Houston Churches Help Senior Living Community During Winter Storm

Water Donation for Senior Living Community

See How Two Houston Churches Came To The Aid Of Buckner Parkway Place

With historic low temperatures sweeping throughout the state of Texas, many cities have struggled with power outages and water shortages. Two churches in Houston wanted to ensure the senior adults at Buckner Parkway Place were provided for.

Water and blankets help senior adults through winter storm

Tallowood Baptist Church delivered 115 cases of water to the senior living community. Church members and their families drove around Houston yesterday and this morning purchasing cases of water to bring to the senior adults at Parkway Place.

Gateway Church Houston also brought 100 blankets to give to the seniors at Parkway Place. With the unusually frigid temperatures this winter storm has brought, the extra blankets are an appreciated extra degree of warmth during these cold days.

Blanket Donation for Senior Living Community

Community coming together to help during difficult times

The act of kindness from Tallowood and Gateway members resulted from Houston’s water boil notice and outreach from Parkway Place chaplain and the senior director of church engagement to the churches.

Parkway Place already had a 700 gallon emergency reserve of bottled water ready prior to the winter storm, which associates began distributing to more than 220 residents on Tuesday and Wednesday. With the length of the water boil notice unknown, the extra supply of water will help associates continue to keep residents safe and healthy.

Water Donations for Senior Living Community

We can’t thank the members of Tallowood Baptist Church and Gateway Church enough for their selflessness and dedication to supporting the seniors in our community,” said Abraham Mathew, executive director of Parkway Place. “While we feel confident in the resources we had onsite already, knowing that kind people are thinking about us and want to ensure our wellbeing during this difficult time has been uplifting for the residents and associates in our community.

Learn how you can help someone in need in your community.  

Buckner Calder Woods Announces New Executive Director

Shane Gabis brings nearly 25 years of experience serving senior adults To Beaumont’s faith-based senior living community.


BEAUMONT, Texas (Feb. 2, 2021) – Buckner Retirement Services, the operator of Buckner Calder Woods, has named Shane Gabis as the new executive director of the Southeast Texas senior living community, effective Feb. 15. Gabis brings nearly 25 years of senior living industry experience and leadership to the role.

Gabis previously worked for senior living provider Life Care Services in various capacities, including the past ten years as a community executive director. He also served as a team leader in operational reviews and as a health care administrator. He comes to Beaumont from North Carolina.Shane Gabis as New Executive Director

I was attracted to Calder Woods because of the rich history of ministry Buckner Retirement Services offers to senior Texans,” said Gabis. “The mission, vision and values of Buckner ring true to my own believes and the way I lead senior living community associates and serve residents.

Located in Beaumont’s growing west end, Calder Woods is a 17- acre community providing affordable senior living. As Beaumont’s only faith-based, nonprofit Life Plan Community, Calder Woods offers a full continuum of senior living and care on site, so residents can have the peace of mind knowing their address can remain the same despite changing medical needs.

When asked about his short-term and long-term goals for the community, Gabis noted he wants to continue to build on the community’s rich traditions in Southeast Texas. “I believe serving others comes with great reasonability, transparency and integrity – all attributes the Calder Woods team demonstrated throughout the pandemic. My goal is to continue this level of service excellence that drives resident satisfaction and employee engagement because together, and with the support of God, anything is possible.

Gabis grew up in the rural area of Northern Michigan. He received his degree in Health Care Administration from Davenport University and is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator in North Carolina with previous licenses in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and California. Gabis is relocating to Southeast Texas with his wife, Lisa, and their three pets, a dog and two cats.

We are excited about the knowledge, experience, and leadership style Shane brings to the position of executive director at Calder Woods,” said Brian Robbins, vice president of Buckner Retirement Services. “The end of the pandemic is in sight, and I believe Shane’s passion and faith will be invaluable as we work to return to normal while also looking to a future of innovation in senior living.

For more information about Buckner Calder Woods, visit BucknerCalderWoods.org.

About Buckner Retirement Services, Inc.:

Buckner Retirement Services is a nonprofit senior living organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for senior adults and their families by promoting an active, healthy lifestyle while maintaining their independence and dignity. Buckner Retirement Services is part of Buckner International, a global faith-based ministry serving more than 350,000 people each year in Texas and six countries worldwide. For more information, visit BucknerRetirement.org.

