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Life Care Center of the Willows Celebrates St. Patrick's Day All Week Long


 Today was the biggest day of Lifecare Center of the Willows' St. Patrick’s Week. The dance would be the highlight of the afternoon. Previous days included arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, and more. The staff made sure each day this week was special for the residents, rather than celebrating the shamrockin’ holiday on only one day.

Activities Director of the Willows, Robyn Rutar, said she wanted to celebrate with a variety of different things that reminded the residents of the holiday. The Lifecare Center is an assisted living center in Valparaiso, which houses about 70 residents.

“Every year I try to come up with something new. This year, I thought it would be really fun to celebrate Scottish and Irish culture all week long.”

Each day this week had its own festivity for the staff, residents, and their families. There was a group rainbow painting, a clover hunt around the facility, and the ladies of the facility had their nails painted “leprechaun” style with green and gold nail polish. Rutar also brought in a speaker who talked about horse riding. She showed the residents her saddle which she brought in, and played a game of horseshoes with the group.

Thursday was the day of dance. Rutar invited a guest bagpipe player, who is also a Scottish and Irish dancer to come in to show off her talents.

Bridgette Cletcher is half Irish and half Scottish, and has been dancing and playing for about 28 years.

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“I have some friends in some senior living facilities, and so I like to entertain them, and share with them the Irish and the Scottish music. I try to give a diverse program when I perform. I like to share fun things about the Irish and the Scottish and the differences in the music.”

Cletcher performed the bagpipes, the Irish penny whistle, and the Irish drum for the residents. She also did Irish and Scottish dances, and even danced one song as she played the bags, two skills not many can accomplish at the same time, she informed.

Cletcher performs for churches, schools, assisted living homes, and at bars and restaurants throughout the week of St. Patrick’s.

On St. Patrick’s Day itself, Cletcher will perform two private performances, similar to the one at the Willows, and then she and her band will perform at a few bars in Hobart in at least seven different performances.

“I just love it,” Cletcher said. “I love getting the audience involved. I play “name that tune” on the bagpipes and then they [the audience] can guess what the songs are. I just have a lot of fun.”

For the residents, on St. Patrick’s Day, they will spend the lunch hour in a pub crawl. Rutar and the staff are sharing different drinking stations: Mickey Dee’s (Shamrock shakes), Green Rivers, O’Douls (non-alcoholic beer), and green ginger ale. They also enjoyed corned beef and cabbage for their meal.

“I really don’t think bingo should be the staple,” Rutar said. “I wanted to try new things, something out of the ordinary. They have been having fun this week.”

Life Care Center of the Willows
1000 Elizabeth Dr
Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) - 464 - 4858
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