Rockaway Rallies Around Elderly Dementia Patient


Can you spare some time? On Tuesday, January 29, a woman named Jennifer Ferrando reached out to Rockaway residents and put out a request on the Friends of Rockaway Beach Facebook page for volunteers to visit her mother, Barbara Ferrando, in Rockaway’s Promenade Nursing Facility. As Jennifer Ferrando is currently living in Poland, without the means to make trips back to Rockaway, she turned to locals, asking them to consider paying her mother a visit, as her mother is 82, alone, and living with dementia.

Ferrando’s concerns for her mother’s well-being grew after her father, who was living in Promenade with her mother for the last three years, recently died, leaving her mother with no one nearby. The family had lived in a one-bedroom apartment in Bay Ridge for several decades, but the conditions of the apartment led to Ferrando’s parents being placed in Promenade in 2015. Ferrando explained some of her mother’s other struggles over the years, including being diagnosed with cancer at age 42 and having a double colorectal and bladder operation. As dementia set in, her father’s despair grew. “I don’t think he could take much more,” she said.

“Now she’s in this home with no friends, no family. Life isn’t fair, but I am trying to find her some happiness. I was her happiness, but now I’m not here for her, which has made me terribly depressed. I wish I had the funds to hire a companion but I don’t,” Jennifer said, explaining that she moved to Poland with her husband when he got a job, and she needs to take out loans to afford the flight to New York. Due to her situation, Ferrando put out a request for others to keep her mother company. “She is all alone with no visits. I live in Poland and cannot visit much. She is a very sweet lady who loves old music played to her and a lollipop. Any help would be greatly appreciated!” she said.

After Ferrando’s initial post, Rockaway quickly rallied and the support came through strong. Dozens of people offered to visit, including some who already have family members at Promenade, local nurses and other neighbors. Local car salesman Jerry Rea even offered to give people a ride to and from the nursing facility if they want to visit. (Rea can be reached at 718-318-1200.)

Ferrando was blown away by the response. “I just want to again express my blessings to each and every one of you and your loved ones. It has showed me how wonderful the Rockaway community is! The overwhelming responses were hard to believe, such generous people,” Jennifer said. “I posted the same message in Bay Ridge Friends where I grew up and where my parents grew up, and I got maybe a few responses, but Rockaway, God bless this beautiful community. I realize everyone on here has their own problems, I am not the only one who has a sad story. I know many of you may also have, but you all have eased my anxiety a little and made me wake up, for once, being grateful that I decided to post this feed. I never thought people cared so much!”

If any others are willing to visit, Barbara Ferrando can be found on the fourth floor of Promenade (140 Beach 114th Street). The facility can be reached at 718-945-4600. Jennifer Ferrando can be reached through her husband’s Facebook page: Tim Bishop.