PENDLETON — Senior residents took shade under canopies and trees and watched their families, friends and community members drive by in a car parade, cheering and holding signs of love and encouragement.
One by one cars began pulling up onto the road adjacent to the McKay Creek Estates senior living on Thursday, July 30. Vintage and classic cars from the Model A Ford Club adorned with decorations appeared first, honking their way through the parade, followed by pickup trucks filled with family and friends crying out “I love you” and “I miss you.” The residents responded back with the same messages.
“Residents love this,” executive director Malhia Lieuallen said. “They’re always so excited when they can do something like this.”
About 20-25 residents and their friends and families participated at the event. The residents spread out onto the lawn and enjoyed root beer floats while watching the show. Lieuallen said that quarantining has been difficult for the residents and anytime there is a chance to safely go outside and enjoy an event, it’s greatly appreciated.
She also added that these social distancing events would not have been possible without support from family and community members.
“Support from family members has been crucial,” Lieuallen said. “Without their support, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we’re doing.”
For safety, families participating in the car parade were not allowed to step out of their cars or greet the residents face-to-face. Residents were also required to wear face masks if their health permitted.
Since Gov. Kate Brown allowed for limited outdoor visitations at senior centers, Lieuallen said residents have been able to see their families out on the courtyard and private patios.
Family members aren’t allowed to walk inside the building, but can instead directly meet residents at their back patio. Social distancing guidelines are strictly enforced and only 10 residents and their families are allowed to be in the courtyard at one time, according to Lieuallen.
Lieuallen said that following the car parade, the residents expressed how grateful they were, and although the event lasted about 15 minutes, it was 15 minutes of laughter, cheers and joy in what feels like very uncertain times.
She said it’s times like these that remind the community that they’re in this together, to share in both the struggles and joys.