Inspiring Happiness: Be a senior’s pen pal! Send cheer to residents in retirement homes

News

As we reported in March, you can send letters to seniors who reside in the Baptist Retirement Community.

Below is a press release issued by the Buckner Retirement Group reminding citizens of the need for letters and the guidelines to follow.

SAN ANGELO, Texas – In March, the restriction of visitors to senior living communities operated by Buckner Retirement Services led the provider to call on Texans to help bring love and joy to its residents. Since the initial ask, more than 1,000 pieces of mail have been received from across Texas and the nation. In addition to encouraging notes for residents, Buckner is also requesting mail for employees to help brighten the days of its frontline heroes.

The six Buckner communities include Buckner Villas in AustinParkway Place in HoustonVentana by Buckner in DallasCalder Woods in BeaumontWestminster Place in Longview, and Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo. From California to Virginia, letters from students, families, and even some pets are inspiring happiness in the lives of senior adults across the state of Texas.

“The number of letters and amount of other mail we have seen since March is overwhelming,” said Charlie Wilson, senior vice president of Buckner Retirement Services. “With so many people standing behind the Buckner mission to inspire happiness, there is even more positivity in the air of our communities. I am excited to see the smiles of residents and employees as they continue receiving letters of support during a time of limited physical interactions.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, COVID-19 can only live on a porous surface, such as cardboard or paper, for up to 24 hours. Therefore, Buckner communities are following a strict safety procedure when receiving letters. Incoming mail will be isolated for a minimum of 48 hours before distribution. Receipt of the mail will continue to be completely optional for residents.

Only paper mail fitting in traditional envelopes will be received; packages containing goods and products will not be accepted for the safety of the residents. Letters can be addressed to residents by using “Inspiring Happiness for Resident c/o” or to employees by using “Inspiring Happiness for Staff c/o” followed by any of the following addresses:

  • Dallas: Ventana by Buckner 8301 N Central Expy.; Dallas, TX 75225
  • Houston: Buckner Parkway Place 1321 Park Bayou Dr.; Houston, TX 77077
  • Austin: GreenRidge at Buckner Villas 11110 Tom Adams Dr., Bldg. A.; Austin, TX 78753
  • Longview: Buckner Westminster Place 2201 Horseshoe Ln.; Longview, TX 75605
  • San Angelo: Baptist Retirement Community 902 N Main St.; San Angelo, TX 76903
  • Beaumont: Buckner Calder Woods 7080 Calder Ave.; Beaumont, TX 77706

Email correspondences to Buckner chaplains will be printed out and delivered to residents and employees: Ventana (dmann@buckner.org), Parkway Place (jbender@buckner.org), Buckner Villas (kharpster@buckner.org), Westminster Place (rwebb@buckner.org), Baptist Retirement Community (kevin@buckner.org), Calder Woods (dcarpenter@buckner.org).

In order to mitigate risk to senior adults, considered one of the most vulnerable populations during the spread of COVID-19, Buckner implemented a restricted visitation policy that adheres to guidelines and recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and PreventionCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

In lieu of current limited visitation procedures, Buckner team members are coming up with a variety of ways to help residents communicate with their loved ones. The methods include technology stations, portable televisions for video conferencing, social media, phone calls and more.

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