GROVE - Sunshine, fresh air...what could be better after weeks of sheltering in place, without family or friends being able to visit?

Grandwood Assisted Living in Grove arranged for their residents to enjoy a parade of family and friends on April 28 and 29.

Families were contacted by Activities Director, Ruby Moon, so they could choose which day they would be able to participate in the parade with their vehicles and wave to their family member resident.

The parade was planned each day for 11 a.m. and the Grandwood staff began helping the residents at 10:30 am walk their walkers, ride their mobile carts or sit in a chair at the edge of the parking lot.

One SUV had a sign that said "Hi Grandma We Love U" and honked as grandma waved back.

Another car had a sign and balloons from a physician’s assistant that said "We miss you!"

The Grandwood residents, based on the hand waving and smiles, enjoyed the opportunity to get outside on a bright and sunny Oklahoma morning.

As Moon repeated, "This is why the caged bird sings."

The idea for the parade came from one of the owners, Reggie Herring.

She saw a similar parade at another facility in the country on social media, she thought it would be a great experience for the Grandwood residents.

Moon worked with administrator Roxanne Fanning and Moon's assistant Joyce York to coordinate the event, while they hoped favorable weather would work out for them on the two days.

The Endless Memories Car Club joined in on the parade, prompting a comment from one of the residents "It seems like a car show."

Grandwood Assisted Living has had no cases of COVID-19 and continues to work hard to keep that way; only the Grove Nursing Center has had cases and ensuing deaths associated with the coronavirus.

No visitors, other than medical staff have been allowed in the building, and when a resident has to leave the building for any reason, they are completely sanitized upon their return and room restriction for 14 days.

All three daily meals have been delivered to each resident's room to ensure social distancing within this very at-risk population.

After the parade, as each resident returned to the building, they were sanitized, as well as the wheels of mobile carts and wheel chairs, along with the bottom of each resident's shoes and their hands.

Hopefully, the no-visitor restrictions will soon be lifted, but even in Governor Stitt's plan for reopening Oklahoma, senior living facilities will continue to have restrictions in place longer, due to the at-risk age category of the residents.

In the meantime, events like this parade, let’s seniors know that they are loved and thought about every day.