Balloons helping cure the silent, slow killing epidemic of loneliness

Wide smiles! Sparkling eyes! Squeals of delight! Tears of joy! These are the reactions created when senior citizens at Knoxville-area assisted living communities receive a personal Balloon Buddy created by Dianna Glandon, CBA, and her team at Above the Rest Balloons.

Local balloon artist, Dianna Glandon, CBA, is part of a nationwide initiative that is determined to spread joy and bring smiles to senior citizens who have been isolated for 11 months due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The program, called Adopt-a-Grandparent, kicked off quickly. Glandon’s team delivered 52 Balloon Buddies to the residents at Morning Pointe on Westland within two days of starting the adoptions. Morning Pointe was the first stop on Glandon’s mission to deliver smiling Balloon Buddies to lonely senior citizens all over Knoxville.

Kari Christopher, Morning Pointe director, said, “Dianna, there was just an outpouring of love from our residents! They were in disbelief! Most of them decided right away that their Buddy would need a name which was adorable!

“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! That was a very special day, we are so thankful!”

There are over 60 Assisted Living facilities in Knoxville, or over 3,000 grandmas and grandpas who can be uplifted by the vibrant, bright, friendly Balloon Buddies who bring the message of joy and love. According to Glandon’s research, she found that “the effects of loneliness cause a decline in mental abilities, decreased attention and concentration, increased anxiety, and a rapid progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

She also learned that loneliness has a bigger negative health impact than smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. She knew that the positive impact of receiving a Balloon Buddy would immediately lift spirits and let the grandparents who have given so much to us know they are loved and thought of by others.

The Adopt a Grandparent program already has 15 additional assisted living facilities on the list to be adopted, which means reaching over 400 seniors directly. The additional benefit is how uplifted and energized the Balloon Buddies make the staff feel.

Randa G., Resident Assistant, said, “I was super excited (to deliver the buddies)! Our residents really needed this pick me up! And also their smiles are why I do what I do and it made me feel so happy!”

As one community is completely adopted, Glandon and team build the Buddies. Then they deliver them to all residents at one community.

Grandparents can be adopted by everyone—individuals, churches, civic organizations, school clubs, businesses, people from out of town or state.

Sponsors can even adopt an entire community. Glandon donates all delivery services as well as two Buddies for every 10 adopted.

Learn more details about Adopt a Grandparent program by following this link:

Above the Rest Balloon Event and Designs is headquartered in Knoxville, TN. The company was founded by Dianna Glandon in 2006.

The company has won international design awards, and Dianna has often taught at balloon industry educational events.

For more information on balloon and event design, go to, or email, or on Facebook at Above the Rest Event Designs.