Talking to seniors can be a challenge if you are not sure which discussion topics would make them feel uncomfortable. Once you pick a topic and set the conservation rolling, you need to be careful throughout the conversion process. Don’t be tempted to give them unwanted inappropriate information.
The elderly have experience taking care of children and, so, being advised by a child, or an adult child will make them feel belittled. Instead, you can try to support them without giving advice. Also, remember to use your usual vocabulary without trying to simplify it.
Doing that may make them feel that you are treating them like children.
How to Talk to Elderly People
Before you pick a topic, it is good to master the art of communication with the seniors. There are a few things you need to remember so you can keep them happily engaged throughout the conversation.
Give them your full attention and be patient with them in case they can’t speak at a faster pace. Do not interrupt them because they like to speak freely and from their hearts. And in the course of the conversation, avoid jumping from one topic to another as this might get them confused.
Focus on one topic and discuss it exhaustively before you jump to any other discussion topics. Also, try to avoid open-ended queries, especially if the elderly person is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Another thing to remember is to choose the right environment for your discussion. It shouldn’t be in a noisy place with competing sounds of TV or radio. Lastly, remember to accept differences in opinion and learn to compromise whenever a decision has to be made.
The Discussion Topics for Seniors
You are now ready to start a discussion and the next step is to choose a topic. The senior conversation starters are not very different from those you use with your age-mates/age group. However, you need to remember that conversation topics change as people age and become interested in new things. Discover nine of the best discussions topics for seniors here.
1. Ask About Their Past
The elderly like to talk much about their past. It helps them relive the wonderful moments they had as children or youths. Some will also discuss the challenges they had and how they overcame them. This can also help you to learn.
Ask them about their favourite childhood memories, what kind of fun activities they use to do to make life interesting and the lessons they learned from such activities or from their childhood in general.
2. Ask for Their Views on the Present
This is a topic that comes out naturally from the elderly. They usually like to compare what they observe now with how things used to be in the past. Here you can discuss the foods they liked to eat as they were growing up and whether such foods are still available. You should take their advice about how to start a healthy lifestyle.
You can also bring in the issue of technology and ask them whether they feel it has some positive effects on society.
3. Look Toward the Future
The elderly have been around for many years and have witnessed so many things. as you get older mobility in the house becomes hard and you can ask them what they think about their children or grandchildren in the next 10 years, or even how they think the world will be in the next 10 years. You can also ask them how they would like to be remembered.
4. Ask About Their Favorite Things
Find out from them if they have any favourite type of music, movie, or show. You may be surprised that there are certain things you have in common and this can bring a very interesting conversation.
Also, find out if there are any fun activities they like to participate in. If it is something you know about, go at length and discuss it. You can also mention some activities that you feel might be of interest to them and ask if they are willing to learn more about them.
5. Discuss Their Life Achievements
Discussing their achievement makes them feel happy about their accomplishments. Ask them about what they are proud of. It can be about the buildings they constructed, their achievements at the places where they worked, or the trophies and medals they received as rewards in sports.
Ask them how these achievements shaped their lives and what lessons they would like to pass to the current generation.
6. Discuss the Colleges They Went to
Some elderly people are very proud of their academic achievements and this can be a great topic for them. They also like to discuss their college life. So, ask them whether they went to any college, what they studied, and do they used to make any extra income during their college days by doing some job or anything else and also ask their opinions about those colleges today.
They will tell you about how the college life was during their time, their academic achievements, and how these helped to shape them. If they never went to any college, you can ask about what they did instead.
7. Discuss Their Families
Elderly persons feel so happy to discuss their families. You can ask them about how many brothers/sisters they have, their names, where they are, and what they are doing.
Try to discuss what they remember about their family members as they were growing up. They will tell you a lot, even about their family members who have passed on.
8. Discuss Their Spouses
Many seniors like to discuss their spouses, so this is also a very interesting topic. They will open up and tell you where they met, how they met, and how old they were when they met, got engaged, and got married. Ask them to compare their weddings to modern weddings.
9. Talk About What They Do to Get Rid of Stress
Most elderly persons get stressed up and they would be willing to discuss this. Some may also be feeling lonely, especially when their children are grown-ups and no longer live with them. It is interesting to let them discuss with you how they cope in such situations and even with the day to day life.
List of Discussion Topics for Seniors
We often keep ourselves so busy in life that we forget to have healthy discussions with our elders at home. If you always get a chance to talk to them at the dinner table or on the weekends, then here are some interesting topics to initiate a meaningful talk in your free time. Try these lists of questions to make your conversation with elders more interesting and thoughtful, as well.
- What is something from the current lifestyle, that surprises you the most?
- Which book do you recommend to the new generation?
- Which actor/actress is your favorite from the present era? And, why?
- What are your thoughts about the current pop songs?
- At which age did you experience love for the first time?
- Share something that completely changed your perspective towards life.
- What is something that is missing in modern life?
- What is the biggest lesson you learned from your teenage years?
- What advice do you want to give every modern parent?
- What is something that makes you believe that the ‘Old is Gold’?
- Share your experience of witnessing technological development and lifestyle changes.
- What did you want to become in life?
- We have Netflix. What was your plan on weekends, during those days?
- What is something that you want to see from the past?
Questions to ask your grandparents
By asking interesting questions to grandparents, children not only get insight into their family history but this way they also give elders a chance to relive those moments again. This is an opportunity to dive into the past life and rewind the great memories they lived fully. A conversation with elders does not necessarily have to be limited to bedtime stories or political discussions, there is something more than that even modern parents need to learn from grandparents. And this list of questions brings such valuable pieces of advice for the young generation, to live a healthy and happy life.
- Where was your birthplace?
- What was your nickname that your friends often call you with?
- What was your position at the first job?
- What did you do with your first income?
- Which language did you wish to learn but never get a chance to?
- Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a kid?
- Which pet you want to have and why?
- How good you were in math during your school days?
- Which games did you play with your friends?
- What was your experience of having a television for the first time?
- What is the top career advice you have for the present working age?
- What was your experience working in the factory?
- Who were your best friends and what’s special about them?
- Share the scariest memories from your childhood.
- What country do you wish to travel to at least once?
Discussion Topics for the Elderly Are Plenty
There are many great discussions topics you can discuss with the elderly. You need to be creative and talk to them about something that makes them feel happy. Remember never to shout at them in case they never heard you well the first time you spoke. Some people can miss a few words although they can hear just fine.
Pick good discussion topics, be smart and you will find elderly people to be very friendly and nice to converse with. If you want to learn more about family and social life issues, keep browsing our blog.