Above the Rest uplifts seniors

West Knox County’s isolated senior citizens are getting a cheerful smile as part of Adopt-a-Grandparent, a nationwide initiative provided locally by Dianna Glandon, Knox County’s Above the Rest Balloon and Event Designs owner and her team to deliver “Balloon Buddies” to residents of senior living facilities.

Glandon and her team recently delivered Balloon Buddies to 52 residents at Morning Point Assisted Living off Westland Drive and 45 more to The Lantern 48 hours later. These “Buddies” are about 20 inches tall and include a balloon with a smiley face and “hold a heart.”

“I just love my little balloon man,” one resident called and told Glandon after the delivery. “It makes me happy when I walk in the door.”

“I was just so thrilled,” a 101-year-old Morning Pointe resident said. “I just want you to know what it meant to me.”

“There was just an outpouring of love from our residents,” Morning Pointe director Kari Christopher told Glandon. “They were in disbelief.”

“Most of them decided right away that their Buddy would need a name, which was adorable,” Christopher said. “There was not one resident who did not light up with a smile when we walked in their door.

“Thank you again from the bottom of my heart,” she added. “That was a very special day; we are so thankful.”

Glandon’s efforts are intended to spread joy to seniors who have been isolated for the past 11 months because of the pandemic.

The mission of Adopt-a-Grandparent is to “help reduce some of the loneliness that the seniors are experiencing because they have been in isolation for 11 months,” she said.

“When I talked to these assisted living directors and workers, (they said) the loneliness is far worse than any of us outside there have a clue,” Glandon added. “What’s happening is the effects of loneliness are causing depression, anxiety, fear. It progresses the Alzheimer’s disease.

Glandon said she receives referrals from senior communities, or communities can call and ask to participate. When that community agrees to receive the Buddies, she sets out to get those relatives adopted.

Glandon said the purchasers can be anyone, even businesses. “They can buy as many Balloon Buddies as they want, from one to 1,000.

“So, it lets everybody participate,” she added. “It’s easy to order” through a link http://bit.ly/AdoptaGranparentBusiness, which can be found on her company’s website, abovetherest.com.

“We provide the delivery for free, and if 10 people are adopted by one person at once, we provide two more Buddies (to seniors) for free,” Glandon said. “If 50 are adopted at once, we give five (more Buddies).”

For more information, go to www.abovetheresteventdesigns.com, send an e-mail to dianna@abovetheresteventdesigns.com or follow the company on Facebook at Above the Rest Event Designs.