By Chelsea Quackenbush White
Photo by Mike McLean
Six artists shuffle 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.
“I’m closer to some of these people than my own family – or as close as my family,” she explains. “I just feel like I’ve known them for years. Everybody is so genuine.”
When it was time for her to sell her house, the Austin native visited several communities before she found Buckner Villas. She knew as soon as she stepped through the doors Buckner was going to be home.
“When I visited, people here, they were just so warm and friendly," Judy says. "It’s truly like family.”
Judy enjoys making wreaths and jewelry, especially during holidays. She also makes Christmas decorations and Christmas balls that she sells at the annual Christmas bazaar on campus. She’s made wreaths for years, but mostly for friends and family. Once she moved to Buckner, her craft escalated when people started asking her to make wreaths for various occasions.
“I enjoy doing it, and it’s just sort of like in my blood,” Judy says. “I’ve always enjoyed decorating. I’ve been doing different things, helping people decorate their houses and stuff.”
Judy loves living in a community where art is supported and she has friends who also like to create.
In addition to finding a home and a creative outlet, she also loves to garden and keep the campus beautiful.
“I love to work with the roses outside. Right now I’m in the process of cutting those back, and I was deadheading those once they started blooming and got a little bit much for me once the weather got so hot, but I love working outside. I was a big gardener before I moved in here.”
Judy takes advantage of the “huge variety of things to do.
“It’s hard to do everything they have available for you to do because there’s just something going on all the times,” she says. “All these people love seniors and it’s evident … When they ask about you, they genuinely care.”