The passing of Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. Holidays are often spent with loved ones gathering around delicious food and equally delicious conversation. While the time tested family recipes make delicious food a certain reality, conversion may be a more difficult task. Generations have changed so much and so fast now that it is very difficult to find common ground with those who are of a different time. Here are some tips to start meaningful conversations with your elderly loved ones during the holiday season and keep them going:
Start with Open Ended Questions
Avoid direct questions that demand a specific answer, it may be embarrassing if the person is unable to remember the answer.
Starting with an open-ended question helps the conversation go deeper and further, “the older brain is better at grasping the big picture and seeing life from a broader perspective” Ecaring.
With open-ended questions there is no “right” answer. Use the four W’s: Who, What, Where, When, and How as a guide for your questions. Example: What is one of your favorite places to go on vacation?
Highlight the Positive
A great way to start a conversation is to begin with mentioning something positive about the person. It can be about their outfit, their increase in energy, or strength. You can even take tip number one and ask them about this positive aspect.
Photo albums or videos can help spark memories and generate hours and hours of conversation.
Elders may live at a slower pace, they may take their time to respond and remember what they would like to say. They may also have difficulty hearing, so some repetition may be necessary. In any case, take your time getting to know your loved one and experiencing the stories just as they tell them.
These tips are a very simple way to get into some seriously insightful and enlightening conversations with the senior in your life. Those who are decades older provide a bridge to another time, and they connect us with memories that without them would long be forgotten.