What are some good questions to ask elderly people?

0 votes
in Relationship Advice by
I'm meeting with an elderly person today at a retirement home to ask her some questions about her childhood for a school project.  She seemed kind of reserved on the phone and I was wondering what I should ask to keep the conversation going.

8 Answers

0 votes
by
Ask her what life was like for her as a child (a general question).  Depending on where she grew up, you can find out a lot about what city life was like then or country life. This type of discussion will help you think of many other questions to ask about city, town, or country life.

Ask her what her parents did for a living.  

What is her favorite memory from childhood?   

What were some games she and her siblings and/or friends played?

What were considered luxuries then?

What was school like?   

What did her parents teach her to treasure most? (For instance, when my mother was little, books were important because they didn't have the money to buy them so when someone gave them a book, it was a tremendous thing.)  

Ask her about food -- what food did she like best?  What was something her mother or father made for them that was a family favorite?  This can open up a lot of discussion over types of food as well as costs and what was available when she was a child.

Depending on her age, ask her what effect, if any, WWI or WWII (or both) had on her family.  Ask if it made a difference in everyday life for her as a child or if they were kind of cushioned from it.

You'll get ideas for more questions once you two start talking --- I'm sure it'll go much smoother than you think.  And believe me, you will get much more out of this than you think also -- you're doing a nice thing going to talk to this person, but you're also doing yourself a great service -- you're going to be listening to "living" history....it's a wonderful thing.  Enjoy it.

Good luck with your report!
0 votes
by
Make a list of questions to help you with this interview. Start with asking her about school or where she was born. Ask her to state a memory that is happy for her. Find out if she ever got married and if she has any children. You might want to find out what her hobbies or interests are. I think you'll find that elderly people are just like every other human being. We like people to pay attention to us and honestly care about us. If you go into this interview with a positive outlook-you'll do better. For goodness sakes, don't treat her like she suddenly got stupid because she's a certain age. The last thing we elderly don't like-it's being treated like we suddenly became dumb. Would you like to be treated that way?
0 votes
by
I realize that this is being done for a school project but I sincerely hope you will find enjoyment in this upcoming visit. You were given some great ideas. Be patient though, you might trigger a process of deep reminiscing before she or he gets his thoughts in order. It would be great if more people could spare just a few minutes of their time visiting. You might be surprised at some really great stories. Good luck.
0 votes
by
Ask her to tell you if you get too personal with any of your questions.  Ask her to tell you if she gets too tired before you finish asking questions.  Ask her what she remembers about her grandparents and her Uncles and Aunts and her Great-Uncles and Great-Aunts and her own Uncles and Aunts.  Ask her to tell you about the Christmas Holidays and Thanksgiving and Easter when she was small and at home. Go back to visit with her in the future as she may really enjoy telling someone about her childhood.
0 votes
by
-how did you and your husband meet (if she married)

-what are some funny things that you and your brothers and/or sisters did as kids?

- Did you have your own pet growing up?

 -What was it like walking to school?

-What were the fashions like when you were in HS

 -Did you follow the fashion trends back then?

 -What was your first car?

-What is one thing you have wanted to do ever since you were a little kid?

 -Do you have any favorite books?

-What kind of music did you like growing up?

 -What kind of house did you grow up in?

- What do you think of the kid's clothes and music today?
0 votes
by
Ask her what she wants to talk about first. Remember she is an adult. Also, not everyone has children and family to talk about. Talk a little about yourself. Do you have permission for the visit? Check for legalities..
0 votes
by
who was president when she was a child?

does she have any relatives that served in World War II or Korean War?

What did she do for fun?

Where did her family go for vacations?

What were her favorite movies, actors, songs when she was a child?
0 votes
by
Ask about her family, her grandkids, what she did? If she worked outside of the home, About the same thing you would ask anyone else, they are not aliens, they are just people who got older as we all do.
...