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The Importance of Outdoor Space for Older People

Dear Sir,

I read with interest the comments made by Professor Catharine Ward, of OPENspace at the University of Edinburgh, ahead of today’s (Apr 29) British Academy debate ‘The Best Years of our Lives? Body, Brain and Well Being’. 

With an ageing population, it is vitally important to discuss and develop ways of ensuring people can truly get the most out of life in their later years.

The proportion of people aged over 75 is expected to increase 80% in just over 20 years and there are currently more people aged over 65 in Scotland than under 15. There has been - and rightly so - a lot of focus in previous years on getting children outside and enjoying the great outdoors in a positive and safe way. It is clear by these figures that it is now time for a secondary focus. The benefits of enjoying a fit and active life go well beyond physical health. I am sure that small changes such as benches in public areas, as Professor Ward suggests, would have a significant impact on the lives of older people.

These debates and discussions are an important first step and are very welcome. The time for action is upon us so it will be interesting to note how our provisions for older people will develop in line with the demands of an ageing population.

Yours faithfully,

Lianne Lodge

Head of Pagan Osborne’s Lateryears Service and Member of Solicitors for the Elderly

George Street, Edinburgh


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