40 Years of Commitment to Our Mission and Principles

Sunrise Senior Living  |  January 13, 2022
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Over the past 40 years, Sunrise has grown, evolved, and innovated to become the iconic brand and industry leader you know today. We’ve achieved this thanks to the hard work of our incredible, passionate team who live our mission, and by collecting, listening to, and adapting based on customer feedback - meeting their personal needs is what we are all about. We encourage you to check out this 40 Years of Sunrise Milestone Video to see the Sunrise journey and celebrate just some of the ways we’ve innovated through the years. 

Even with all of the advances and industry-firsts we have driven in the past four decades, staying true to our foundational mission to champion quality of life for all seniors and staying grounded in our principles is key to continuing to provide a deeply personalized experience to each resident and helping ensure their journey with Sunrise is a wonderful one.

Unique, high-quality, resident-centered care has been a cornerstone of the Sunrise Senior Living brand since founders Paul Klaassen and Terry Klaassen opened the doors of the very first Sunrise in 1981.  “Opening our first community and actually living side-by-side with residents remains one of the most poignant and meaningful experiences of my life,” said Terry. “In getting to know and befriend each resident personally by engaging in conversation and activities, and sharing meals with them, we really got to understand their wants and needs. It is those personal connections that inspired us to write down and commit to a set of foundational principles and establish the mission to champion quality of life for all seniors, which has now guided the company for more than four decades.”

That commitment to the individual resident is something Sunrise remains passionate about still today and is brought to life across every community by our team of more than 22,000 serving hearts. We believe real happiness and joy come from serving others. We take pride in delivering high-quality care with a personal touch.  We are committed to being a team residents can rely on not just to meet their needs, but with whom they can build personal connections and help bring meaning and purpose to their days.

We continuously work to enhance the Sunrise experience based on feedback and by seeking new service offerings, technologies and resources that will ensure our high standards of quality shine through every part of the Sunrise lifestyle – from our programming and activities, to individualized care plans, and evidenced-based approach to support memory loss, to amenities, community design, top-notch dining, and so much more.

The Sunrise name itself is a reminder that each day provides a new opportunity to shine a light on the best in life, whatever the age or stage of our residents.  Today, we are pleased to have in place a strong team of leaders who embrace Sunrise’s foundational history, mission, and principles as they drive strategic growth for a bright future, furthering the brand to help bring Sunrise to even more seniors and their families.

“I whole-heartedly believe great brands develop and maintain their differentiation through first leaning into what already makes them a tremendous value to their customers, and that is certainly the case with Sunrise.,” said new Chief Marketing Officer Maria Davlantes. “Along with my fellow leaders and team members, I am so excited to help further develop the Sunrise story, seek opportunities to expand our impact, and help many more families experience the Sunrise difference.”

Terry Klaassen, too, is excited to see what the future holds for Sunrise. “It’s incredible to look back at where we began, setting out to help provide a comfortable home and personalized care to just a few families," said Terry. “Today, to see how Sunrise has pioneered a personalized approach to senior care across the industry and truly set the gold-standard in senior living warms my heart and fulfills me in ways I never could have imagined. I cannot thank the Sunrise team of serving hearts enough for continuing to bring our vision to life and reinforcing the Sunrise legacy now and into the future.”

Reflections from Jack & Paul - Our Mission

In honor of our 40th Anniversary, our co-founder, Paul Klaassen, recently sat down for a special fireside chat with our Chief Executive Officer, Jack Callison. They reflected on the strength of Sunrise’s mission and the countless lives that have been touched by our principles of service throughout the past 40 years.

Watch Paul and Jack reflect on how Sunrise has stayed true to our foundational roots of championing quality of life for all seniors.