Information Contact:

Christopher Ruth

Director of Media Relations

Buckner International


senior living community covid vaccine clinic in texas

COVID-19 vaccination clinics held at all Buckner Communities

The vaccines provide hope to one of the most vulnerable groups to the virus

In December 2020, Parkway Place and Buckner Villas were the first Buckner senior living communities to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Since then, all six Buckner senior living communities have hosted at least one vaccination clinic for residents and associates. Working with partnering pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS, the vaccination clinics are offered to eligible participants free of charge.

senior living community covid vaccine clinic in texas

Administering a new vaccine presents challenges

Facing challenges such as shortages and distribution inconsistencies with a new vaccine is not uncommon. Buckner staff continues to work with pharmacies to schedule additional clinics so every eligible resident and associate has the opportunity to receive the first dose.

The second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine must be administered within 21 to 28 days. Buckner communities are scheduling clinics this week for those who have received the first dose of the vaccine to receive their second dose.


Buckner provides vaccine education so residents and associates are comfortable with their informed decisions

Buckner continues its vaccination education campaign through the distribution of weekly informational letters and memos, posters and a series of videos with Dr. Neeta Nayak, medical director for Ventana by Buckner. Information and resources are available to residents and health care associates, allowing them to make an educated decision.

Not every eligible resident and associate opted to receive the vaccine when first available but many are now expressing interest in receiving it at the next available opportunity.

senior living community covid vaccine clinic in texas

Senior health and safety is always a priority

Regardless whether a person has been vaccinated, Buckner continues to require all associates to adhere to CDC guidelines regarding the use of PPE, masks, hygiene and encouraging social distancing for the good of their community.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the CDC website and consult your physician.

For more information on Buckner senior living communities, please visit bucknerretirement.org.

Vaccine Arrives at Parkway Place

Vaccine arrived at Parkway PlaceOn Tuesday, Dec. 29, CVS pharmacists and technicians arrived at Parkway Place in Houston and Buckner Villas in Austin bringing with them hope for nursing residents and associates – the COVID-10 vaccine.

The two senior living communities became the first Buckner communities to receive doses of the vaccine for residents and associates in their Skilled Nursing care areas. Leaders at all six communities are working with partnering pharmacies, like CVS, to schedule free clinics as soon as possible.

Dimmitry Cooke, a CNA staff coordinator at Parkway Place, was the first associate at the community to receive the vaccine. Cooke and the other associates and residents will receive their required second dose of the vaccine from CVS in three to four weeks.

“Being able to offer the vaccine to the residents and associates in nursing who choose to receive it is a great first step, but we can’t stop until everyone in our senior living communities has the opportunity to be vaccinated,” said Abraham Mathew, executive director of Parkway Place.

It is not yet known when residents in assisted living, memory care and independent living will have the option to be vaccinated.

First employee receiving the vaccine.Buckner communities are among the 2,000 long-term care homes across Texas that are receiving the vaccine as part of the state’s first phase of distribution. According to CVS Health District Leader John Fratamico, approximately 275,000 long-term care residents and staff will be vaccinated over the next twelve weeks.

As part of an educational campaign to help residents and associates decide whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Buckner created a series of videos with Dr. Neeta Nayak, medical director for Ventana by Buckner. The videos can be viewed at YouTube.com/user/BucknerIntl.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit CDC.gov and consult your personal physician.

As we grapple with COVID-19, let’s remember that faith and love are vital components of healing

Two women sitting next to each other

There is a healing science associated with touch, from reducing stress hormones to increasing levels of melatonin and serotonin.

Editor’s note: This article was written by Buckner President and CEO Albert Reyes and originally posted in The Dallas Morning News as part of their ongoing opinion commentary on faith, called Living Our Faith. 

I believe in the healing power of science and medicine. I also believe in the healing power of love and faith. They are not diametrically opposed when caring for those who are sick and the most at-risk.

We are half a year into the coronavirus pandemic. In those six months, we have learned a lot about the virus, from how it is transmitted to COVID-19 symptoms and testing. The country’s top health officials now believe an approved vaccine is right around the corner.

