Resilience Tips: Post-Traumatic Growth

Featuring Dr. Alyson VanAhn from Associated Clinic of Psychology

Undoubtedly, everyone has been impacted by COVID-19. For those of us in senior care facilities, the likelihood that we've experienced trauma is high—the pandemic provided "collective" traumatic experiences.

While you aren't likely to get PTSD (but it's very treatable if you do), you're likely to have after-effects and see them in your colleagues and staff members. Staff turnover, burnout, illness and inconsistencies have been rampant. This makes it challenging to manage your own post-COVID strain and help your staff do the same.

We have been in survival mode and now have to face all that happened, meanwhile keeping up with all the responsibilities of leadership roles from day to day. The good news is, HOW we face post-traumatic times can affect getting through them well. People can even thrive in response to traumatic experiences. We want you to know how, for yourselves and your teams.

Here are a few ways you can promote post-traumatic support and growth:

  • Ask yourself and your teams about the ways in which you have learned new skills, developed and showed new talents during this time, or accomplished things you did not know you could achieve? Call these out; celebrate these.
  • What relationships have become closer and more trusting during COVID? Have teams become more cohesive? Highlight these deliberately.
  • How have you managed losses (death, turnover, changes) and honored these while also welcoming new people (residents, staff) that have enhanced the environment?
  • Are there any processes you will keep, old ways you will NOT go back to due to your experience during COVID? These are positive changes that can be celebrated as well.

During these times, you may feel exhausted and overwhelmed, despite some positive news about COVID’s reduced impact in our facilities. For more information about stress relief during COVID-19, go to

You can arrange virtual staff support groups at no charge through LeadingAge Minnesota Foundation's COVID-19 Staff Coping & Support Line project. Contact Terri Foley at or 651-815-8137.

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