Calder Woods welcomes new health care administrator

Michael Cummings is the new health care administrator at Calder Woods. He started Sept. 2.

Cummings joined Buckner Retirement Services three years ago as the senior living coordinator at Buckner Parkway Place in Houston. Read more

A badge of honor | Buckner Parkway Place

It was his fifth mission as a bomber pilot during the Second World War and pilot Birt Brumby, then 23, was leading the second crew of the 458th Bombardment Group, flying a B24 Liberator over Bielefeld, Germany.

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Lifelong artist wins award for greeting cards | Buckner Calder Woods

Betty Nellius

Calder Woods resident Betty Nellius, 89, was honored in May at the LeadingAge “Art is Ageless” statewide competition for her ink drawings depicting scenes around the campus.

When Calder Woods staff saw her drawings, they convinced her to turn them into greeting cards and sell them in the gift shop. She won second place in the drawing category. Read more

Parkway Place gives to Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls(R)

During the month of May, Parkway Place residents and staff raised money and gave shoes to Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls, the largest humanitarian aid project of Buckner International. Residents collected more than 130 pairs of shoes and raised $700 during the month-long drive.

The shoes arrived at the Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid in Dallas this week. Read more

Senior fitness enthusiast wants peers to get healthy | Buckner Parkway Place

Gone are the days of institution-like nursing facilities with elders lining the halls in wheelchairs and walkers. Walk into Parkway Place, a Buckner senior living community, and you’ll find seniors competing in Wii bowling competitions, taking Tai Chi classes or learning to zumba. Read more

Just like family | Buckner Villas

Six artists file into the activities room at Buckner Villas in Austin, Texas, artwork in hand, waiting to be photographed.

Judy Jackson, holding a large wreath adorned with colorful Christmas bulbs, ribbons and beads, smiles patiently and chats with other residents while she waits for her turn. The room buzzes with chatter as the artists admire each other’s pieces, which they’ve entered into the Leading Age “Art is Ageless” competition. Read more

‘Every day is Mother’s Day’ | Buckner Calder Woods

Ben Mazzara and family

BEAUMONT, Texas – Not many people go to work every day and see their mom. Ben Mazzara, executive director of Buckner Calder Woods, says he’s an administrator from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but before 8 and after 5, he’s family. His mom moved in several weeks ago and now “every day is Mother’s Day.”<!–more–>

His 84-year-old mother had a stroke about six months ago while on the waiting list for a spot at Calder Woods. She’s in skilled nursing as she rehabilitates but she told Mazzara that after all she’s survived in her life – including a German bombing during World War Two in the Italian village she grew up in and Hurricane Carla in Galveston in 1961 – “no stroke is going to get me down.”

Mazzara, the only son in the family, is very close to his mother. His fondest memories are going on family cruises and going to church together. His parents were both born and raised in Sicily, Italy, so he grew up hearing them speak Italian around the house. He loved hearing stories of their home country.

Mazzara was also very close to his grandparents. Growing up, he visited his aging grandmother every day at a nursing home in Galveston. His father visited her in the morning; his mom visited in the afternoon; and Ben visited in the evenings.

“I had the grave yard shift,” he joked. “But I was what they call a ‘late in life’ child, so I was used to being around senior adults.”

One day, the executive director of the nursing home approached Mazzara and told him he should seriously consider getting a license to operate a retirement community. The director saw his passion and dedication to his grandmother, and at the time, he was a hospital administrator, so it wouldn’t have been a huge stretch.

Mazzara decided to go for it. He sat for the boards and 20 years later, he still loves every minute of it.

“I don’t look as this so much as a job as it is a ministry,” Mazzara said. “My favorite aspect is that we’re a faith-based Christian ministry. My mom loves God so much and she is truly devoted to her faith. It made the decision easy to choose Calder Woods.”

As his mother recovers from the stroke, he is hopeful she will be able to talk and walk again. But most of all, he’s looking forward to his mother’s Italian cooking.

“They staff treat her just like they would treat anyone else. They treat everyone as though it’s their own mother, and I treat everyone as if they were my own mother.”

Another reason Mazzara chose Calder Woods is because of its U.S. News five-star rehabilitation facility.

“There’s such a stigma attached to nursing homes and nursing facilities. We need to invite people from the outside to come in. If they look at Buckner, they’ll see we are a family and we exceed minimum standards.”

Continuing the adventure | Buckner Villas

Buckner Villas resident Anna Gatti has lived an exciting, adventurous life. And at 91, she’s no where near slowing down.

She has lived all over the world – Lebanon, Belgium, the Dominican Republic and Israel to name a few – but now she spends her time volunteering with Austin Group for the Elderly (AGE) and enjoying life with her friends at Buckner Villas. Read more

No signs of slowing down | Buckner Calder Woods

senior woman selling snack food

Connie Dickinson, a resident at Calder Woods in Beaumont, began doing volunteer work in her community 27 years ago and has been going strong ever since. Nothing seems to slow her down – even at 97 years old. Read more

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