If I live to be 100 [book]

I’m real excited about this book.

The title is: “If I live to be 100: the wisdom of centenarians.” The book appears to have “wisdom” from 50+ people (in America) who have lived to be 100.

I think it will be inspirational.

Plus – Amazon did an excellent job at sending this book super fast.


Science of wisdom.

Existentialism is my personal favorite type of psychology. I often wonder is there a bigger purpose? IS there a greater meaning to life? Why am I here? What are we, humans, here? I don’t know these answers yet. My best guess is to learn all we can and love all we can.

Aging, death, dying, are things that often trigger my thoughts about these questions.

David Bowie and Carrie Fisher were two triggers for me.

My aging parents are triggers for me.

My own aging (a few wrinkles, more grey hair showing up), approaching 40-years in age) is a factor.

I found this neat article that older people are wiser.

They after all, have had more life experiences.

It may take them longer to think of the answer. The author of the article below attributes that to a computer with a lot of information.

A younger person might be fast in response. Quick.

I’m not sure fast is always the best answer.

McDonald’s is fast. They are quick. The line often moves. A few weeks ago I ordered a coffee and asked for ice in it. I like lukewarm coffee myself and two or three ice cubes does the trick. McDonalds gave ma coffee that was cold and completely filled up with ice. I didn’t realize it until I was on the interstate. I drank it. I enjoyed it (even though it wasn’t what I really wanted). I would have preferred what I really wanted. I’m not complaining about McDonalds. It goes with the business.

Think about an important task. The task could be writing a list of facts. You could probably do it and get it done. However, imagine if you took your time. Did your research. Checked for typo and got it submitted. Which do you think would be better?

Many years ago ketchup had a commercial of a bottle slowly dripping catchup. It is unique.

Quick isn’t always good. There is a little magical anticipation with waiting.

Here is the article I made a reference to:


Living at the end of life: the TR Twist


Photo credit: CanStockPhoto

I had the privilege to attend a training session titled:

“Living at the end of life: the TR twist.”

I only attended part 1 out of the 2 training sessions.

This session was provided at the ATRA annual conference in the Chicago-area on Tue. Sept. 13th by:

Barb Stuebing, CTRS/R; and Lisa Frazior, CTRS.


Who attended?

They asked people to raise hands at different times: do you work with geriatrics? Community? Behavioral health?

I [Danny Pettry] was the only one in the room who worked with pediatrics.

One of the reasons I did attend: I started out in college way back in the late 90s thinking I would be a rec therapist with seniors in a skilled nursing setting or a nursing home or community for seniors. However, my first job was with pediatrics in behavioral health and I’ve worked there for 14+  years. I wanted this session as a re-fresher for working with people on the other end of the age spectrum.


Danny Pettry comments:

  • the truth is: we all die. It isn’t something we often talk about in our society. However, it happens. It is part of the life cycle.
  • The speakers asked how many of us were comfortable talking about it?
  • I proudly felt: I can do this because I am a mental health counselor, too. We received some discussion cards. My two partners in my small group became tearful. Why is that so contagious? I didn’t have physical tears, but my heart was crying. We discussed people in our own family.  I hope my parents don’t read this blog entry – but to be honest, I told them I attend this session because I know my parents are getting elderly and I know they won’t live forever and I know most likely they will pass away before me (unless I’m in an accident – which is likely because I’m on the interstate driving a lot). But It was tough stuff.
  • I didn’t attend part 2 of this training (the after lunch part) for a few reasons: I attended the mindfulness training, which is something I teach at work to kids, but have not had official training in, and because I had plugged the mindfulness training during the one I presented, and because this was just an emotional session. They had tissues.

Here is a link for the cards I was telling you about:

http://codaalliance.org/ (the link has a lot of resources).

Here is a link directly to the cards I was talking about: http://codaalliance.org/go-wish/

The cards ask many things about death and dying. I want to get copy of them.


The speakers shared how sometimes a person would bring up a tough subject during recreation. They might be playing cards and feel distracted and feel open to share: I think I’m dying. I think it is my time.

The speakers wanted to know how many in the audience were capable and prepared to deal with that.


It is hard.

Danny Pettry experiences: I was completing a 60 hour practicum as a senior living facility. I was going several days a week. (this was probably early 2002 or early 2001). It was spring. One elderly guy was 100-years-old and active. His hobby was making wooden toys. He had a lot of them and they were very good quality: trucks, cards, boats, dolls. I was sitting beside him on the porch by the humming bird feeder that didn’t have any birds yet because it was too early in the season. I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. He said he wanted me to be there. His wife had passed. His only child had passed from old-age. His siblings had passed. He was alone, except for the wonderful staff and other people at the facility. I showed up on his birthday. He had passed the day before. I went through the stages: denial, anger, depression. It took me a while to accept it. And I had only known this guy for a few weeks. It is tough stuff. I admire the people who work with this population.


