IT is not an easy issue to face. Many will have already experienced it. But sometime in the future – perhaps a few years, perhaps in a few decades – many of us, or our relatives, will need some form of care as the inevitable process of ageing creeps in.

No one likes to think of a future where you are reliant for help to get dressed in the morning, or need someone to prepare your meals and snacks, or even help you with more intimate personal care. No one likes to think of the time when you are unable to live on your own and need to be cared for round the clock in a home. But this cannot be a reason to ignore the looming care crisis which is facing Scotland.

As we reveal today, care homes in the private sector are reporting increased difficulties in recruiting and keeping staff. Services which care for people in their own homes are also struggling to find staff. With ever-increasing demands on time, low pay and in jobs, it is no wonder there is a picture being painted of an increasingly stressed and disillusioned workforce.

The introduction of the Scottish Living Wage for care workers has been a welcome move. But there is still a long way to go if we want to ensure looking after the elderly in our society is seen as a decent, respected, well-paid career option. Quite rightly, we expect workers in this role to act as professionals and treat those they are caring for with expertise and dignity – yet the wages they earn do not reflect the importance that their jobs play in creating a decent society.

Care workers make a huge contribution to the health and wellbeing of a growing part of the population, who are also among the most vulnerable - and a society is judged upon how it treats its most weak and vulnerable. As such, care workers should be valued as equally as nurses and teachers – so why aren’t they? If the answer is because it is a group who cannot easily speak up for themselves, then it is a shame on our society and one which needs to be urgently tackled. We need to care about the carers.