12 Conversation Topics that will Bring Laughter and Joy to Seniors

We all know that our elders are a generation who have seen and experienced a lot. They are typically wise, well-spoken individuals with so much to share. As we walk through the mall, or listen to them at church on Sunday morning, it is always refreshing when they can make us laugh! It’s not always easy for seniors to think of what topics would be interesting conversation starters – but if you want your visit with an elder friend or relative to go smoothly and end in laughter – and maybe even brighten someone’s day – then this list of 12 conversations could be just what you need!

Before you pick a topic, it’s important to learn the basics of how to keep your senior happy in conversation. Part of this is remembering not only what conversations work best for them, but also gently guiding them so they remain involved in the conversation.

Talk about the one thing you find interesting. Don’t talk in circles if they get bored, but don’t change topics too quickly either. Share personal stories/stories from your own past that connect to their current situation and enjoy the conversation!

Focus on a single conversation topic with older adults, then keep in touch with it before moving to other topics. Parents of seniors should also select open-ended questions and avoid difficult or complicated sentence starters.

Another thing to remember is to choose the right environment for your discussion. It shouldn’t be in a noisy place with competing sounds of TV or radio. Lastly, remember to accept differences in opinion and learn to compromise whenever a decision has to be made.

If you ask something like, “Do you know any jokes?” When you do, get ready to hear some laughter! There are also many other topics that can make seniors smile. For instance, other, fun and thought provoking questions could be, “Which actor do you like best?” or “What was one of your favorite movies as a child growing up in 1950s America?”                                                                           

Both of these questions will both be well received by most elderly people with varied tastes who might have seen different actors grow into superstars over time but still cherish memories from childhood days gone past when simpler things were all that really mattered so why not share them now too. If it’s been awhile since someone asked about such fond recollections before.

So, let’s get to the list of topics…

  1. Ask about their past –  what they did before living in the facility, things that made them happy from back then. It’s always great to know more about your elders and their life story!  What was it like being a kid before TV was mainstream? What are some fond memories you have as an older person now reflecting on childhood years gone by…
  2. Talk about their achievements in life –  what they accomplished, what was the pinnacle of their career? What were some accomplishments that gave life meaning and joy. What are your most memorable moments from childhood – how did you spend time when not in school or with family members… thoughts about favorite TV shows then vs now (ask them which ones still hold up as classics)?  Talking to someone
  3. Ask about their favorite things –  what are some things they love to do for fun? What season is their favorite and why? Ask what the first thing that comes to mind when you think of today’s date. Ask about regrets or if there’s anything they would have done differently in life – what was it like being a kid at the time they were, and how did your life change?
  4. What fun activities did they enjoy doing? If they were able to use a time machine, what would they want to see? If they could go back in history and meet anyone, who would it be (ask follow-up questions)? What are some things they miss about the past that don’t exist now – how is life different for them today than when they were younger?
  5. Ask what their first pet was, or the first pet they wanted?  This is thought provoking, and also an interesting topic, since you never quite know what the answer will be…
  6. What was it like to grow up in that era – what were some of the challenges, as well as benefits they might have experienced? What would they tell a younger generation about life back then if there’s anything at all.
  7. What games did they used to play with their friends? What was the best toy they ever had?  Games have changed so much through the years, asking these questions will really demonstrate the vast differences.
  8. If they could have any superpower, what would it be and why. What is their most favorite superhero or heroine from history? It’s always interesting to envision skills and powers that give us an ability beyond what is known to be possible.
  9. Who are some of their heroes in life today that inspire them to do good deeds for others each day? People don’t need superpowers to be considered heroes. Who are some of the everyday heroes that motivate and inspire them to do good everyday?
  10. What is the top career advice they have for those just starting their careers now? The landscape has changed significantly over the years, especially over the last 10 or so years. Drawing on the wisdom of their years, what would they recommend in today’s landscape? Is it valid advice, or does it reflect circumstances that are no longer relevant?
  11. What was your position at the first job and what did you do with your first income? Obviously, the times were different back then, and the options for spending that first income were far more limited than they are today. Still, it could lead to an interesting conversation…
  12. What is the biggest lesson you learned from your teenage years? In some cases, they may relive glory days, in others, it may just be fond memories of growing up. Either way, it’s likely to deliver a valuable lesson that may just help you out.


At Silver Companions, we understand the challenges faced by aging adults, as well as those who care for them. We are here to help, and be a resource, in any way we can. Call or email us, for a free consultation. We can talk through your specific situation and make a recommendation based on your circumstances and budget. Call us at (678) 494-8129 or email us at info@SilverCompanions.com.