On St. Patrick’s Day it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing/accessories – the wearing of the green. St. Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish as early as 1726.
Since, cultures around the world mark March 17th in sundry interesting ways. My home town, Toronto, Canada, is one of many cities worldwide that holds an annual parade (since at least 1863). Then there’s the tiny island of Montserrat. Known as the “Emerald Island of the Caribbean” because of its founding by Irish refugees from Saint Kitts and Nevis, they celebrate a national holiday, also to commemorate a failed slave uprising on March 17, 1768.
Fascinating historical facts…But what’s the tie-in to eldercare? Let me borrow from the aims of a group set up by the Republic of Ireland called the St. Patrick’s Festival.
Imaginative and Expressive Celebration
Their first goal is to make Ireland a superlative showcase for this annual festival. Taking apart this phrase, how often are your efforts by necessity “imaginative” when dealing with difficult elders? Too often to count, right? Brother! As to “expressive”, we’re not talking about all you WANT to say but clamp down on. If you could get across those unspoken (essential) messages, wouldn’t you experience great cause for “celebration”? You’ve got it!
Professionalism and Sophistication
This second goal is about internationally projecting an accurate image of Ireland as a creative, professional and sophisticated country. Even though it can feel like you’re at risk of losing all your “sophistication” when your parents have temper tantrums, does their behavior “have to” erase your professionalism? I hope your answer is an unequivocal “no”! Understandably, you may feel like having your own meltdown. I gently ask if your acting up will help.
Grassroots & Marketing Activity
With this third aim, the Irish government strives to create energy and excitement via grassroots involvement and marketing activity. As I complete my follow-up book, Coping with Un-cope-able Systems: ADVOCACY for Eldercare, I continue to see how severe is the demand for grassroots effort. Virtually every societal system I encountered supporting my father was woefully equipped to face climbing aging populations. Is that your experience, too?
How “Green” Can You Get on March 17th?
And, we don’t mean as a result of imbibing in one too many green-flavored beers! Though, I’m not averse to you celebrating in that fashion!
Bottom-line, you need to trot out your best performance when contending with recalcitrant elders. Your creativity needs to be sharp as a tack. Always, I recommend preparing for any interaction (phone or in-person) with professional aplomb. Plus, get set to do your best “marketing” yet when it comes to presenting them less-than-popular ideas or suggestions!
Bet you didn’t know eldercare shared these similarities with the St. Patrick’s Festival.
To provide encouragement until next time, here’s part of an old Irish blessing: “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.”
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