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Sunrise Senior Living Considers Experiential Aspects of Upcoming Vaccine Clinics


Programming addresses residents’ need for calm and comfort in the midst of an expedited vaccine rollout

McLean, VA (December 21, 2020) Sunrise Senior Living is working with CVS Health to prepare for COVID-19 vaccine clinics to start in their 275 U.S. communities as early as late December. In addition to the clinical aspects of vaccinating their resident population, including securing consent and ensuring residents and families have all the information they need to make an informed decision, Sunrise is also focused on making sure the experience goes well. 

“There’s a great deal of anticipation around upcoming vaccine clinics, and we know that our residents and families are looking to our teams to help guide them through these next several months,” said Chief Operating Officer Jenifer Salamino. “It’s important to remember that Sunrise has nearly four decades of experience caring for seniors, and we plan to approach delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine the same way we approach the care we offer residents every day in our communities. We’re focused not only on their physical health, but on their emotional wellbeing and peace of mind, as well.” 

Sunrise communities are exploring how to make vaccine clinics calm and comfortable for residents, in keeping with the atmosphere the organization tries to provide each day in its communities. Some examples could include: 

  • Dropping off “Life Stories” to residents’ suites in the days leading up to vaccine clinics, encouraging them to journal or share with others their experiences with newly introduced vaccines (influenza, polio, shingles) throughout their lives, how they showed bravery in facing uncertainty around those developments, and advice they would share with younger generations.
  • Visiting residents in their suites, prior to clinics, for 1:1, socially distanced “laughter yoga” to help calm the nerves and boost endorphins.
  • Diffusing lavender or other calming essential oils in areas designated for clinics, before residents arrive for their scheduled appointment.
  • Ensuring our “waiting rooms” have comfortable chairs, socially distanced in a semi-circle so residents can safely interact with others.
  • Playing soft, relaxing music during clinics.
  • Making available a cart with individually packaged snacks and comforting beverages such as cocoa, and an assortment of decaffeinated teas.
  • Providing a goodie bag with a small gift or snack, along with tips on what to expect following the vaccine, including the date when the resident’s second dose of vaccine will be given.
  • Supporting a reassuring period of observation, when residents are monitored for any concerning reactions. 

“The vaccine provides one more line of defense against the coronavirus. I share the hopefulness and excitement about the vaccination clinics,” said Dr. Susan Wehry, Chief of Geriatrics at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, and a Sunrise Senior Living advisor.  “I also recognize there is some understandable apprehension, especially given all the news coverage and social media hype. Senior living providers can make a great contribution by being transparent, providing accurate, trustworthy information from primary sources, and making the clinic experience a positive one. Given the impact this virus has had on older adults and their families, we want to make sure we remove any barriers to receiving the two required doses of the vaccine.” 

Sunrise will encourage all residents and team members to participate in the vaccine program, subject to and consistent with federal, state, and local public health laws and guidelines. A recent survey of Sunrise Senior Living residents and families, powered by Qualtrics, found that more than 92 percent of respondents would definitely or probably request the vaccine for themselves, or their loved ones.* More than 79 percent of Sunrise resident and family member survey respondents say they definitely plan to receive the vaccine themselves, or plan to get their loved ones vaccinated, while 80 percent want to receive the vaccine “as soon as it is available for them.” 

For more information on Sunrise’s COVID-19 response, including educational resources on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Sunrise Prepared. 

*Survey responses indicate interest in participating in an upcoming vaccine clinic and are not a commitment to receive the vaccine.

 About Sunrise Senior Living

Sunrise Senior Living, a McLean, VA.-based company employs approximately 32,000 people. As of December 10, 2020, Sunrise operated 336 communities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, including 21 Gracewell Healthcare communities, with a total unit capacity of approximately 29,500. Sunrise offers a full range of personalized senior living services, including independent living, assisted living, care for individuals with Alzheimer's and other forms of memory loss, as well as nursing and rehabilitative services. To learn more about Sunrise, please visit

Contact: Nicole Vasile

Corporate Communications


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