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
Is 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?).
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.