Sunrise Senior Living Becomes an Authorized Validation Organization to Greatly Enhance Memory Care for More Than 10,000 Residents

New Training Will Significantly Expand Validation Method Expertise in the United States

May 06, 2010, 18:30 ET from Sunrise Senior Living

MCLEAN, Va., May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunrise Senior Living (NYSE: SRZ) announced today that it has become an Authorized Validation Organization with the Validation Training Institute, a not-for-profit organization offering training and certification in the Validation Method used to care for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.  Over the next few months, Sunrise professional caregivers will begin certification training in the Validation Method to be used in the Company's more than 360 communities.  Sunrise's recognition as a training center will greatly expand the number of trained caregivers using the Validation Method in the United States.

"Sunrise's long-standing commitment to excellent memory care and highly trained staff is unparalleled," said Mark Ordan, chief executive officer for Sunrise.  "This opportunity to certify Sunrise team members sets a new standard for care in assisted living communities that deliver the dignity and respect deserved by seniors and their loved ones."

The Validation Method is a globally acclaimed protocol for care developed by Naomi Feil, M.S., A.C.S.W., who wrote her seminal book, Validation: The Feil Method in 1982.  Her breakthroughs in dementia care take a holistic approach and are rooted in the understanding that unusual behaviors expressed by dementia sufferers are often due to a combination of cognitive, physical, and social losses, and represent an attempt to express unresolved feelings and emotions.  Caregivers can deliver more ease, pleasure and dignity to those with dementia by using empathy to validate these individuals' desire to communicate.

"Sunrise Senior Living's new certification is a major milestone for the Validation Method in America," said Ms. Feil.  "Their leadership will have an enormous positive impact on the quality of care for seniors with memory loss and on the quality of training for care providers."

Sunrise has long used techniques from the Validation Method to train team members and benefit its residents.  This new opportunity for certification, however, will deepen its professional caregivers' understanding of the Validation Method and enhance their ability to care for residents as well as educate and support their family members.  

Sunrise's flagship memory care program, called Reminiscence, provides a safe and stimulating environment for individuals to enjoy esteem-building activities.  In recent years, the company has added Terrace Club, designed for residents with early stages of dementia, and Edna's Place, for residents in advanced stage of dementia.

"It is thrilling to be able to work more closely with Naomi Feil, whose groundbreaking work has taught us all that listening with empathy to those with dementia can reveal so much about our shared humanity," said Rita Altman, national director of Memory Care Services for Sunrise.

"Much of the frustration and anxiety of trying to care for those with dementia can be eliminated once caregivers understand how to reestablish the lines of communication," said Altman, who is one of only four Validation Masters in the world.  "The Validation Method is also in keeping with Sunrise's principles of service – encouraging independence, enabling freedom of choice, preserving dignity, celebrating individuality, nurturing the spirit and involving family and friends – and will enhance what has already been established at Sunrise allowing us to truly improve the quality of life for our residents."

In 2009, Sunrise created a new position in each community called a "Life Enrichment Manager." The sole responsibility of these trained professionals is to work with memory care residents and their families to create activities that enrich residents' lives and keep their cognitive functions active.

"Our singular focus is on providing the services that best meet the needs of our residents – a focus that requires continual self-assessment, innovation and training," said Altman.

About Sunrise Senior Living

Sunrise Senior Living, a McLean, Va.-based company, employs approximately 40,000 people.  As of March 31, 2010, Sunrise operated 365 communities in the United States, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, with a combined unit capacity of approximately 36,600 units.  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.  Sunrise's senior living services are delivered by staff trained to encourage the independence, preserve the dignity, enable freedom of choice and protect the privacy of residents.  To learn more about Sunrise, please visit


Sara Krueger

Corporate Communications

(703) 744-1829

SOURCE Sunrise Senior Living