From Inheritance to Legacy

A grandparent
        binding me back two generations
A grandchild
     linking me forward two generations
Five beloved generations!
    Arms and heart open wide as the world

Ellen Ryan

mindfulness techniques


Peggy Freydberg, passed away recently at 107, just after publishing her book:
Poems from the Pond: 107 Years of Words and Wisdom from Peggy Freydberg.

Her centenarian poems feature mindfulness as a path to coping with anxiety and loneliness of very old age.

This poem from her collection helps us all to pay attention to the tasks of daily living and to practice gratitude for life through engaging in them.

Chorus of Cells

Every morning,
even being very old,
(or perhaps because of it),
I like to make my bed.
In fact, the starting of each day
is the biggest thing I ever do.
I smooth away the dreams disclosed by tangled sheets,
I smack the dented pillow’s revelations to oblivion,
I finish with the pattern of the spread exactly centered.
The night is won.      >>MORE


Inez McClanahan, age 105  (Audio)

McClanahan lives in her own home in the Hamilton area —
tells her story here with Bernadette Rule, host of ArtWaves, an arts-interview radio program.

How to Age Gracefully (Video)

Creative look at lifespan aging through individual photos and messages from infancy to old age.

Writing for and about My Family

I am working slowly on a memoir in prose and poetry. Here are two examples:


Ryan15-Tograndmother’s house and Grandpa’s moon

In this poem, I try to communicate to family and others my joy of reading:



Ultimate Storytelling Guide

Storytelling Organizations, Institutes, and Events
Articles and Presentations About Storytelling
Storytelling in Action
More Great Storytelling Sites

Guide to Home Remodeling for Disability and Special Needs

Aging in place at home can require significant home remodeling. This detailed and resourceful guide emphasizes principles of universal design in presenting specific suggestions for accommodating for disability and other special needs, as for sensory and cognitive impairment.

1. Federal Resources for Veterans, Seniors, and Disabled Citizens
(US-based, but similar grants available in Canada)
2. Planning Your Remodeling Project
3. Creating Accessible Approaches, Landscapes, and Doorways
4. Disability Friendly Flooring
5. Electrical, Lighting, and Smart Home Technology
6. Handicap Accessible Bathrooms
7. Handicap Accessible Kitchens
8. Remodeling for Special Needs

Silicon Valley’s 91-year-old designer

Barbara Knickerbocker-Beskind, a 91 year old inventor, currently works at Silicon Valley’s IDEO, a design and innovation consulting firm. She makes use of her life experience as well as her training in Occupational Therapy to consult concerning products and technology for older adults.

Writing Exercise

Think of one grandchild, or someone you think of as like a grandchild.  Write about an experience in your youth from which you learned a life lesson, incorporating if possible one of your elders within the story.

Book Review

Letters to my grandchildren
David Suzuki; Greystone Books, 2015

Well-known as a Canadian science broadcaster and planet activist, David Suzuki is in his 80th year. His legacy letters to his grandchildren are made public to reach a wide intergenerational audience.

Interwoven with memories of five generations (backward to grandparents, forward to grandchildren), Suzuki articulates his values and lessons learned across his lifetime. He urges older adults to use his book to stimulate reflection on their own experiences, choices, priorities and motivations for passing on to younger family members.

Several features of the style for the book are useful for grandparents considering such a collection of essays. First, he presents an intriguing design for family tree to represent his two families, one with his first wife and then his second younger family with his second wife. Second, although most of the letters are to all five grandchildren, he speaks directly to specific grandchildren from time to time.


Click here to read more >>> Ryan15-Suzuki15-LettersGrandchildren.


With this shadow photo, I bid you adieu