The Senior Living Industry Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sunrise Senior Living  |  May 12, 2020
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The uncertain times we are living in during the COVID-19 pandemic can make day-to-day life stressful and challenging for all of us. If an older loved one resides in a senior living community, you may find yourself worrying about their safety.

While the struggle has left many of us feeling unsure about what the future holds, it’s important to focus on what we can do each day to help remain safe and healthy. The senior living industry has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by taking steps to protect residents and team members, including escalating infection control protocols, limiting visitors, and reinforcing social distancing practices.

Safety First at Sunrise Senior Living

At Sunrise, we are committed to being candid and transparent about our everyday operations and infection protocols. Our leadership team regularly consults with experts inside the industry and in the greater health community at large. Sunrise CEO Chris Winkle, along with other industry leaders, issues frequent updates to inform residents, families, team members, and the public about the steps we are taking to guard against the novel coronavirus in our communities.

As researchers learn and share more about COVID-19, we quickly create new policies and practices that turn this knowledge into action. It’s a proactive approach that has created an environment of trust in Sunrise communities across the country.

Our residents and their families have shared how reassured they feel by the Sunrise response to COVID-19:

  • A resident at The Fairfax (Fort Belvoir, VA) shared: “It has been amazing for the normalcy here in spite of the pandemic situation. Our leaders (department heads) are all hands-on and doing a great job keeping us safe, calm, and worry-free.
  • A family member of a resident at Sunrise of McCandless (Pittsburgh, PA) emphasized: “Having Mom at Sunrise Senior Living is probably one of the best choices that we could have made. With the COVID- 19 situation that we are currently living under, we feel that Sunrise is the best place that Mom could be living.”

Maintaining Safer Communities

Senior living communities around the country and world are taking unprecedented steps to protect residents and team members. Here are a few of the many ways that Sunrise communities, specifically, have been guarding against COVID-19.

  • Carefully following the latest COVID-19 guidance from health and government agencies
  • Restricting entry and limiting visitors to only those fulfilling essential services
  • Requiring daily monitoring of residents, team members, and essential visitors for temperature and symptoms
  • Cleaning and disinfecting communities—including common areas, resident suites and frequently touched items and surfaces—on a regular basis
  • Delivering meals to residents’ suites instead of eating in communal settings
  • Shifting life enrichment programs from group settings to one-on-one activities inside resident suites
  • Requiring team members to wear masks while in communities and carefully following appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) wear guidelines and protocol
  • Helping residents and families connect and engage through virtual platforms like FaceTime and Skype
  • Encouraging residents to use telehealth programs to visit their physicians online instead of in person, where appropriate

These protective steps and others are being undertaken by the courageous, compassionate team members who care for residents at Sunrise and other senior living communities. From housekeepers and maintenance coordinators to care managers and nurses, senior living team members put the welfare of residents first every time they show up to work.

It is thanks to these heroic team members that senior living residents can enjoy engaging, comfortable days in a home-like environment, even during this historically challenging time. At Sunrise, our Heroes Wear Orange.

Visit our Heroes Wear Orange page to see more stories and information about Sunrise team members, messages from Sunrise leaders, and ways that you can support the Sunrise team. For information about Sunrise’s response to COVID-19, visit our COVID-19: We Are Prepared page.

Support Senior Living Communities

In order for communities to continue keeping residents and team members safe, it is important to have timely access to COVID-19 testing, PPE, and other essential resources. In the United States, the best way to support senior living is to contact your federal legislators and urge them to prioritize senior living in the funding they are providing during this pandemic.

Click here to view a letter that you can easily send to your U.S. Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen with just a few clicks. Please also send the link to friends and family you know who have loved ones residing in senior living communities. Every voice helps make a difference! Thank you for your support as Sunrise and other senior living providers strive to bring healthy and happy days to our nation’s seniors.