with Down's Syndrome over the age of 50 years of age develop dementia.

Race does not affect prevalence rates for most types of dementia with the exception of early on-set (presenting before 65 years) and vascular dementia which have been found to be more prevalent in the black and ethnic minority community.