I. Researching On The Degree of Independency in Senior Homes

We are dependent beings when we first come into this world. Whether it’s parents, guardians, hospitals, or even life-support, we depend on them to survive. We then grow to be independent individuals that form a society, or multiple sub-societies, whether we choose to blend in or not. But when we grow older, in the final stage of our long yet short lives, do we go back to the stage we were as we first came here? Or do we remain to be independent men and women, making our own choices? In cases that we are not allowed or not able to do that, do we fight for the last piece of agency and independency we could possibly claim? In other words, I wish to prove that despite the seemingly ginormous gap between the generations and generations of people do not affect our true identity as individuals who can choose, even if that means choosing dependency.

For that purpose, I scouted several senior homes uptown. I finally located the ecology I want to research on to be the Carnegie East House for Seniors. It is a private-owned facility that houses seniors all over New York City and unites them in one community, one private sphere. Why a private-owned facility? Because that’s where our seniors pay to spend their latter stages of life at— it is literally their home. I don’t just want to tell a sad story on the loneliness our elders are facing, but more of a dynamic story on what troubles our seniors are facing when they try to balance their independency and inevitable dependencies; and what troubles the management office of senior homes are facing how thin the gap between our generation and the older generation honestly is, in comparison with how thick we might think it is.

The Carnegie East House for Seniors use automatic doors that should open right away, but I pushed it anyways because I do not know how their automatic doors work since it did not open automatically while I’m standing in front of it. I then entered a typical New York Brownstone, where a second layer of glass door awaits me. I think it’s for keeping the indoors warm. After greeting with the front desk lady and some ladies hanging out around the lobby, I went into the management office right across the front desk. It has sofas for consulting purposes and glass doors to ensure a level of accessibility. I looked around and figured they still have the Valentines day decoration up at the front desk just like last week. It brings out the warm tone the entire decor, the floor, and the wall. It is like entering a cup of ginger latte that is not from Starbucks. So it is to my surprise that the manager, Margaret, told me she really wanted to remodel and furnish the entire lobby this May. I was curious and felt like there is an entire narrative left out of— Why? What do you hate about its current appearance? Certainly, I want to leave that question for the actual interview I and hoping to conduct later on in the semester.

On my first visit, there was a stomach flu breakout, where Margaret had to make and receive multiple calls to get a hold of the situation. It was not a nice day in the house, but that also allowed me see how the house really works under emergency conditions. I listened to Margaret’s phone call while I was waiting on the sofa. That is where I first began to learn how you talk to the seniors at retirement homes. Are they your client, your family, or your burden? Margaret perfectly demonstrates what a mixture of those three would sound like in one phone call. It is so interesting what simple visits could reveal to you. I look forward to get actual footages and audios of the location, whether it’s a thorough interview, a short melody someone is humming or just a natural phone call made on a bad day.

 

–Lo Wong

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~ by lw1956 on February 16, 2019.