I find this a moving anecdote from ‘Learned Helplessness’ by C. Peterson, S.F. Maier & M.E.P. :
On its two floors, the Arden House Nursing Home had about 100 patients in residence. Their average age was eighty. Two psychologists, Judy Rodin and Ellen Langer, decided to introduce some additional good things to this particular nursing home: movies and decorative plants.
At a meeting on the first floor, the director told the patients:
I was surprised to learn that many of you don’t realise the influence you have over your lives here. It’s your life and you can make of it whatever you want. You made the decisions before you came here, and you should be making them now. I want to take this opportunity to give each of you a present from Arden House. [Plants are passed around, and each patient chooses one.] The plants are yours to keep and take care of as you like. One last thing, I wanted to tell you that we’re showing a movie two nights next week, Thursday and Friday. You should decide which night you’d like to go.