During this period, we have also learned a lot about the human soul, or at least we validated what many of us already knew. People need people. There is a healing science associated with touch, from reducing stress hormones to increasing levels of melatonin and serotonin. The University of Miami even created an entire research institute to study the effects of touch therapy. There is an emotional and spiritual healing that comes with a human connection.

Our faith is also a vital component of healing. It’s easy to recall the biblical images of lone figures like Jonah and Moses discovering strength in their faith through solitude, but let us not forget there is a reason God sent Jesus to earth in the flesh, what theologians call the Incarnation. For many of us, faith grows stronger through fellowship. Companionship reminds us that we are loved by others as well as by God.

Thousands of our fellow Texans are missing those reminders that they are loved. Many senior adults residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are faced with a second pandemic — one brought on by isolation and loneliness. Senior living communities have been closed to visitors since mid-March and even recent policies aimed at a slow, safe reopening do not offer a real solution.

Isolation and environmental sterilization are easier solutions to propose when not personally impacted by the virus, but with more than half a million Texans testing positive for COVID-19, the odds of being personally impacted are increasing. I used to be insulated from the impact of the virus. Now I’m not.

Read the rest of the article in The Dallas Morning News.

Buckner Retirement Services Receives Third Great Place to Work Certification Despite Global Pandemic

Open positions are available at all six Buckner communities around Texas, from healthcare to hospitality.

best place to work awardDallas, Texas (July 29, 2020)Buckner Retirement Services has received its third Great Place to Work certification by the Great Place to Work Institute. The certification process considered more than 1,000 employee surveys from across Buckner’s six senior living communities in Texas. In a time where senior health care employees and staff are working extra hard to mitigate risks for their residents, the certification is evidence of the positive environment fostered throughout Buckner Retirement Services.

Great Place to Work, an independent research and consulting firm, evaluated more than 60 elements of team members’ experience on the job. These included employee pride in the organization’s community impact, belief that their work makes a difference, and feeling their work has special meaning. Rankings are based on employees’ experiences, no matter who they are or what they do.

“We applaud Buckner Retirement Services for seeking certification and releasing its employees’ feedback,” said Dr. Jacquelyn Kung, of Great Place to Work’s senior care affiliate Activated Insights. “These ratings measure its capacity to earn its own employees’ trust and create a great workplace for high performance.”

Highlighted in the recognition is the quote from one Buckner employee, who wrote, “The organization is a team. We work together all the time. The upper management works well with mid management and they work well with front line staff. When there is an issue, opportunity or problem the team comes together and resolves or solves the issue. I have never worked for a company that has a team that enjoys working together more than Buckner”

BRS communities include Buckner Parkway Place in Houston, Buckner Villas in Austin, Buckner Calder Woods in Beaumont, Buckner Westminster Place in Longview, Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo and Ventana by Buckner in Dallas.

“Our team is what makes the difference in the quality of service we provide residents,” said Buckner Retirement Services Senior Vice President Charlie Wilson. “Through the duration of the current pandemic, our residents can see their passion and drive for providing exceptional care in all areas of the community. At the end of the day, we want to inspire happiness for our residents as well as our staff, even in the most unprecedented times.”

This certification comes at a time when essential business jobs are difficult to come by. All Buckner Retirement Services locations are currently hiring for a variety of positions, many of which are not temporary. There are open positions in the fields of culinary services, housekeeping, maintenance, wellness and nursing.

For the full list of available positions, click here.

About Buckner Retirement Services, Inc.:

Buckner Retirement Services is a nonprofit senior living organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for senior adults and their families by promoting an active, healthy lifestyle while maintaining their independence and dignity. Buckner Retirement Services is part of Buckner International, a global faith-based ministry serving more than 350,000 people each year in Texas and six countries worldwide. For more information, visit BucknerRetirement.org.

Information Contact:

Christopher Ruth
Director of Media Relations
Buckner International
630-536-9139 (cell)


Buckner Retirement Services residents weigh in on pandemic impact

seniors-agree-with-social-distancing-measures (1)

According to a recent survey conducted by Buckner Retirement Services, 96% of senior living residents agree with social distancing and visitation restrictions in place. The survey was distributed to 140 senior adults living across six different Buckner Retirement communities in Texas in early May. The anonymous survey results provide a look into the communities and show how senior adults feel about current safety policies, how they are spending their time and what they feel are the most inconvenient parts of the pandemic.

