By Jack Cumming

In early September, the Southern Region of LeadingAge California offered a spiritually moving Zoom program on caregiver burnout. It was led by Simon Fox, who is the Executive Director of Adventures in Caring, an organization devoted to helping nurturers cope with stress and burnout. COVID-19 makes this more relevant today than at any time previously. We are all close to burnout in the stress of what seems like an endless pandemic.

Simon Fox’s wife, who is prominent in her own right, has struggled with an insidious ailment for many years. Her struggle calls on Mr. Fox to act as her very loving husband and caregiver, often at the expense of his own emotional needs. If this sounds like the plight that many face in senior living, it’s because it is. We are moved by the stories and struggles of those for whom we care. We want to be perfect nurturers in response.

Emotional Challenges Require Emotional Solutions

Perfection takes a toll though, so it’s not surprising that burnout is a common challenge. Mr. Fox’s approach is unique. He recognizes that the challenge is emotional and that the response has to speak to the emotions of those who are hurting.

His recent talk to the small group of LeadingAge providers gathered to hear him on Zoom brought tears to my eyes. It was that moving. Mr. Fox and his team have developed a program that they can bring to senior living providers to help diminish burnout in their communities. It can help staff to remain productive. It will pay for itself in improved resident outcomes and more productive staff.

The program is called “Oxygen for Caregivers” and you can get a sense of it in the short video which you can experience for yourself by clicking here. Mr. Fox’s website is at Adventures in Caring.