Scotland

Struggles of veterans highlighted by Poppyscotland

Old man looking sad Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Older veterans are particularly likely to feel isolated

Scottish veterans often face health problems, financial difficulties and feel isolated, according to research.

Poppyscotland has published data collected from almost 200 Scottish veterans as part of a UK survey by the Royal British Legion.

More than half of veterans suffer long term illness or disability, most often a physical difficulty.

The data also suggested that about one in 10 veterans have a long term mental health problem such as depression.

Health problems such as arthritis, cardio-vascular or respiratory difficulties, hearing and sight problems are particularly likely to affect elderly veterans who are also more likely to feel socially isolated.

Relationship problems and feeling isolated affects as many as 15% of the Scottish ex-service community, which includes veterans, their family members and dependants.

Nearly a third of pension-age veterans are unable to go out socially at least once a month.

Many veterans also have financial worries with the average net household income for Scotland's veterans being £18,800.

'Significant minority struggle'

Almost one quarter, 23%, said they are living on below £7,500 annual net household income, while 18% have experienced fuel poverty to the extent where they turned their heating down or off completely, even though their homes became too cold.

Poppyscotland's head of welfare services Gary Gray said: "The findings give us a clear indication of the size of Scotland's ex-service community and the difficulties experienced.

"Whilst the vast majority of those leaving the armed forces thrive in civilian life, a significant minority struggle and they are likely to experience multiple and complex needs.

"Poppyscotland already provides a number of vital services to support those in the armed forces community. However, it is clear that more must be done to address their current and future needs.

"We believe the findings are an invaluable source of information which will help inform organisations and agencies in developing and shaping services."

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