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Exterior of Our Lady of Mercy Place aged care home at Harris Park. Picture: Peter Taouk

Long-awaited Maronite aged-care home opens

A much-needed aged care home has finally opened in western Sydney, focusing on the needs of the local Lebanese Maronite Catholic community.

Our Lady Mercy Place in Harris Park officially opened last week and was blessed by the Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi.

Barry Barakat is chief of Our Lady Aged Care Centre, which alongside Mercy Health opened the facility, and said that he providing an aged care centre for the Lebanese community was essential.

"It was brought to our attention that there are first and second-generation Lebanese, particularly Maronites, who live around the corner from the church, which is their life," Mr Barakat told The Daily Telegraph.

"While their families were very willing to look after the elderly – particularly for those who required high care – it became impossible to do, and they preferred to go to aged care centres that have a cultural focus."

Opening and blessing of Our Lady of Mercy Place aged care home at Harris Park by Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi (middle). Picture: Peter Taouk

To adapt to the community's needs, the senior care facility integrated aspects of the Maronite community, including their food and architectural styles. It is also next door to the church.

Many of the staff also speak Arabic.

Mr Barakat said the response from the community was "phenomenal", with 65 names already signed on the waiting list in 2020 – before the formal advertising process.

"I know we have done something right when the elderly in our community notice the progress and construction of the aged care centre, approach me, and they badger me 'when are you going to open?' or 'how high up is my name on the waiting list?'," he said.

The $19.5m facility featured 85 ensuite rooms, two group dining rooms on each of the five levels, activity and leisure rooms, and an outdoor rooftop area with scenic views.

Residents of the home will also have access to health, physio, hair and beauty therapies, and a dedicated chapel.

The residential home is expected to welcome its first residents in late October.

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