A damning report has revealed rising numbers of elderly Angus residents are landing in hospital after suffering falls in their own homes.
The rate has climbed over the past three years, to above the Scottish average, and the scale is particularly bad in north Angus, where cases have rocketed by almost 20% since 2015.
The Angus over-85s population is also above the national average and concerned health and social care chiefs have drawn up a plan to tackle the issue as more people are being encouraged to continue to live in their communities.
Figures presented to the latest Angus Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board revealed there were 22.3 falls per 1,000 people in the 65-plus population in the first quarter of this year.
The figures from 2015 were between 18.8 and 20.5 falls per 1,000 over-65s. The figures relate to hospital admissions following a fall.
Gail Smith, head of community health and care services (north) told IJB members: “This may be due to the over-85 population increasing in Angus at a greater rate than Scotland as a whole.”
She added: “Increases in falls admissions is a risk associated with supporting more people to live in the community for longer and the higher proportion of older people in the population of Angus.”
Ms Smith said Angus had been recognised for its work in a number of areas, but conceded there was more that could be done.
Members were told an improvement plan is due to be brought forward as part of the new strategic plan.
Board member Julie Bell, Angus SNP councillor for Kirriemuir and Dean, said: “Whilst I’m pleased we can see an increase in the number of people living longer, this upward trend highlights the importance of prevention from an earlier age, to help people avoid becoming ‘frail’ and increasing their risk of falls.
“What we don’t know yet are the finer details of this trend, including if people not previously receiving services at greater risk at home from falls, and where the falls happen – at home, outside, in hospital. That detail is in the pipeline.”
She said action in middle age to encourage people to increase exercise, keep confidence levels high and remain active as long as possible could have longer term benefits as they grow older.