In the survey, residents were asked what they do for free time during the pandemic. The top answers were 74% are reading, 29% are napping and 63% can be found on the phone with loved ones.

More than 75% of seniors surveyed listed family visits as something they miss most. Other top activities missed within the communities include going to church (56%) and group dining (54%).

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Additionally, residents were asked about inconveniences brought on by the pandemic; they listed wearing masks, visitation restrictions and a lack of group activities as their top answers. Due to the visitation restrictions, senior adults are staying connected to loved ones in a variety of ways. The survey covers the ways they are communicating with family and friends such as letters, texting, social media and video calls.

When it comes to video chatting, 55% admitted they never used the technology before shelter-in-place orders. However, 52% of residents plan to continue using the technology beyond pandemic circumstances.

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“We understand how difficult it is for our residents and their family members and friends to be physically apart during the pandemic, so our goal with the survey and infographic was to provide everyone outside our communities with some more insight,” said Charlie Wilson, senior vice president of Buckner Retirement Services.

“The survey results and infographic help show how residents are staying connected and spending their time, as well as how they feel overall. We are so appreciative of everyone across Texas working together to help protect one of our most vulnerable populations during this pandemic.”

Senior living residents are in turn appreciative for the staff caring for them each day, as senior living staff was one of the top answers to the question, “What are you most thankful for?”

seniors-spending-time-readin (1)

All Buckner senior living communities have observed strict visitation restrictions since March 13, as well as thorough employee screening procedures. All protocols are consistent with guidelines and recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and PreventionCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Buckner’s six communities include Buckner Villas in Austin, Parkway Place in Houston, Ventana by Buckner in Dallas, Calder Woods in Beaumont, Westminster Place in Longview, and Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo.

Download a PDF of the full infographic with additional information.

Car parade boost senior adults’ spirits

white car decorated for a parade

After weeks of sheltering in place and practicing social distancing measures, most people are ready for some person-to-person interaction. No more so than the senior adults living in Buckner senior living communities.

On March 13, Buckner Retirement Services made the decision to implement visitor restrictions across all six of its Texas senior living communities. Since that time, Buckner staff has worked with residents and their family members to implement creative ways to stay in communication, such as utilizing video conference platforms,

The creativity stepped up a notch with the introduction of car parades.

Friends and family decorated cars and signs and rode by the communities, hanging out car windows waving and cheering to the seniors and staff who stepped outside to view the parade.

Nurse and elderly woman enjoying a parade

Buckner staff continued to follow strict social distancing and PPE protocols while helping residents come outside to watch the parade. At some locations, the parade was also visible through window views to senior adults residing in portions of the community’s independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing apartments.

elderly man and woman hold signs up for a parade

“I am constantly in awe of the sacrifice each of our residents is making to help keep each other safe,” said David Sims, executive director at Buckner Westminster Place. “And I am beyond proud of every one of our associates, who continue to care for our residents. Senior living employees are on the frontline of our nation’s response to the pandemic, and every single one of them is a hero.”

The parades are one way friends and family members could show their support and love for seniors, as well as the frontline workers taking care of them.

Elderly senior living residents line up to watch a parade

In Longview, more than 80 cars participated in Buckner Westminster Place’s car parade, and the joy was undeniable and contagious. Smiles erupted from all who watched the exuberant procession.

large blue sign that says "heroes work here"

You can show your support for seniors without ever leaving your home. Go gold for seniors and display a gold ribbon outside your home during the month of May and June to help increase awareness for senior living residents and the frontline workers caring for them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buckner Launches Gold Ribbon Campaign in Support of Senior Living

Texans can show their support for senior adults and employees of senior living communities by displaying a gold ribbon outside their homes.

Buckner is going gold for senior living, and everyone is invited!

In order to increase awareness of senior living residents and the frontline workers caring for them during the COVID-19 pandemic, Buckner Retirement Services is launching a ribbon campaign titled Going Gold for Senior Living. Buckner has communities in Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Angelo, Longview and Beaumont, and residents of each city are encouraged to show their support of senior living communities by displaying a gold ribbon outside their homes during the months of May and June.

All six Buckner senior living communities across Texas hosted drive-thru ribbon pick-up events on Monday, May 11 for family members of residents and staff. Three to six-foot pieces of gold ribbon were distributed.

