Affinity Hospice helps bring Christmas joy to residents

Affinity Hospice helps bring Christmas joy to residents
Chyrstal Hudson and Santa Clause knocking on a window at the Joseph House to bring joy to residents on Christmas morning. (Source: KTRE)

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - This morning after Santa Claus slid down chimneys, he began climbing over bushes and knocking on windows at an end-of-life facility in Lufkin.

The mission at Affinity Hospice of Texas is to make every moment matter. They did just that this morning. Chrystal Hudson with Affinity Hospice said for those in The Joseph House, there’s a strong possibility this is their last Christmas.

“It’s the card that we’ve been dealt this Christmas and we are absolutely going to do what we have to do to make it merry for seniors and those who are in facilities,” Hudson said.

Gary Alexander’s mother is in the Joseph House, but prior to her move, he said she would always host Christmas.

“My mother has always been very independent. She lived by herself most of her life, Christmas was very important to her,” Alexander said. “So she’d have Christmas every year at her house.”

This year is different. A window visit from Santa was given today.

“My mother would love Santa Claus coming because she always loved people coming and singing,” Alexander said.

While people aren’t coming inside and singing this year, Alexander and his immediate family will still be able to see her.

“We can actually go inside with a mask, and they take our temperature, and we can go to her apartment and still have Christmas with my mother,” Alexander said. “And that’s really important to us, and it’s really important to her.”

Others like Carolyn Lee can only drop off gifts. Her son Trey is at the State-Supported Living Center in Lufkin.

“We saw Trey last on February 21st, and then COVID hit, and so we haven’t been able to get together back as a family. It’s been very difficult,” Lee said.

Not only are they not with Trey this Christmas, but Lee lost her daughter in January. She said their faith has comforted them this season.

“At this Christmas time, we know that this is the reason that we celebrate, and that helps a lot,” Lee said.

Affinity Hospice serves 19 counties and has been making socially distanced Santa visits throughout the month.

Hudson said as they make the visits for the residents of facilities, they also do it for the staff.

“Staff of these facilities, they are exhausted; they’re tired They have families at home that they are concerned about, they’re worried about,” Hudson said. “We’ve gone to facilities where we’ve seen nurses aids, med techs, and nurses run from room to room, yank the blinds up, and say, ‘Look it’s Santa!’ And to see them have just a very small glimpse of normalcy along with their residents and patients who may be sitting there in the window as well really warms our hearts. That’s what gives us the fuel to wake up early on a cold Christmas morning and say, ‘We’re going to continue doing this today.’”

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