Residents of Oxford Glen Memory Care had a good reason to smile this week.
Tulsa Balloons delivered several dozen inflatable “buddies” to the Owasso retirement home Friday afternoon as part of the 2021 Adopt a Grandparent campaign.
The nationwide initiative, promoted by balloon artists across the country, offers local citizens a creative way to show love and support for their elderly neighbors in assisted-living communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Angela and Dustin Reudelhuber with Tulsa Balloons joined the campaign a few months ago, and decided to show up at Oxford Glen to enliven residents’ spirits with the bright yellow, grinning balloons — each of which were sponsored by different individuals and organizations.
“Our seniors have been hit especially hard during COVID,” Angela said, “so this is just a very small way we can let them know we’re all in this together, we’re thinking of them, their community loves them.”
Dustin added, “We know that people need human interaction, they need things to brighten their day, to cheer them up, and these little smiling buddies are our way to bring a smile into their life and to give back.”
The Reudelhubers delivered about 35 balloon buddies to Oxford Glen on Friday, which came with the written message: “Here is a buddy that has come your way, with a smile to brighten your day! A gift from the community to remind you that you are loved!”
Oxford Glen residents like Sharon Gatzke and Wanda Dougherty were among those seniors at the facility, located off of Garnett Road in front of Bailey Medical Center, to receive the helium-filled mementos.
“It just makes me feel kind of good,” Gatzke said. “Sometimes we feel a little bit down, especially when you have to stay in so long … This (the balloon buddy), it made my day.”
Dougherty, who admired her balloon with few words, added, “I think it’s delightful, just that I’m remembered.”
The ceremony convened several Oxford Glen staff to witness the ceremony, which was especially emotional for Business Office Manager Deborah Lopez, who has seen firsthand the impact that social distancing has had on the residents she interacts with every day.
“To be able to just come together and make our residents feel special when we know that their families haven’t been able to see them for so long … it’s special,” Lopez said, “and just the smile on their faces is just more than we could ever ask for.”
Tulsa Balloons plans to visit the Highlands at Owasso next once the company finalizes its sponsorships for the buddies.
More information about Tulsa Balloons and its Adopt a Grandparent campaign can be found at tulsaballoons.com.