Staying Resilient in Times of Change

Posted by Annie Keough on August 12, 2021


The past year and a half has demanded resilience on many occasions along many fronts. We adapted to a new normal, gradually returned to some of our old ways, and now we’re left wondering what the future looks like. How do we keep bouncing back after going through so much in such a short time?

Resilience is a unique quality that allows us to overcome seemingly insurmountable circumstances. While different people show resilience in different ways, all expressions of resilience lead to becoming a stronger person.

For the senior living industry, these differences in resilience can vary between residents, caregivers, and the senior living organization itself.


Residents have no doubt exercised resilience throughout their lives. Those trying times, however, may have come with hidden benefits: the same characteristics that make someone resilient help them age more successfully.

A study published in Geriatric Nursing found that the key characteristics found in resilient people fall into three categories: physical, mental, and social. Older adults with these characteristics showed healthy coping mechanisms as well as higher levels of happiness, community involvement, physical mobility, and independence.

In Cornell University gerontologist Karl Pillemer’s book, 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, he shares stories and advice told by older adults who lived through major crises such as World War II and the Great Depression. Through their stories, Pillemer found four pieces of advice worth sharing:

  • Remember that this, too, shall pass

All hard times are temporary. Remember to look to the future and recognize that good times are coming.

  • Be generous

Helping others is a meaningful way of reminding yourself that you have control over something even in the most chaotic situations.

  • Be prepared; don’t worry

Worrying will get you nowhere; seek out things you can do to overcome your circumstance instead of focusing on the difficulty of the situation.

  • Enjoy the small things

During the most difficult times, focusing on the little things that make you happy is a simple yet effective way to distract from negative feelings. Finding anything that puts a smile on your face can mean all the difference.


Resilience is a defining attribute of senior living staff. Taking care of another person calls for constant unexpected change, the weight of which can build up and cause burnout in some employees. Developing healthy coping strategies can help change the way senior living staff react to stress and make it easier to bounce back.

  • Remember to take care of yourself as much as you take care of your residents
  • Having confidence in your decisions and skills makes you more likely to take action in difficult situations
  • In the event of a stressful or traumatic situation, try focusing your energy on breathing techniques to center yourself before continuing

Keeping a positive mindset and developing techniques for getting through difficult times is essential in maintaining a resilient attitude for senior living employees.


Senior living leadership may have the most unique experience in trying to stay resilient in times of change. Leadership guides many constituencies through changes: staff, residents, donors, community members, and more. With so many moving parts, unforeseen changes can be especially difficult to recover from. When managed correctly, though, each constituency thrives through the change and the entire organization benefits.

Communication is of the utmost importance during times of change. Without clear communication, communities fall into disarray, morale dwindles, and the entire organization suffers.

One way to conquer this challenge is by applying the aforementioned “this too shall pass” mindset; leadership teams must keep their staff focused on the present while also planning for the future. Help team members take things step-by-step to quell anxiety and remind them that better times lie ahead.


Wellzesta is dedicated to guiding your community through times of change by keeping you connected, engaged, and active. 

Wellzesta’s Life and Elevate software connect residents, staff, and administration in real-time to communicate any changes and allow for a quick recovery.

Life and Elevate also provide daily wellness content that allows residents and staff to focus on themselves and develop a positive attitude to aid in the development of a resilient mindset.

Click here to learn more about Wellzesta or connect with a member of our Sales team.