My Column

Our old folk are an asset not a burden.

  • Date: Monday 29th April 2019
column Picture

Getting old – it’s not something we really like to acknowledge is it? But it’ll happen to us all, like it or lump it.


Facebook users are finding it hard to escape this message thanks to a post that went up early this year and went viral. In fact, it’s still being shared daily.


It features a young lady, a ‘mummy blogger’, holding up a sign saying “one day it will be you”.


‘The Real Mumma’ goes on to share a few heart-breaking stories about elderly people who struggled while NOBODY bothered to help.


Luckily she stepped in, gave them time, gave them company, and gave them the respect they deserved.


She used her experience to remind us all that, once upon a time, these people were just like us, and one day we might want a helping hand too.


Her message has resonated with so many people – 385,000 have shared it so far. And it’s a very important one to remember in a society where we have an ageing population.


But while some individuals might still need reminding of the respect older people deserve, there’s one community that’s already well aware – the business community. Because even though this growing demographic group might present challenges like rising NHS costs, it also brings opportunities.


I read a brilliant article describing older people as a “blessing for business”, a dynamic emerging market and a human capital resource.


This isn’t a new school of thought. There are various bits of research out there supporting the view that older workers bring first-class experience, skillsets, productivity and reliability and can even be easier to manage than their younger counterparts.


I love this shift in attitudes and recognition that older people are an asset, not a burden.

There’s no denying that an ageing population also opens doors in other ways for the business community too – because seniors now represent a huge customer base.


This is especially so for industries ranging from nursing and home care to gardening, mobile hairdressing, odd jobs and more.


One thing I love is the way businesses are really tailoring their offerings to meet the specific needs of this market.


In the last week alone there have been several news reports about companies doing just that.

Take Kairos Home Help made headlines with an interesting approach.

This brand new service has been launched by two entrepreneurs in Scotland to provide a solution for people, including dementia sufferers, who need a helping hand but want to remain in their own homes – by providing a carer to live alongside them.


What a brilliant way to let people retain their independence while getting the support they need. It’s also boosting the Scottish economy and creating 100 new jobs.


The company reckons it’s important to provide not just carers but companions. It’s a great ethos and the type of personalised support people deserve.


Then there’s Beech Manor Care Home in Perthshire.


It has just announced plans to build a BAR so residents can get a tipple.


It even plans to install a cinema where movies will be shown to bring back memories and provide stimulation.


It’s a far cry from the stereotypical, depressing, hospital-esque image that the word ‘care home’ can sometimes conjure up.


Creation of a social space like this takes Beech Manor from being a house to being a home and a community.


Many of us were told as kids “respect your elders” and it’s a lesson we should carry for life, until we eventually become one of those elders ourselves.


And when we do – at least we’ll know that the skills we still have to offer, and the needs that we have, are more front-of-mind than ever before.






With plans for a £30 million tourism hub unveiled for Loch Lomond, there is a question mark as to what this development could mean for one of Scotland’s most treasured national parks.


If approved, the Balloch development is certain to bring many benefits, including an increase in global visitor footfall among those who are already enchanted by the beauty of the world famous spot and those that will be attracted for the first time thanks to the enhanced facilities.


The proposals for the development include a 60-bedroom apartment hotel, 32-bedroom budget accommodation, a boat house, leisure centre, restaurants, and craft brewery. 


Collectively, the plans are expected to provide a significant rise in employment, with an estimated 80 full-time jobs, 50 part-time jobs, and 70 seasonal positions created. Of course, such a wide-ranging hub further offers the promise of a major economic boost for the area, enabling spin-off local businesses to develop, so it’s a compelling offering from many points of view.


While this seems like an incredible opportunity for the town, it could be prudent for those behind the project to consider reinvesting to preserve the wider national park and its incredible natural assets.


It is vital that the developers help to preserve the integrity of the setting and its incredible eco system, and that must be a huge consideration for them going forward.


Of course, there are conflicting views on the controversial project, with 1,180 objections and just 50 residents in support.


Change is never easy, particularly in such a renowned setting where there is so much to potentially lose.


With change brings many challenges and I would encourage anyone who has a say to get involved by commenting on the plans. People should keep an open mind as to what this tourism hub may bring to their community.






It made me chuckle to discover that soft drink giant Coca-Cola has had a boost as a result of Brexit uncertainty.


Coca-Cola European Partners revealed last week that it has been stockpiling ingredients in the UK ahead of exiting the European Union later this year and earnings per share have benefitted as a result.


This might seem like a joke but the giant has decided to do this based on the possible disruption that Brexit may cause.


Although there is a shadow of doubt over what Brexit will actually mean for companies importing ingredients, there is some talk of an increase in tariffs and a high chance of transportation delays.


One thing is certain though – Coca-Cola won’t let politics get in the way of profit.






It’s heart-warming to hear that the charity ‘Free Cakes for Kids’ is attempting to tackle Scottish hardship in a small but very meaningful way.


Volunteers can get involved by baking personalised cakes for families who struggle to provide birthday cakes for their own children, so it’s a nice self-sustaining campaign – or is that self-raising?


Puns aside, it’s wonderful that there are big-hearted bakers out there meeting this community need as every child deserves a birthday cake on their one special day.


It saddens me to think that some don’t get this traditional treat, so I am encouraging bakers in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dumfriesshire to get involved and make a little one’s day.




Back to column listings

Recent News

News Archive