‘It is a relief’: Shelton senior living facility receives first COVID vaccines

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — Residents and staff at Benchmark Senior Living at Split Rock had a reason to celebrate Wednesday.

Benchmark Senior Living at Split Rock, in partnership with CVS Health, hosted its first COVID-19 vaccination clinic. In all, 80 residents and 36 staffers received the first of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The second dose will be administered on Feb. 3.

“It is a relief, for the residents, for the staff and for myself,” said David Fife, executive director at Benchmark Senior Living at Split Rock. “It was truly moving to see the relief, the excitement on peoples’ faces. It was emotional.”

Fife, trained in biomedical science, said he remembered when the pandemic broke, he said he remembered telling his wife at the time “the only way out of this … is a vaccine.”

He said they spent some two weeks educating residents and staff about the vaccine, but no one was forced to receive the shot. Fife said even though most living or working on site have received the first dose of the vaccine, staff will continue to use the “highest level of PPE” when dealing with residents.

The celebration was also used as a kickoff for the facility’s 2021 wellness initiative.

Fife said the facility’s program will offer different challenges — from weight loss and fitness goals to getting steps in everyday — to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Benchmark Senior Living at Split Rock, located at 708 Bridgeport Ave., has 88 residents and 95 staff. The facility offers assisted living as well as a memory care facility.