A LACK of aged care facilities is forcing elderly West Coasters to leave families and friends and abandon the area.
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"People are being forced off the West Coast because there's nowhere for them to go," West Coast mayor Darryl Gerrity said yesterday.
"There are probably hundreds of ex-West Coasters who are not close to relatives and families.
"They are isolated, they love the West Coast and if they had the opportunity to stay they would."
Cr Gerrity said he hoped a development plan for Strahan would set aside land for an aged care facility.
He said the council would then need to find a provider who wanted to set up on the West Coast.
Failing that, it might have to consider developing facilities itself.
"It is a cruel situation.
"We've been trying for some years to attract an interest from commercial operators.
"They have said there's not enough demand, but we could probably fill 15 units (immediately).
"These people are entitled, they have paid rates and taxes and contributed to West Coast growth.
"Now in their sunset years they deserve to be looked after.
"If no-one else is going to do it, it falls back to the council to address the issue as best we can."
Cr Gerrity said some residents had to leave when they became too frail to care for themselves.
Others living in "historic homes" were finding it impossible to keep up with escalating rates and maintenance needs, he said.
Full story available in today's edition of The Advocate.