National campaigns such as Light it Blue have asked others to show support for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, but healthcare workers is a broad category that includes hospitals, emergency responders, clinics, and senior living communities.

By launching the Going Gold for Senior Living campaign, Buckner is focusing specifically on the senior living workers – from nurses to dining services, maintenance, administration and more. Each of these jobs is integral in mitigating risk for residents.

Charlie Wilson, senior vice president of Buckner Retirement Services, said he is proud of the work and service by his staff, and thankful for the continuation of support from residents as social distancing measures continue.

“The health and safety of our staff and residents are of utmost importance to us,” said Wilson. “All of our associates are a shining example of what it means to be selfless and inspire happiness in the lives of senior adults. As one of the most vulnerable populations, our residents sacrifice family visits to help reduce risks for their neighbors. By displaying a gold ribbon outside your home, you can recognize the selfless actions and personal sacrifices made by senior living residents and staff.”

It is Wilson’s hope that other senior living communities and nursing facilities across Texas and the U.S. will join in the gold ribbon campaign.

“We are committed to generating awareness through the Going Gold Ribbon campaign across the state of Texas and nationally. Whether you have a family member or friend residing or working in a senior living community, or you just want to show your appreciation and support, we hope you’ll join us and go gold,” said Wilson.

All Buckner senior living communities have observed strict visitation restrictions since March 13, as well as thorough employee screening procedures. All protocols are consistent with guidelines and recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Buckner’s six communities include Buckner Villas in Austin, Parkway Place in Houston, Ventana by Buckner in Dallas, Calder Woods in Beaumont, Westminster Place in Longview, and Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo.

Anyone who would like to support senior living communities is encouraged to purchase gold ribbon from local craft stores while following social distancing regulations and practicing personal hygiene when in public. Gold ribbon is also available through online retailers.

BRS Now Hiring

As cities and counties around Texas and the U.S. move to shelter-in-place policies to combat COVID-19, operations of non-essential businesses are limited. As a result, people in the hospitality industry are looking for temporary work, prompting Buckner Retirement Services to spread the word it is hiring.

Buckner is the largest faith-based nonprofit provider of senior living communities in Texas with communities in Austin, Houston, Dallas, Beaumont, San Angelo and Longview. All six communities are hiring.

There are open positions in the fields of culinary services, housekeeping, maintenance, wellness and nursing. “If you have hospitality industry or service industry experience, such as restaurants, schools, childcare, hotels, retail or healthcare, we want you to join our team,” said Brian Robbins, vice president of BRS.

An article by USA Today, reports that if the outbreak worsens, approximately 24% of employers plan to downsize beyond the temporary suspension of jobs.

Senior living communities are essential businesses because they care for one of the groups most vulnerable to COVID-19, senior adults. Communities like Buckner Villas in Austin and Calder Woods in Beaumont require around-the-clock staff to care for residents.

“Our teams at each Buckner community are heroes,” said Robbins, “And we want to continue to provide them the support they need in order to give our residents the best care possible. We need to make sure our employment in each community is at capacity so everyone has the opportunity to rest and recharge.”

Buckner is not just looking for temporary employees, Robbins said. “If someone comes to us from the restaurant industry and only wants to work with our dining teams for a couple of months until the world returns to normal, that’s fine. But I strongly hope people will consider the long-term career potential Buckner and the senior living industry offers.

“Whether you cook or serve food, maintain our facilities, clean rooms, or practice medicine, joining our team will provide you with a true mission and a passion for making a difference in the lives of our residents.”

In addition to utilizing job boards and Buckner social media pages, Robbins is turning to the news media to help alert Texans about Buckner job opportunities. He was interviewed by KXAN in Austin about the value of employment in senior living, as well as news stations in Longview and Beaumont.

Since the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Buckner has worked diligently to mitigate risks to staff and residents by following guidelines and policies outlined by the CDC, CMS and local and state government. This same caution and meticulousness will apply to job candidates, as preliminary interviews will be carried out through phone and video conferencing platforms, while in-person candidates will be tested and surveyed prior to entering the building. Some interviews may even happen outdoors, weather permitting.

For more information about Buckner Retirement Services, visit BucknerRetirement.org; for a list of job openings go to Buckner.org/Careers and search by community.

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