How a Ridgewood adult health center turned one patient’s life around

Photos by Anthony Giudice/QNS

Margarita Ferrer, a 53-year-old woman from Bushwick, has dealt with a range of ailments since suffering a pair of mini-strokes and a series of accidents since 2014, but she is not letting that stop her from living her life to the fullest thanks to the Bushwick Adult Day Health Center (ADHC) in Ridgewood.

Back in 2014, Ferrer had a mini-stroke that landed her in the hospital, and two weeks after her release she fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a major cut to her leg. Two months after that, she had a second mini-stroke and doctors found herniated disks in her spine along with a back hernia with pinched nerves in both of her wrists and one of her shoulders. She also tore a tendon in her right ankle.

Ferrer’s daughter then had to care for her mother, doing everything for her from helping her to eat, to bathing her and assisting her to use the bathroom. For an independent woman like Ferrer, who worked for 14 years as a home health aide, this was a bitter pill to swallow.

Lucky for her, the hospital she visited coordinates with the ADHC, and the center’s community liaison Gabriela Maciel reached out to Ferrer to see if she would like to visit the center to help with her ailments.

For two years, Ferrer dodged Maciel’s attempts to bring her in to the center, avoiding phone calls and making excuses for why she didn’t want to come in.

“She was telling her care coordinator, ‘How can I go? Some days I cannot sit on one side of my body, the next I can’t sit on the other. How can I go to this center and feel comfortable. I can’t,'” Maciel said.

Eventually, Ferrer gave in to the care coordinator and Maciel’s prodding to visit the center for a day. Once she felt the warmth and saw the professionalism in the staff, she fell in love with everything about ADHC, from the staff, to the other members, and the food and trips the members get to take.

“There is a solidarity here,” Ferrer said through Maciel’s interpretation. “It’s like a mini community here, so you care for everyone around you. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been to other centers, so I know the difference.”

ADHC even helped Ferrer discover her hidden talent for art. Since joining ADHC, Ferrer has become quite the artist, creating several paintings and making sculptures out of old newspapers.

“I am very happy. Now I don’t cry anymore the way I used to. I feel motivated to come here. Before I came here I would spend all my time crying because I was stuck staring at four walls. I felt useless,” Ferrer said. “Coming to the center, I found a new purpose in life.”

ADHC not only helped Ferrer join a fun, spirited community, it also provides physical and occupational therapy to help her deal with her ailments.

Ferrer has now become one of the center’s most vocal advocates, welcoming visitors and new members to the center and showing them around.

“I was very independent,” Ferrer explained. “I lost that when I got hurt. The center helped me get that back, and this is my way of paying it forward.”

ADHC is located at 59-25 67th Ave., and will be getting a name change: The group of centers will soon be known as Centers Adult Day Care.

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