Families looking for a safe, stimulating way to get an elderly loved one or adult with special needs out of the house can find what they need at Greenacres Adult Day Care, located at 6623 Forest Hill Blvd.
The facility has enriched the lives of participants over the past six years and recently chose to expand its service hours to include Saturdays, based on the request of satisfied families.
After working for other organizations, founder Sam Zutshi has successfully opened four adult day care facilities in South Florida and sees the need for such services rising.
“My background includes serving as a human rights commissioner, and I have worked with seniors for many years,” said Zutshi, who finds interaction a vital part of what they do. “This is not an assisted living facility [ALF]. I don’t want them to sleep. I don’t want beds here.”
Inspired by the purpose behind the work, Zutshi invited his son, Neil, to come down from New Jersey and see it for himself. After a short visit, Neil was personally moved by the experience and did not return north.
“After one of the participants had to move to an ALF, it was very sad. When she was gone, at that moment, I realized that this is not just a business. We are not selling pizzas or products,” Neil Zutshi said. “I told my dad I’m proud of him for starting this place because I realized that it was having real world physical impact on the people, the seniors.”
Owner Sandhya “Sandy” Mistry also has a personal connection to the work. She has been in the medical field for 30 years and was looking for something more than being a medical technologist.
“When I met Sam, my parents had just died. My father was a physician, and my mother was an artist. If we had known about adult day care services, maybe they would have lived longer. So, that’s what brought me to looking for something in the memory of my parents,” Mistry recalled. “I do paintings and floral arrangements with the participants, too. My mother’s picture is hanging in this room, and this is in the memory of my mom.”
Neil Zutshi currently serves as activities director and explained what families can expect for their loved ones at Greenacres Adult Day Care every day.
“We do physical activities, including physical stimulation as well as mental stimulation. Patrons who have wheelchairs or walkers, whose legs are weak, walk on the parallel bars to build confidence and strength. We can always tell if our participants have not been exercising,” he said. “We also go on field trips and play a variety of games to keep them socially engaged.”
Aside from the personal touch families and clients receive, Sam Zutshi makes it clear he is available 24/7 and values the individual relationships that develop.
“We tell families they are always welcome here. They don’t have to call us, they can come check on their loved ones at any time,” he said, noting the facility’s low ratio of staff to participants.
The facility remains secure and medications are locked away safely. Staff members clear a full background check, are certified to give medication reminders and check some items such as glucose. In addition, clients are provided with catered breakfast, lunch and a healthy snack. Food and activities are tailored to each person’s preferences and interests.
Rose Salina, a longtime participant, was excited to share how she feels about the staff.
“We love each other. [Sam] is a very good man, and he is very special. This guy [Neil] is the world’s best helper,” Salina said. “I love it here. We’re family. These are my friends. It’s something that you will always have, when you have friends.”
Greenacres Adult Day Care provides services to help families and caretakers, too. Transportation to and from the facility is provided for a nominal fee, and respite care is also available. In addition to adult day care services, respite care allows for primary caregivers to take some personal time away.
“Besides seniors, we also deal with adults who have special needs,” Mistry said. “We have two special needs cases here, and both of them have greatly improved. They went from nonverbal to communicating, and we are so happy to have them here.”
The staff prizes personal communication and can work with individuals who speak English, Spanish and Creole.
Greenacres Adult Day Care, also known as Sunrise Adult Day Care, is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.greenacresadultdaycare.com. To schedule a tour, contact Sam Zutshi at (941) 786-6786 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.