21 Questions to Ask Your Elderly Parents

Our parents are the most familiar people in the world, but sometimes they can be the most mysterious as well. Whether you’re completing a family legacy project or looking for things to talk about while visiting or providing daily care, it begs the question: how well do we really know our elders? Who is Mom as a person? What was Dad like when he was growing up? What experiences most impacted their lives? What were their hopes, dreams and regrets?

As adults, it is easy to assume that we know everything about our parents or grandparents and that we have already heard all their stories. The truth is that many of us don’t ask our elders nearly enough about their lives, especially as they get older. There’s no better way to become closer to a person, even if you’ve known them since you were born.

Reminiscing with an Aging Loved One

AgingCare.com has compiled the following list of questions that our elder care experts and editors would most like to ask their own parents. This list can help you start your own structured reminiscing session with an elder and spur conversation topics you’d like to talk about. Try using old photo albums, scrapbooks, music, TV shows or other meaningful materials as supplements. Gather multiple generations to stress the importance of preserving the family history through these conversations. Everyone might gain a new appreciation for their elder in the process.

Interview Questions for Elders

1. In what ways do you think I’m like you? And not like you?

2. Who is the person who influenced your life the most?

3. Do you have a lost love?

4. Which new technology have you found most helpful in your life?

5. Which do you find to be the most annoying?

6. Is there anything you have always wanted to tell me but never have?

7. Is there anything you regret not having asked your parents?

8. Do you wish anything had been different between us, or would you still like to change something?

9. What was the happiest moment of your life?

10. What are you most proud of?

11. How did your experience in the military mold you as a person?

12. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

13. What is your earliest memory?

14. Did you receive an allowance as a child? How much? Did you save your money or spend it?

15. Who were your friends when you were growing up?

16. What was your favorite thing to do for fun (hobbies, beach, etc.)?

17. What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? What did you eat for lunch?

18. What school activities and sports did you participate in?

19. Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothing?

20. What world events had the most impact on you?

21. How would you like to be remembered?


All praise and glory are Yours, Lord our God. For You have called us to serve you and one another in love. Bless our sick today so that they may bear their illness in union with Jesus' sufferings and restore them quickly to health. Bless those who have grown old in Your service and give them courage and strength in their faith. Lead us all to eternal glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.