So What Do You Think Talk..Talk..Talk
Conversations can often take many directions and sometimes you may be asked a question that makes you think a little bit. How would you answer some of these questions? Tell about something you haven’t done in a long time that you would like to do? Pretend you are in a parade. What part would you like to be?
So What Do Think became the first in a series of conversation starters including Connecting the Generations, and the series of reminiscence products and puzzles. One of the advantages is that the cards each have three questions so you can pick the one that appeals to you the most. The questions also appear in a journal form at so that you can write your thoughts instead. You may find your answers vary depending on the person you are talking with, your mood at the time, or perhaps over a period of time.
Sharing your stories is one of the many activities you can do to keep your brain sharp. If you know someone who is starting to have some difficulty with name recall and conversing, start asking those questions and record their stories so when that person is struggling more, you can help them tell that story.
The possibilities of how to use these products are numerous. One of the Alzheimer’s groups in a nursing home used the questions and then a volunteer recorded the participant’s comments. Later they took the questions and corresponding answers and put them in a journal to present to family members as a gift.
I remember using the question with a stroke patient who needed to increase his ability to speak at a conversation level. One of his relatives decided to use the cards to connect with a grandchild out of town. They would take turns picking a new question for the other to talk about during their frequent phone calls. Another idea came from a grandparent taking a road trip with two of her grandchildren. She thought she could get to better know them by using the questions during their drive and it is likely that went both ways!
Senior centers could add some of the questions in their newsletter or use them when they planned grandparent’s day activities. In an independent or assisted living setting, the cards could be available while waiting for meals to be served or posted in an elevator or some other place where visitors might get some ideas for conversation starters. One granddaughter used it to gather her aunt’s stories for a class project and when the woman’s memory began to fail she had the stories she could read aloud when some of the details and names were hard to recall.
Often families want their own set of cards just to have on hand when someone stops by. This creates a perfect opportunity for people to spend time sharing and enjoying each other’s company. You are bound to learn something about someone you thought you knew, including yourself. So What Do You Think?
People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another. Studs Terkel