Q: Would you please introduce yourself?
JF: Ladies and gentleman, my name is Mr. John Farese. I live at the
74th Street Home for the elderly.
Q: How long have you lived here?
JF: I came here in 1991.
Q: How do you like it here?
JF: I think this is a very nice place for the elderly. The services here are very good.
We have aides at night, on twenty-four hourís duty. We have cooks in the
kitchen, we have waiters that wait on you and you have cleaning women
who make your bed and everything. They come around
every morning to give you linen. And they have a medication staff here, that help
you with medication. They have a nurse come in here, the Visiting Nurses, and
they help you out, too, if you need anything. The administration is very good here.
Q: Howís the food?
JF: The food they give you here is Kosher and it is very good. Itís prepared very well.
Q: How is your social life?
JF: Itís all right. They have
all kinds of entertainment. In the mornings they usually have an exercise group or
a singing group, you can also listen to music. In the afternoon they
have jigsaw puzzles and special guests. The ladies that are
volunteers bring their pets in here and you can play with the pets. On
Saturday and Sunday they have Bingo or bowling. A lot of
people like bowling.
Q: So, do you find that you keep pretty busy here?
JF: I play bowling all the time, when they have it.
Q: What are some of the other activities that you like to do?
JF: They let you listen to operas and stuff like
that. Many people canít go to the opera house so they enjoy the that activity very much .
Q: Do you find that you enjoy your time here?
JF: Yes, in the summertime, you can sit outside and watch the people go by and enjoy
the sun shine. In the wintertime you canít go out
there, thereís snow or itís raining. But they have a lot of companionship here that
will help them out. There is nobody here that gets refused help.
Q: Do you do a lot of things in the neighborhood?
JF: No, but here I do a bit of volunteering work. I help with setting the
tables. Iíve been doing that since I came here. Itís no big deal.
I am also the official messenger for the residence. I drop off
and pick up mail between the home and the main office. The most important part is that if they
donít have places like this, the elderly have no place to go.
Q: Right, well it seems that there have been a lot of developers
changing the single room occupancy hotels, and the rents have gone up
incredibly in the last ten years. So, a lot of people donít have places
to stay. Theyíre priced out.
JF: Single room occupancy hotels are not for the elderly. Because itís
a different type of people in there. You have got to cook for yourself.
Here, you get three meals: breakfast, lunch and
dinner. And then you have two nice snacks, you have snacks at eight
oíclock [pm] and at three oíclock in the afternoon. Some of
the people living in the SROís might not have anything to eat
for two or three days. If they had more places like this, it would be a
different story. Itís pretty hard [in SROís]. They donít have get any
services in their. Here, if you are sick there is always someone to help you.
Q: As it should be.
JF: If you want to go out shopping, and you think that you canít do it
on your own, they have an escort to take you to Macyís, any place you
want to go. Since Iím here, this is the best place Iíve ever known.
Theyíve got four social workers here. The social workers help you out with medical
appointments and they make sure all your needs are taken care of.
Q: I hear that you are the president...
JF: Iím the president of the [residentís] council. We have meetings once a month,
they all come down, those who want to. If
there is anything out of line, like no services for linen, or stuff
like that, they tell us, the secretary writes everything down in the
minutes, and then the minutes will go to Maddy, the administrator, and sheíll see if she can
correct them. Any complaints go through the residentís council. For
me, I think that it is a good idea, because if you havenít got a
residentís council, nobody will know if you want anything or not.
Q: So they really try to meet each personís needs here.
JF: They sure do. They do meet them. I know they do, Iím here.
Q: They treat everyone here as an individual and take care of you.
JF: Thatís the only thing they can do here. Itís a nice place.
Q: Maddy ( the administrator) tells me that you give tours of the place.
JF: Sure, when somebody comes around, I show them around. Sometimes
Maddy shows them the rooms, to see if they want it. Sometimes, they come
back and they take it. See, my room is right up here, facing Broadway.
Itís all right for me. Some places donít give you what we get here.
See, the single room is yours, youíve got the key, and you can come and
go as you please. And they never say anyhing. If you want to stay out,
or you want to go someplace for a couple of days, you tell them ahead of
time and they know that you are going to come back on a certain day, at
a certain time. If you are going to a doctor and you feel sick or
something, they will send an escort with you. They will not refuse
you. Nobody gets refused. Itís just like home, I
think. To me, it is.
Q: Have you made a lot of friends during the time youíve been living
JF: Theyíre always calling me. They know me like a book here.
Q: Is your position as president of the residentís council an elected
JF: Yeah, and I didnít even know I got elected. I was out and I came in
one afternoon, and they said, ďyouíre the new president, you have been elected.Ē
I said, ďwhat?Ē Itís all right. Theyíre all right.
Q: Are you going to be running for another term as president?
JF: They donít need another election. Iím here for good, I think! Iím gonna
be here for good.
Q: (Laughs) Well, thank you very much. It sounds like you are a great
advocate for the place.