As adults approach retirement age, many find themselves starting to reflect on the meaning of life, the mark they’ve made, and the legacy they will leave behind. Part of aging well comes from being content with the way you’ve lived your life. For the family elders, it is often also important to make sure younger generations know and understand the family’s history and heritage.
In honor of National Senior Citizen’s Action Day on August 21st, we encourage you to take time to learn about and document your family’s unique story with your elders. We have a few ideas to help you get started.
Documenting Family History and Stories
Sharing stories and reminiscing provide families with great intergenerational opportunities for bonding. You can document those stories on paper or create a family video. Either way, you will have a record to share with generations to come.
For family elders, there is peace of mind that comes from knowing important events and milestones won’t be lost. You can use these questions to get the conversation started.
Questions to Capture the Family Elders’ Childhood Memories
- Where were you born in and what year?
- What was your childhood home like?
- How many siblings did you have?
- How did your parents meet?
- What do you remember about your grandparents?
- Where did your dad work?
- Did your mom work outside the home?
- Was your extended family a close part of your life?
- Did you have any pets growing up?
- How many siblings did you have?
- What school did you attend?
- How did you get to school? (This will likely generate some fun conversations about how far they walked and under what conditions!)
- Do you remember any of your teachers?
- Did you play any sports or join any clubs?
- Were you a well-behaved child or did you get in to a lot of trouble?
- Did you have chores you had to do around the house?
- If you completed your chores, were you given an allowance? If so, how much?
- What was your favorite holiday?
- How did you celebrate birthdays?
- What kind of car did your family have?
- Did you have a television? Was the picture black and white?
- Was your mother a good cook?
- What was your favorite meal?
- Did you take family vacations? If so, which one was your favorite?
Coming Of Age Questions
- How old were you when you went on your first date?
- Who was it with and where did you go?
- Who was your best friend growing up?
- How old were you when you started driving?
- Did you have your own car?
- How much did gas cost when you were in high school?
- What was your favorite television show?
- Who was your favorite singer or group?
- How did you meet your spouse?
- Did you have a big wedding?
- Where did you get married?
- Did you go to a trade school or college after high school?
- How old were you when your first child was born?
Other Legacy Supporting Questions to Ask an Elder
- What advice do you have for the younger generations of the family?
- Did anyone ever give you advice that made a difference in your life? If so, who was it and what did they say?
- Is there anything you wish you could change?
- How do you want to be remembered by friends and family?
Intergenerational Activities to Honor the Family Elders
If you are looking for intergenerational activities to celebrate the seniors in your life, we have some ideas. From creating a family video to cooking up a favorite recipe, here are a few suggestions you can use to enjoy time with several generations of loved ones.