The presenters spoke that the goal is: provide the best quality of life right now. When people participate they are often able to process stuff. Danny Pettry: I thought this sounded a lot like mindfulness and being in the moment. Focusing on the future causes anxiety and worry.


The speakers presented about getting prepared:

  • having a health care power of attorney,
  • advance directive,
  • living will,
  • 5-wishes, and
  • polst.

DannyPettry: my father had told me many years ago that he had assigned my younger brother to that. He said because he lives closer and in town and could make a quick decision. I personally think my dad made that choice because he was afraid I wouldn’t say pull the plug like he wants. However, I think being more passionate, I’d be able to do so to stop the suffering (if that were to happen). I hope he goes peacefully in his sleep when it happens.


I didn’t attend part 2 (as I said above).

They played the David Bowie video on youtube (Changes) because they were talking about making changes in how care is provided. I felt a bit sad then too because I’m a David Bowie fan and he has passed away earlier this year. I’m not sure the speakers were aware of that. They may have been.

Below is a video Bowie released right before he passed away that I think is interesting. The presenters didn’t play the video below:

High Tech Activity Idea: Resident Blogging (Elder Bloggers)

Submitted by:  Kimberly Grandal, CTRS, ACC/EDU
More and more facilities are setting up computer labs or stations and teaching the elderly how to utilize computers and the internet. There are so many different ways in which activity and recreation professionals are utilizing these computers such as, computer games, emailing, webcams, digital photos, and mp3’s, watching videos, pen pal programs, on-line travel clubs, www scavenger hunts, and so much more!

Have you ever considered starting a Resident Blog? A blog is basically a type of website, which includes regular entries of discussion, happenings, thoughts, or other material. An individual person or group of people may maintain a blog. Blogs can also include pictures, videos, links, news, or any other relevant information.

Blogging is simply a great activity for the residents, providing empowerment, self expression, responsibility, purpose and an overall sense of well being. Family members and friends of residents can also benefit from the residents’ blog for they can subscribe and read about the facility happenings or resident news.

All you need to start a blogging group is a computer, internet access, interested residents and signed permission slips or consent forms. Residents who are blogging as part of this special group should give their written permission to have “their work” posted on the internet. It’s also important to remember that any resident photos, videos, birthdays and such should have written permission from each participating resident or legal guardian.  I also recommend you receive permission from the administrator or your supervisor.

There really are no right and wrong ways to maintain a blog, however, here are some basic tips and ideas to help you and your residents make the most out of the blogging experience.

Find a free blog host. There are many free blog hosting companies available to choose from. Common ones include:


www.mashable.com/2007/08/06/free-blog-hosts  lists over 40 + free blog hosts

Define the purpose of the blog and stay on topic. Is this a blog that discusses the activity events at your facility or is it about life in the facility? Perhaps it is a blog that discusses residents’ rights, legislation and advocacy for seniors or is one that focuses on past experiences. It’s really up to you and your residents, but choose some type of topic and stick to that. You may even choose to have different blogs, for example, maybe the men would like to have their own blog about sports, whereas the women discuss recipes and cooking tips.

Stay current. If the bloggers are reporting on industry news, events and such, be sure it is current information and that the facts are correct  The residents can surely voice their opinions regarding subject matter, but be sure that it clearly stated that the content of the blog is meant to be an editorial.

Title and dates. Be sure the information is current and that each entry is given a title. This will help readers find the information and attract attention.

Create visual interest. Don’t forget to add pictures and videos if available to create a more visual blog.  However, it’s imperative you receive written permission from each resident that is pictured on the blog.

Create a schedule or timeline. How often will your group meet to blog? Weekly, daily, monthly? Of course residents who are independent may choose to blog whenever the writing bug bites them!

Grammar and spelling. Although this isn’t a writing contest or school, grammar and spelling is important so be sure to check each posting.

Keep it simple. Remember that the most important part of the residents’ blog is for the residents to have fun, express themselves in a whole new way and create meaningful activity.

Recruit help from high school students. If you don’t have time to facilitate this type of group, then make it a project for the high school students. Using your intergenerational program for technology related projects and activities sparks interests from the students and takes some pressure off of the Activity department.

Advertise your blog. You want people to read the blog so let the family members, staff, corporate headquarters, the media, etc. know about your resident blog. This can also be a fantastic marketing tool!