Conversation Starter Tips for Your Senior Loved Ones

Sometimes, visiting a senior relative may leave you at a loss over what to say and talk about after the weather is discussed. There’s a generation gap or two, so it may feel as though there’s not much you can chat about — but, in reality, there is! Here are some great conversation starters. Give them a try during the upcoming holiday celebrations and we bet you will be surprised at what you learn!

FIND SOME COMMON GROUND

senior-woman-talkingIs your relative’s favorite sports team — or athlete — in the playoffs? Do you both share a love of a certain TV show (Not sure? Now’s the perfect time to ask what’s the best show on these days!)? If you and your senior loved one share a hobby or passion, that’s the perfect opportunity for surefire conversation starters.

Certain things transcend age: Food, for instance. Everyone eats and someone has to be the one cooking that food! If you’re the cook in your family, and so is your grandma, you’ve found your common ground. Not only will you be able to chat freely now, but you may learn a thing or two.

Even if you aren’t sure if you have anything in common with your senior loved ones, try to find out. Think about the things you enjoy in your daily life and ask if anything piques the interest of your relative.

THE INFORMAL INTERVIEW

When all else fails, don’t _try_ so hard; show your genuine interest in the life your loved one has lived! One of the greatest things about having experienced so much life is the amount of stories to tell about years past — so ask away and just listen and learn about:

Their love story! Ask your senior loved ones how they met their spouse. These stories are absolutely priceless: Ask how they met, what their first date was, how they knew it was love and details of the marriage proposal. Even if you’ve heard a quick version of the story before, listen for more details this time. Not only will you learn a little about your loved ones, but you’ll also be providing them with the gift of being able to reminisce and share their wonderful stories with you.

Their first job.  Did your aunt work at the old Hudson’s department store in downtown Detroit? Did your dad sell newspapers on the corner for five cents each when he was just a boy? The journey that your loved ones made to building a living and growing a career makes for a great story and is likely to lead to more topics to talk about, including: How much their paychecks were compared to what a good living wage is today; what their first home cost and how much a gallon of gas was so many years ago.

Their school years. Before the invention of computers, school was very different. Ask your loved ones about school subjects like sewing. Auto shop. Geometry. Ask what was the best thing – and the worst thing — about going to school. This can lead into discussions about college, or about how education has changed throughout the years, or what inane things they were taught that were never actually used in real life (the square root of anything, perhaps?).

DAILY ACTIVITIES

At American House, we have plenty of activities for our residents to be involved in that they would love to talk about — so just ask them! Find out everything we offer here by calling us at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a visit.

5 Festive Halloween Door Decorating Ideas from Pinterest

If you’re looking to get into the Halloween spirit without (or in addition to) carving the ol’ jack-o-lantern, there are oodles of ideas out there on how to decorate your door. Scary? Funny? Crafty? Colorful? We’ve collected 5 Festive Halloween Door Decorating Ideas from Pinterest that will have your neighbors asking you for ideas next year!

And, there’s a door decorating idea for everyone — from the person who doesn’t have the time or energy to do much detailed decorating to the person who turns their home into an orange-and-black tribute:

Because You Don’t Want to be Left Out:

Photo credit:  pinterest.com

This Halloween door decoration idea is SIMPLE. As in, grab some scissors, construction paper and tape and you’re done — plus, it’s not time-intensive. If you’re not really sure how to decorate your door or you aren’t really a Halloween-y person, this is the one for you. Surprise all who come to your door by cutting out big googly eyes and a startled mouth to create a Ghost Face.

In the Spirit, but Not Too Crafty:

Pinterest Door MummySay you love the season leading up to Oct. 31 every year, but you’re not the type to accumulate glitter pumpkins or make intricate Halloween scenes. No worries — just take a roll or two of toilet paper and turn your front door into a Mummy.  Grab some black, white and purple (or yellow, or orange, or green) construction paper and make some really big eyes for your mummy.

Creative, Whimsical and Comical:

Pinterest Door WitchBetween miscellaneous items you already have and a quick trip to the dollar store (or Halloween costume shop), you can create an entertaining door decoration sure to bring smiles to your guests’ faces! Items needed: Witch hat; gloves; a black cape (or garbage bag), some colorful striped tights and a pair of black ballet flats or witchy boots. Arrange and adhere the items to your door and — presto! — it looks like the Wicked Witch crashed into your door! Don’t forget the broom.

Martha-Stewart-in-Training:

Pinterest Door BooIf you’re the crafty type, it’ll probably take you no time at all to create this darling “BOO” door hanging . The best part is, every person who makes this will create a completely different look. Head to your local craft store to pick out some wooden letters, and then use Mod Podge to stick some decorative scrapbook paper to the letters. Once you have turned the letters into your own style, tie them together and you have a cute Halloween door hanging to use for years to come.

Wreath Lovers Unite:

Pinterest Door WreathAre you a fan of holiday wreaths? Then this one is for you! Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.” — A wreath paying homage to Edgar Allan Poe speaks to the more intense side of Halloween. It’s classic, yet meaningful and stylish at the same time. And, it’s just the kind of thing you can create yourself with this detailed tutorial.

Halloween at American House

AH haunted house blog picAt American House Troy, residents and staff members are working together for the fourth year in a row to create a haunted house inside their community! Executive Director Debbie Smith said everyone is working on turning one apartment into a real haunted house for residents, their friends and family, and the public to enjoy. Stop by later this month and see what the collaborative effort cooked up!

We have plenty of fun activities at our American House communities that make us unique. Give us a call at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a tour today!