Conversation with the Elderly

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Having a conversation with someone you don’t know very well can be stressful enough. But if that person’s an elderly person, it can be even more awkward. Today we’re gonna talk about some tips and topics that make conversation with the elderly easier and more engaging.

Welcome to the senior circle, where we hope to inspire and help others by providing valuable, relevant information related to caring for an elderly loved one. Hi, my name is Dawn Neely, and I’ll be your host. Thank you for joining us.

Having the opportunity to hold a conversation with a senior may not happen very regularly for some people. But when it does, it may or may not be a very comfortable thing to do. Some struggle with coming up with things to talk about, or have difficulty in general with talking with the elderly. Seniors don’t have many chances to talk and have conversations with others, so it really can be a wonderful opportunity to bless a senior with meaningful exchange, without struggling to figure out what to talk about, and how to talk to them.

When you find yourself fortunate enough to spend some time chatting with an older adult, there are some things that could be helpful, could make your conversation more meaningful, and bring comfort to you and the senior. Master these things, and you will keep your senior and yourself happily engaged in conversation.

  • You’ll want to give the senior your full attention, and allow for some time. Be patient, as your senior may take a little longer to organize their thoughts and express themselves.
  • Focus on a particular topic without jumping from topic to topic, as this can be confusing for them.
  • Use basic questions. Maybe even stick with less open-ended ones that will require too much sequencing for the senior, especially if they have Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • Remember that it may be difficult for them to hear you, so choose your setting wisely. Don’t try to talk in a very loud and busy environment.
  • Choosing a topic of interest to discuss really isn’t much different than when you’re chatting with someone in your own age group. Seniors may not have the same perspective as you, but it may be very enlightening to hear what they have to say. We can learn so much from others, especially those that have some living under their belt.

According to the Trending US online publication, there are some very good topics of interest that you can take up with a senior, and have a really meaningful conversation.

  • Ask them about their past. They love to reminisce, and share about their life and their childhood memories. Sometimes they’ll share about challenges that they have faced, and how they overcame them. It can be helpful to us when we’re facing challenges to remember these things. You never know what you can apply.
  • Ask them about their opinions on the present. Seniors love to compare things from their past to now. This could include foods that were traditional for their families, or ways that they and their siblings or loved ones kept themselves occupied. Ask them their views on current technology, and how they’re using it.
  • Bring up their likes. Find out from them if they have any favorite types of music, movie, or show. you may be surprised that there are certain things you have in common, and this can bring up some really interesting conversation.
  • Also, find out if there are any fun activities they like, or liked, to participate in. If it’s something you know about, go at length, and discuss it. You can also mention some activities that you might feel are of interest to them, and ask if they’d like to learn more about them.
  • Ask them about their accomplishments. Discussing their achievements makes them feel happy about their accomplishments. Ask them about what they’re proud of. It can be about the buildings they constructed, their achievements at the places they worked, or the trophies and metals they received as rewards in sports. It could be their families, their children, or even their pets. If they worked, ask them about their previous jobs, if the positions still exist, compare them to how they used to be handled. Ask them how their achievements shaped their lives, and what lessons they would like to pass to the current generation.
  • 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 did they use to make any extra income during their college days by doing some jobs or anything like that. 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 help to shape them. If they never went to college, you can ask what they did instead.
  • Discuss their families. Elderly people feel so happy to discuss their families. You can ask them about how many brothers, sisters, they had. Their names, where they are, and what they’re doing. Try to discuss what they remember about their family members as they were growing up. They’ll tell you a lot, even about their family members who’ve passed on. It gives them comfort, talking about their loved ones.
  • Ask them about their spouses. many seniors like to discuss their spouses, so this is also a really interesting topic. They’ll open up and tell you where they met, how they met, and how old they were when they met, how they got engaged, and got married. Ask them to compare their weddings, to modern weddings.
  • Talk about what they do to get rid of stress. Most elderly persons get stressed out about things, and they’d 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’s interesting to let them discuss with you how they cope in such situations, and even with the day to day life.

Discussion topics for the elderly are plenty. There are many great discussion topics that you can discuss with the elderly. You need to be creative, and talk to them about something that makes them feel happy. Enjoy the opportunity, and go with the flow. You’ll both be so glad you did.

If you have any questions and would like to chat with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Seniors Helping Seniors at 248-969-4000.

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