Flushing House- Affects and Emotions

For my ecology, I am focusing on nursing homes and senior day centers in the Flushing neighborhood to examine the impact of language barrier on the life of the Asian elderly immigrants community (especially Korean and Chinese). Nursing homes and senior day care centers both provide proper care for the elders in terms of medicals, meals, and daily activities. However, adult day care centers only provide assistance for living during normal business hours, which allow caregivers a reprieve from full-time care. There is a number of elderly care centers in Flushing, which are divided into three categories according to the ethnicities of the residents: those that only cater to the South Asian community, those that cater only to one ethnicity, for example Chinese and Korean, as well as those that cater to all ethnicities. It would be interesting to see how people in all three types of elderly care centers interact. Most importantly, I want to know if the elderly immigrants who are not proficient in English(especially Korean and Chinese immigrants who are said to be the least proficient in English) are able to receive enough care both physically and mentally. Besides, to what extent would the language barrier hinder their social abilities and prevent them from making friends with other English-speaking elderlies?

I decided to first visit one of the nursing homes in Flushing, Flushing House, which is eight-minutes walk away from Flushing-Main Street Station. It was a windy afternoon, and the temperature is around 33 degrees Fahrenheit. As I walked along Roosevelt Avenue and further away from the busy central streets, I came across more elderlies on the street who were moving slowly while dragging their shopping trolley carts along. At the corner between Roosevelt Avenue and Browne Street, which is where Flushing House is, there is a supermarket that has stalls outside that display cheap fruits. I could see a lot of elderlies picking the fruits with their trembling hands. Upon the entrance of Flushing House, there is a large brown sign that says “Flushing House, Club Residence for Adults. ” At the reception table, two people wearing blue uniforms approached me and asked me if I needed help in anything, which I responded by saying that I was trying to do a project on elderly care centers in Flushing. They were extremely helpful and provided me with two name cards of their activity leads. After that, I stood at the lobby for a while to observe the surroundings. There are not a lot of people around, but I could see some elderlies and there caretakers walking in and out slowly and peacefully. During the period I was there, I saw two White ladies and a Latino gentleman. The Latino Gentleman moved alone with his walking stick and stopped by the reception table for a seemingly cheerful conversation. In front of me there was a big painting on the pillar that shows people from a lot of different ethnicities with a saint in the middle. There is also a sentence written in the middle of the painting “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Although the painting is trying to deliver a positive message, I felt a bit uncomfortable as all the other people in the painting have solemn expressions. It was not until I turned my head to the left that I realized there were two Asian elderlies seating apart on the sofa below the window. One of them was reading a Chinese newspaper, while another one was simply leaning against the sofa and sleeping. There was an event venue further passing the lobby, where I could see a lot of pink balloon decorations, which I assumed was for Valentine’s Day event.

After the visit, I had a mixed feeling about the retirement house. Although the Flushing House is tidy and well-renovated, I still feel a sense of distance between the residents. It was probably because I did not come to the House at a more busy time(for example during one of the activities) to see more interactions between the residents. I did not feel any affection between the members, which transmitted an depressive emotion in me. This reminded me of Theresa Brennan’s article The Transmission of Affect as she says, “By the transmission of affect, I mean simply that the emotions or affects of one person, and the enhancing or depressing energies these affects entail, can enter into another” (Brennan).The pale beige color of the interior design and the spacious surrounding also gave me a feeling that it lacks some sort of positivity in it. However, the pink balloon decoration did give me a sense of warmth and festivity. These little details shaped my feeling regarding the surrounding, which reminded me of what Matthew Fuller wrote in his Media Ecologies article, that the objects “have a poetics…make the world and take part in it, and at the same time, synthesize, block, to make possible other worlds” (Fuller). Overall, I feel a need to know this place more and learn more about how people in Flushing House interact.

Works Cited
Brennan, Teresa. The Transmission of Affect. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2004.
Fuller, Matthew, and Roger F. Malina. Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and
Technoculture. MIT Press, 2005.

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~ by ynizz on February 14, 2018.

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