As we age, there can oftentimes be a disconnect between the generations. At times, it feels more challenging to truly connect with or relate to your aging loved one. This can be brought on by a number of factors that have nothing to do with your relationship and everything to do with their physical health. Factors such as deteriorating cognitive function, communication problems, hearing problems, and communication difficulties may shorten their attention span and make conversing a little more challenging.

There are a few ways you can sharpen your speaking and listening abilities which will help you have more meaningful conversations moving forward.

Here are some simple questions or statements that can help start a conversation with your senior loved one or someone you are caring for:

Talk about their childhood

Talking about someone’s childhood can oftentimes bring about feelings of ease and comfort. Even better, if the right questions are posed, you might even learn something new and develop a deeper understanding of the person you’re speaking with. Some example questions include:

  • What did your bedroom look like when you were a kid?
  • Describe your best friend from childhood.
  • What was the best dish your mother ever cooked and that you adored?
  • Where did you like to meet up with friends in the city?
  • Which academic subject was your favorite, and why?

Discuss the present

When starting a conversation, you don’t have to limit yourself to questions that elicit memories. You can also get an idea of how they are feeling emotionally and physically based on their responses to your questions. Example questions include:

  • How do you feel right now?
  • What has your week’s high point been so far?
  • Do you have any concerns at the moment?
  • What can I do to assist you this week?

Ask about major life events

By asking them to talk more about their memories, you can learn how they remember them. Reminiscing helps the elderly. Research shows as seniors recall their past new pathways are formed in the brain to help with communication. Questions to ask include:

  • Describe your wedding attire (or the attire of your wife).
  • What was your proposal like?
  • Who was your first date with?
  • Did you attend senior prom?
  • What was the first day of school like?
  • What do you remember about your grandparents?
  • If you could go back to being any age, what age would you choose?

Gather their wisdom

Most people want to pass on their wisdom and leave a lasting impression. Use this strategy to come up with a few topics for conversations that will encourage them to share what they have discovered. Ask questions like:

  • What was the best piece of advice you ever got?
  • How should you handle a disagreement with your spouse?
  • What actions should you take in a challenging work situation?
  • What was the toughest lesson you ever had to learn?
  • What is the most rewarding thing about getting older?

Ask for their recommendations

Give the elderly a little more ownership of a situation by asking them for advice regarding a current or impending situation. Examples of questions you can ask include:

  • Which method of weaning a baby is best?
  • Where should we go on our upcoming family vacation?
  • What is the key to making a marriage last?

Almost anything can be the basis of a great conservation with a senior. Remember to ask open-ended questions, rather than just questions that’ll prompt a “yes” or “no” answer.

For more information about our nursing communities and the services we provide, please visit our website or contact Nightingale Healthcare directly at 360-656-6609.