Peggy Chan will never forget the loss of her father.
Pak Sheung Chan suffered from depression and passed away after isolating himself from friends and family.
“I never stopped questioning myself, what if I had done more,” Chan said. “[Would] my father still be alive with his grandkids and me?”
Chan’s experience is not uncommon.
That’s why, she said, she wants to open a social adult day care center in Mineola.
Chan, from Levittown, presented her plan to open up Happy Hearts Social Adult Day Care at 52 Jericho Turnpike to the Mineola Board of Trustees last Wednesday
For the last 16 years Chan has worked as an accountant in New York City, leaving little time for herself or her family – especially her mother, she said.
Chan said she decided to change paths and devote her time to caring for the elderly, to help families in the same situation she’s faced. She took classes, interned at a nursing home and passed the state Board Exam.
Although Chan is a certified nursing assistant, Happy Hearts will not provide medical care for its members.
Social adult day care centers are advised by the state to call 911 in case of a medical emergency, she said.
Happy Hearts isn’t meant to be a healthcare facility, Chan said, it’s a place for seniors to socialize, learn new hobbies and go on planned outings.
Chan said she plans to be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
She said she hopes to have 50 members, and said she will begin with a staff of four. The center will provide transportation to and from the center for its members, and serve a catered breakfast and lunch.
Several board members expressed concern for safety precautions, but Chan said the center would work closely with Managed Long-Term care through the sate Department of Health.
“It’s similar to the daycare I send my children to,” said Trustee Paul Pereira. “The same level of oversight from the state.”
Mayor Scott Strauss said there would be many more hurdles for Chan to jump through even if the board approves her application.
Pereira said the board is not there to approve Chan’s business model, certifications or other entities. The board’s decision is solely if Happy Hearts is the best use of the village’s land.
There are six adult day care centers in a five-mile radius of Mineola, according to Chan. The total enrollment rate in the centers is approximately 400 members, which Chan said is less than 5 percent of the market size.
Trustee Dennis Walsh agrees that there is a need for adult day care in the community.
“There are many people out there that are confused about how they’re going to go to work tomorrow and leave their parents or their loved ones at home,” Walsh said. “I experienced that and you just don’t know how you will deal with the next day.”
Walsh shared his personal experience caring for both of his parents and mother-in-law who all suffered from dementia.
If approved, Chan said, the project would cost around $500,000 and take at least two months.
The board will vote on Chan’s request on Nov. 15, at the next board of trustees meeting.