The life-changing magic of ABBA-ing up

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

It's only January 12, and I'm already bitterly disappointed in myself. I had resolved to talk to you about making long-term care-related New Year's Resolutions by now, and I've failed. Miserably. Again. Oh well, there's always next year — and the next, presumably. Life is permanent and I'm immortal, right?

Those of you who are cursed with a photographic memory of everything I've ever written will recall my long-standing belief in the equal importance of New Year's Reservations. For instance, if you've firmly resolved to work out at the gym/human petri dish every day in 2017, you should make that pledge with the simultaneous and equally-formal awareness that you've never followed through on anything like that before, and it probably won't happen this time either.

In other words, a New Year's Resolution should never be made without the equally passionate embrace of a more reality-based New Year's Reservation. Full disclosure: I doubt you will ever see that particular theory or advice espoused in any motivational book, and I don't think I should be your life coach.

Even though I've decided not to make my usual naïve New Year's recommendations to veteran long-term care professionals, maybe a quick review of some important industry news from the profession's finest news source can offer guidance or inspiration at the start of this bouncing baby of a new year. Let's see …

Oh look, here's an interesting article about how the Germans might start paying for prostitutes for nursing home residents, and how the Netherlands kind of already does. I don't really know what to do with this information or how it's helpful or inspiring to any of us, but I've made an immediate Resolution to stop thinking about it — along with a Reservation that I probably won't be able to.

In the coming year, we definitely need interesting and innovative ideas that could transform our long-term care workforce, improve culture and solve the staffing shortage. Maybe some breaking news from Europe holds the answer. Oh wait, never mind. The six-hour work day initiative in Sweden just failed. That's okay, we can't be too mad at them, since they also gave us ABBA.   

Speaking of ABBA, perhaps this '70s-era super-group offers all the inspiration and illumination we need for what promises to be a tumultuous new year. Their mega-hit “SOS” is a clear call for help in a difficult transitional time for our profession. “Dancing Queen” is an unwelcome reminder of that proposed German nursing home policy we were just trying to forget. And “The Winner Takes It All” is obviously a song about narrowing hospital networks, and the critical role knowing your data will play in controlling your own destiny and actually surviving as a provider. Otherwise, you'll almost certainly be facing your “Waterloo.”

Perhaps most important of all, ABBA reminds us of the importance of sheer acceptance of all the events and factors we won't be able to control. Because really, Knowing Me, Knowing You, and knowing the way the government works, there is absolutely nothing we can do.

So what's going to happen in 2017? I Wonder. But Happy New Year regardless.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR

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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.