For many people, the holiday season is one of the times in the year that we’re guaranteed to see family. Making conversation across generations can be challenging. Just as we may not know what to say to a teenager, we may not also know what to say to the seniors in our lives. What are some great ways to make true and deep connections as we have conversations with our elders?
The Formula for Great Conversation
Having a good conversation with anyone can be challenging. Here are some helpful guidelines to having really good conversation with anyone:
- Make the conversation about them
- Listen. Really listen. Don’t think about what you’ll say next. Just listen without judgment.
- Make eye contact
- Ask interesting open-ended questions (keeping them appropriate for the depth of relationship and respect for the individual)
Here is a truly terrific article on how to have better conversations than you ever thought possible.
General Conversation Starters
The toughest part is often starting the conversation. Usually, there are varying degrees to which we know the seniors with whom we might have conversations. In the case that you don’t know them very well, here are some great conversation starters:
Ask about their past
- Where were you born?
- What was it like to grow up during _________?
- What games did you used to play with your friends as children?
- How did you know your spouse was “the one”?
- How did you choose your children’s/pet’s names?
- What moment in history had a major impact on them? / Where were you when _________ happened?
- Who was your favorite president (if you’re comfortable talking politics)
- What was the hardest lesson you ever learned?
- Do you remember any crazy fashion trends from a certain time?
Ask about them personally
- What did you do for work?
- What are you the most proud of in your life?
- What was your favorite thing to do when you were a child?
- What do you hope people remember about you?
- What is/was your favorite method of entertainment (past or present)?
- What was your first pet? Or the pet you always wanted?
- What is your favorite season and why?
- Who is your personal hero and why?
- What was a moment that had the biggest impact on you personally?
- What do you think has been the biggest change in life since you were young?
- How did you meet your spouse?
- What’s your number one piece of life advice?
- What was your most embarrassing moment that you later found was funny? (Use this one carefully.)
- What is something you’re really good at?
- What is something you wish you had done or mastered when you were young?
- What’s your favorite joke?
- What do you think is the best age to be and why?
- If you had $1,000,000 what would you do?
- If you could do one thing differently in your life, what would it be?
In order to have truly meaningful conversations, remember to ask, listen, engage and share. The seniors in our lives have so much to share with us, if we only ask the right questions, listen with our hearts, refrain from judgment and share openly.
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Do you have questions about how you can better support your loved one while they age in place in South Florida or regarding homecare in general? Please contact CareGivers of America here: Contact or call us toll free: 800-342-4197
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