On Sept. 30 Vision Times had the opportunity to visit Flushing House, an independent living community for seniors located at 38-20 Bowne Street in Flushing, New York.
Built in 1974, Flushing House is New York State’s largest not-for-profit, independent living retirement community whose mission is to provide a safe, enjoyable and affordable retirement experience for its residents. Some 300 residents call Flushing House home.
The community is ideal for seniors who can still live independently. Residents enjoy access to a number of in-house services including convenient access to dining, home care, entertainment and more.
On site amenities include, but are not limited to, a movie theater, exercise room, salon, computer lab, home care agencies, an interfaith chapel, and library.
Pamala Eng, a resident who has lived at Flushing House for two years, told Vision Times that what she loves the most about Flushing House are the people, “What do I like best? The people. The people here are happy to be together with one another.”
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“You go to events you enjoy and the time when they are doing something that you aren’t interested in, you read a book or you sit and chat with your friends. We hang out,” she said.
She said the community is multicultural, “I was brought up on the lower east side of Manhattan, so I already knew a lot of different cultures,” she said.
Eng teaches sign language to fellow residents and even offers English as a second language classes for residents who want to learn or improve their English language skills.
True independent living
Douglas Kurtz, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Flushing House told Vision Times, “We are excited about what we are because as an independent living community people have the right and opportunity to make their own decisions,” adding that, “Their care, their lives, are not governed by somebody else but they have the opportunity to choose what they want to do and we are excited about that type of living.”
He said that once people move into Flushing House they tend to stay for a long time, and as they age in place there are services available to support them.
There are two agencies who operate out of Flushing House that are available to residents should they require additional support, however, Kurtz was adamant that “We do not dictate. If they want to go outside Flushing House and use some other type of home care agency, they are free to do so.”
“If they would like to keep their own doctor, outside of Flushing House, people are free to do so. That’s where the independent living comes in and that is what we’re excited about,” he said.
Residents have a long list of activities they can engage in that are always changing. While there is the fan favorite Bingo, Kurtz said there is much, much more including different kinds of language groups should residents wish to learn a second, third or even fourth language and “all kinds of other cultural groups and educational groups.”
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Affordable retirement living
Nancy Rojas, Flushing Houses’s Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, explained that the community is run by a partnership with the Presbyterian Church of New York City, the Presbyterian Church of Long Island, and the Reform Church.
“They got together to build this community and its design was to have a place for older adults to live, but be independent, make their own decisions, and still have access to all the services that they needed,” she said.
Residents pay one monthly fee that includes three healthy meals a day, weekly housekeeping and linen services, 24-hour security, maintenance services and more.
“We have a wonderful life enrichment program, and it is your own community and it’s designed to have older adults move in, be independent, make their own decisions, but have access to all of these services,” she said.
As a private pay community, renting an apartment at Flushing House, currently runs at $3,300 for a studio apartment, and one bedroom apartments start at $4,250 per month depending on the style of apartment chosen.
The community boasts four on site geriatric internists, Rojas said, who residents can choose to use, or not.
“If you want to see those doctors you can go inside and there is usually a nurse there during the week who will answer questions. You can let them know what insurance you have, and they can assign you which doctor takes your insurance,” she said.
Rojas said that the team at Flushing House has been working in the industry for nearly 50 years. “There is a lot of experience between the management and leadership team here,” she said, adding that, “So you can be rest assured that if you have questions, you’re coming to the right place and we will give you the best possible answers.”
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Residents rave about the community
Flushing House has a number of testimonials on their website.
“My six years here at Flushing House has surprisingly been above and beyond my expectations,” resident Isabel Nickerson said, adding that, “I thought I would settle down, smell the flowers and lazily drift into a life of contemplation. Contemplation turned out to be attending activities I’ve never ever heard of: Poetry, writing… they made poets out of us!”
Another resident, Herta Tishcoff said, “It’s a great place to be. I have a lovely apartment, it’s a really wonderful place and I am very happy here,” adding that, “It is very convenient for me. I am elderly, I don’t have to go out shopping, I don’t have to cook, I can just eat their wonderful food and It’s really, really wonderful.”
Tishcoff says that her pension and social security cover all the costs and that moving to Flushing House was “the best move I’ve made.”
Another resident, Lilliam Williams said, “After I moved in here, my first day here, what really impressed me was when I did have to lay down in my bed and go to sleep, I felt safe. I didn’t feel harm. I knew I was at a place that was safely taken care of, everybody and everything that were in these walls and outside these walls.”
He said that he became closer to people, learned about all different kinds of people and nationalities.
“I just want to say that Flushing House is a good place to live, it is a kind place to be, a safe place,” he said.
For more information check out Flushing House’s YouTube channel, or call 1-888-987-6205 and a knowledgeable and compassionate representative is ready to assist you with personalized answers to your questions.
Tours of the community are available seven days a week by appointment.