Starting a conversation with elders is a challenging thing, especially when they have their predefined notions and conceptions about certain things. Many at times, we struggle to start a conversation with the older people. We begin with the wrong topic and end up in a clash of opinions. This is generally because of the generation gap and mindset that both age groups have. There are certain things that you need to take care of while talking with the elders, and let’s see how:
Do’s while talking with older adults
- Be friendly – when people get old, they gradually limit their circle and become introvert. Hence, they get excited when anyone comes to talk to them. Older adults appreciate it when you take the time to listen to their words and get to know them, even if their perception is different from that of yours. Engage in small talks, learn details about their lives and remember those details to ask them about it later. For them, it is the little things that matter at that age, and you must show your care and friendliness towards them.
- Mind your body language and tone – talking to an elderly adult is not like the casual conversation you have with your friends. Each word, tone, gestures and facial expression matters. Speak with a low toned voice that sounds friendly and supportive. You can adjust your communication style if it becomes clear that the person you are talking to is of the same vibe of yours. But never take this for granted as the case may vary most of the time.
- Feel free to ask doubts – the older adults feel so happy when you ask them about their work or life experiences and doubts regarding anything. They are so passionate about explaining things to you. Before you begin the conversation, ask them about how they want to be communicated with, which name should they be addressed and the tone of the discussion. This helps the speaker to adjust their thoughts, opinions and needs.
Don’ts while talking with seniors
- Don’t give unwanted advice – older people have seen life thrice than us and hence doesn’t require any advice from younger people like us. They have a good experience in taking care of the children, family and work. So for them, hearing advice from even a child can make them feel wrong. Instead, try to support their views and encourage them for their advice. A simple gesture of acceptance from our side can make them feel good and positive.
- Do not shout – never shout at your elder ones, even if it’s their mistake. This is because; as people age, their physical responses gradually slowdown, which can result in various changes in their health. Remember that they once patiently took care of you when you were at the crankiest and naughty age. Also, please do not use any in-descent or abusive language while conversing with them.
- Do not make them feel either ignored or over-treated – some people have a habit of ignoring the elder’s advice or just put in so much extra care that they don’t let them do anything. Realize that they once had the most fruitful experiences, from which you can tap into and learn. Hence include them in your family discussions and also do not let them feel that they are too weak and old to talk to.
Conversation Topics for healthy discussion with Seniors
It would be best if you had a healthy and engaging conversation with older adults. This can have a positive impact on both the speaker as well as the listener. Now that you are ready to start the conversation choosing the topic is the next task. As you cannot talk about all those very-deep conversations with them, the following topics can make the discussion go more engaging and livelier.
Ask about their past.
Senior adults mostly like to talk about their past. It helps them relive their wonderful good old days and moments they had when they were kids or at your age. Some older people will also share even their worst times which were challenging and how they overcame that situation. This can help you learn how to tackle the downfalls in your life.
- Ask them about their favourite movie or actor
- Ask them about their most adventurous childhood moment they had
- What kind of fun activities did they use to do to make life enjoyable?
Ask their opinion about the present world.
This is a topic that comes out naturally and inevitably from the seniors. They usually like to compare their experiences with the present generation and situations. They are also good observers while comparing the things they see now and how it was at their youth age.
- Ask them about their favourite dish
- Ask them what they like the most in this generation period
- Ask them about how technology has impacted their lives
Their future dreams and wishes
The elderly always loves to dream significant about their children and grandchildren in the next coming years. They keep in good hope and pray for the well-being of their children. So, it is ideal to ask them about where they see their children and grandchildren in the next ten years.
- Ask them about the best moments they would like to have with their grandchildren
- What kind of dream or wish do they have that yet, unfulfilled?
Every person be it a child or a grandparent will have their favourites – in terms of music, food, show, place etc. When asking about their favourite choices, they find it more relaxed to open up to the reason why they love that favourite thing in particular.
- Find out if there are any fun activities that they like to participate in
- You can also ask them about their favourite business and ask them if they are willing to learn more or update on the subject.
Discuss their life achievements
No matter how introvert the seniors turn out to be in their late age, they get super excited when asked about their life achievements. This includes:
- Ask them about their work achievements
- Ask them about their academic and sports achievements
- It is also a good thing to ask them about their happiest moments they had in their life.
The discussion topics for the elderly are plenty and cannot be confined to any lists. As long as the topics are pleasant, creative, fresh and healthy, the discussion with seniors is no longer a struggle and can go engaging.
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