Purple Reigns

According to the Pantone Color Institute, Ultra Violet is the color of the year 2018. In common terms, it’s a super bright purple. It just so happens that caregiver awareness and appreciation is represented by the color purple. The color also represents, Alzheimer’s Disease, Attention Deficit Disorder, ADHD, Animal Abuse, Cancer Survivors, Chiari Malformation, Crohn’s Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Domestic Violence, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, General Cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma or Hodgkin’s Disease, Children with Disabilities, Leimyosarcoma, Macular Degeneration, Mucolipidoses, Mucopolysaccharidosis, Pain, Pancreatitis, Sjogran’s Syndrome, Lupus, Pancreatic Cancer, Relay for Life, Rett Syndrome, Sarcoidosis, Seizure Disorders, Thyroid Cancer, Ulcerative Colitis and the beloved deceased musician Prince.

Wow! Who knew? The rich purple spectrum is clearly a popular awareness color, associated with a vast array of diseases and causes.

Growing up, my four siblings and I were never allowed to wear the royal hue. The story goes, it made our grandmother, “Ma”, nauseous. As such, it was not just frowned upon, but outright banned and outlawed in our house. I was well into my twenties (and Ma long gone) when I dared to wear a deep purple mock turtle neck under my chic Dress Barn power suit, shoulder pads and all. (Queue the Helen Ready soundtrack — I am woman hear me roar…)

I remember feeling trepidation at first and then a sense of daring and independence.

Never mind that I called my Mother that evening to confess the offense. We had the best laugh. Somehow, whether from the action or conversation afterward, the long standing stigma was lifted and dissipated as naturally as steam off a sidewalk after a summer sun-shower.

In hindsight, what once was an unspoken way of life seems bizarre.

With the #Me Too movement well underway, maybe someday the same rearview perspective of, “Why would anyone live that way? Why wouldn’t they speak up?” will be the norm. More to the point, the importance of women speaking up is just AS current and relevant for working family caregivers. The workplace can be a rough place for someone in a caregiving state of mind. There are feelings of isolation (i.e. No one understands what I’m going through) and a fair amount of masking (i.e. I’ll just put on a good face to get through the day) going on.

No matter the scenario, I’m grateful that women everywhere are beginning to feel safe enough to share traumatic workplace experiences with an expectation for understanding, inclusion and acceptance.

Hollywood celebrities have chosen black as the color to show solidarity and support of women finding their voice. Should I receive an invitation to a red carpet event in the next few months, I’ll be sure to dress accordingly. In the meantime, I’m happy to wear a pop of purple now and again, keeping in mind what the Pantone spokesperson shared about the celestial color, “Ultra violet, a blue based purple, takes our awareness and potential to a higher level.”

As for one of the reasons why purple was chosen, “We wanted to pick something that brings hope and is uplifting.” It seems a perfect sentiment to kick off the New Year and an even better way to describe family caregivers.

All my very best to hard working family caregivers and Happy New Year, (toot-toot!)



Sarabeth Persiani

Sarahbeth Persiani is the author of Run, Walk, Crawl- A Caregiver Caught Between Generations. For five years, Sarahbeth was the primary caregiver for her Father, who had dementia, while working full-time and taking care of her own family. As the founder of We Are Sharing the Sun, her focus these days is to help companies create a supportive culture for family caregivers and provide education, support and encouragement for working professionals who are themselves in the sandwich squeeze.