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48 Questions to Ask Elderly Grandparents

grandparents playing a game with grandchildren

Where can you learn new things? School, right? That’s a great answer; however, your kids can also learn outside of the classroom – and they won’t have to do any homework!

Next time they visit their grandparents, have them ask questions to learn about how they grew up and what they like and dislike. Those questions can be pretty much anything. We’ve given you 48 questions to get started. Make sure they grab a pen and paper (or record on their phone) so they can share the stories with you. Or go with them and add your own questions to the mix. You may learn something that surprises you!

Asking Life Questions to Grandparents

Asking grandparents about their lives and their loves should be a fun and rewarding task. People, generally, are quite pleased when someone shows an interest in who they are and what they do. Grandparents, however, may live far away from their family. Familial visits may be few and far between – meaning that children do not – and cannot – completely know their grandparents. When children question their grandparents about their own past, they can not only learn much about their family’s history, but they can help keep those important family stories alive. Once a grandfather or grandmother is gone, their stories can be gone as well – or at least become far more difficult to recover.

Discussing matters of importance can also benefit grandparents. If grandpa or grandma is showing the early signs of dementia, talking with them can help them retain memories (or even spark new memories) before they are completely forgotten. Getting involved with conversations also helps grandpa or grandma remain social. Science shows that socialization improves overall health and wellbeing.

As for when and where to hold these conversations? Schedule a convenient time and remember that grandpa or grandma may be more alert earlier in the day. If your child will personally meet with a grandparent, choose a private, comfortable, and distraction-free room. If the conversation is recorded, keep in mind that a room with high ceilings can cause echo. Similarly, an empty room (with limited furniture) can also negatively affect a recording. Whether it’s a portable tape recorder or a phone that is used to capture the conversation, place this device closer to a grandparent. Their voices may not be as strong as they once were, and their answers may be too faint to hear. Children could also supply a grandparent with a couple of pillows (for support, if needed) as well as a glass of water or juice (for a dry throat).

grandmother giving plant to granddaughter

What are the Best Questions to Ask Elderly Grandparents?

Here are 48 questions to ask grandparents. Ask these questions in any order you like. You can even download and print four sheets of paper and cut them into a deck of cards to shuffle and ask!

Download: 48 Questions for Elderly Grandparents Card Deck

  1. Could you show me where you born on a map?
  2. When were you born?
  3. How many brothers and/or sisters were in your family?
  4. What are your brother’s or sister’s full names?
  5. What are your parents’ full names?
  6. What were your parents’ careers?
  7. Did you have a nickname when you were young?
  8. Which do you like better – fruits or vegetables?
  9. What was your favorite gift you’ve ever received?
  10. What is your favorite color?
  11. What was your favorite school subject and why?
  12. What were you good at in school?
  13. Did you study for exams long before they happened? Or cram the night before?
  14. What were the most popular clothes in school?
  15. What were the most popular toys or gadgets?
  16. How did you meet your spouse?
  17. What did you do on your first date?
  18. How did you meet your best friend?
  19. What did you and your best friend love to do together?
  20. What is your favorite meal?
  21. What is your favorite dessert?
  22. Have you ever eaten your dessert before your meal?
  23. What type of music do you like the best?
  24. Did you play – or want to play – any specific musical instrument?
  25. What was the make, model, and color of the family car?
  26. Did your family go on many vacations together?
  27. Where did you spend your summers when you were a child?
  28. What was your best family vacation?
  29. Were you an obedient or misbehaving child?
  30. What kind of pet did you have and what was its name?
  31. What was your bedtime as a child?
  32. Did you ever break curfew or sneak out of the house?
  33. Did you receive an allowance?
  34. How much was your allowance?
  35. Did you save your allowance or spend it right away?
  36. When did you open your first bank account?
  37. What was your first job?
  38. What was your favorite Halloween costume?
  39. What sports did you like to play?
  40. What games did you like to play?
  41. Have you ever met someone famous? A celebrity?
  42. Who has made the most impact on your life and why?
  43. What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you?
  44. Where is the most interesting place you have been to?
  45. What is your biggest accomplishment in your life?
  46. What was your favorite television show as a child?
  47. Who is your favorite actor and actress?
  48. What was the first movie you saw in a theater?

What else do you want to know? Please add to this list, as you wish. And, most of all, have fun!

Download: 48 Questions for Elderly Grandparents Card Deck

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About The Author

As a former co-caregiver, Rick Lauber helped and supported his own aging parents. His mother had Parkinson's and Leukemia and his father had Alzheimer's. Rick learned that caregiving is challenging and used writing to personally cope.His stories became two books, Caregiver's Guide for Canadians and The Successful Caregiver's Guide.

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