20 Questions to Ask Your Grandparents While They're Here

26 April 2020 • Memories

Questions to Ask Your Grandparents

This current epidemic has made us realize just how important and limited our time is with our elderly loved ones. Our grandparents are indeed grand. Without them, quite literally, we wouldn't be here in this world. They are the wise sages of our family tree, filled with knowledge and wisdom. 

There are a number of questions to ask your grandparents while they are here. Take advantage of the down time and have a genuine conversation with your beloved grandparents, and listen to their precious memories. You're guaranteed to learn more than a thing or two. 

Memories

1. What stories do they have that you don’t know about?

Just because they are our grandparents, it doesn't mean we know everything about them. Remember, your memories of them only begins after you were born as you didn't know them before that time. You might be surprised to learn something new about your grandparents, such as their youth, or when they were raising your mom or dad. Additionally, you may not know some of the new things they are into because they might not have lived with you when you were growing up. For instance, they might haved lived far away or in a retirement community. Unless you talk with them everyday or they live with you, it's hard to keep track of their lives as you're busy with your own. Take advantage of this extra time on your hands and get to know them better. Overall, just talk to them and listen to them. They will appreciate the quality time you're spending with them. 

2. What was their favorite memory as grandparents?

Ask them some of their favorite memories as grandparents. Maybe it's a fun family vacation in the past, whether as parents to your own parents, or as grandparents tagging along with the family on a road trip. Perhaps it's a memorable moment with you and your siblings when you spent time with them as kids. Take a trip down memory lane with your grandparents. You'll gain a new appreciation for them and the memories you've had with them. 

3. What was their favorite memory as individuals?

Remember, your grandparents are in a loving partnership, but they are still two individuals with unique personalities. Ask each one of your grandparents their favorite memories which have nothing to do with being grandparents. Maybe it's a memory from their childhood or college years. For instance, your grandpa might have heroic war stories from his time in the service, or your grandmother's passions in life like art. Listen to their stories and appreciate them for who they are as individuals. 

4. How has their view of the world changed throughout their life?

Your grandparents lived in a totally different era than the one we're in now. Ask them about their perspective on today's society, especially compared to the one they grew up in and lived through during their young adult lives. It will not only be a trip down memory lane, but a time machine back into history. You will gain a lot of interesting insights and stories. 

5. How do they spend their retirement years?

Ask your grandparents how they spend their retirement years? Are they happy and having fun? Perhaps their opinions will give you an idea of how you could help make their retirement years more easy and relaxing. You can even suggest new things to try out that you think they might like. 

6. If they had one piece of advice to you, what would it be?

Your grandparents' collection of advice is like a treasure box waiting to be unearthed and opened. They've seen and experienced a lot in their respective lives. Ask them to share their wealth of wisdom with you; something that you can pass on to your own children. 

7. How did your grandparents meet?

You're here in this world because your grandparents met, and in turn gave birth to your mom or dad, who in turn gave birth to you. Ask your grandparents to detail the beginning of their love story. Hearing their individual memories of their first meeting will be fun to listen to, and will give you a new appreciation for the importance of your family tree.

8. What are their favorite memories with family?

What are their favorite memories with family members? Maybe it's a Christmas family get-together, or a memorable family trip. 

9. What are their favorite memories from a vacation?

Now that your grandparents are (presumably) retired, they're probably spending a lot of time on vacation. In fact, their life now is a well-deserved long-term vacation. What are their favorite memories from their trips? I'm sure they have a lot of fun and funny stories to tell. 

10. What are their favorite memories with your mom or dad, as well as their other children?

This is a great way to know more about your parents, but through the eyes of those who raised them. It will also give you a chance to hear intimate funny stories, some of them probably embarrassing, to tease your parents with. 

11. What are some new hobbies they picked up after retirement?

Now that your grandparents are reitred, or perhaps they've been retired for a while now, what are some of their hobbies? They have the luxury of having a lot of free time to devote to things they actually like doing. Maybe your grandma took up gardening and or grandpa likes to build furniture. This will give you an idea of how you can help them out with their projects when you come over, or what to give them for their birthday. 

12. Are they happy with their current living situation?

Unfortunately, some folks struggle with the post-retirement life. The golden years can either be magical or it can be difficult, especially with the rising cost of medical supplies and housing nowadays. Ask them how they honestly feel about their current living situation, so you can  get an idea of how you can help them in any way you can. 

13. What's their favorite memory from childhood?

When you get old, you get a lot of time to reflect on the life you've lived thus far. I noticed that many people in their golden years tend to tell me stories from their childhood more than from any other period in their life. There's something about the childhood years that sticks with you forever, and they seem to become more vivid when you get older. After all, psychologists theorize that your childhood, called the formative years, are the most important time period of your life. What you learn and experience during this period shapes us into who we become as adults.

14. What are their favorite memories from their marriage so far?

They achieved something that is special: they've stayed together throughout the decades. In this day and age of high divorce rates and infidelity, your grandparents' strong bond is something worth celebrating. Ask them what their favorite memories from marriage are so far.

15. What causes or organizations are they passionate about? 

Many people in their golden years tend to become more active in volunteerism due to the amount of free time they have. They can focus more on helping their fellow human beings rather than making money to raise a family. Ask them what causes they champion, and then make a donation to those organizations. They'll appreciate your gesture and will be proud that their grandchild is as caring about others as they are. 

16. How do they manage to stay strong and healthy at their age?

Ask your grandparents how they manage to stay healthy at their age. What's their diet like? Do they stay fit by walking or doing light exercise? This will not only give you an example of how to take care of your body at their age, but also give you an idea of how their health is. After all, we always want to monitor our grandparents' health so we can help take care of them if they need the assistance. 

17. What's one thing they've always wanted to do, but are hesitant about?

Ask them what they have on their bucket list, but are too afraid or hesitant to cross out. Once they tell you, ask them what they think is stopping them from doing it. Encourage them and tell them confidence-boosting pep talks. More likely than not, it's just a mental barrier one can overcome rather than something truly risky. For instance, they might want to visit a country that has a history of political turmoil. Do the research for them or hire a risk analyst to get the data on just how safe it really is. Whatever the case may be, what's important is to support them and encourage them to live their life to the fullest. 

18. What was the best advice their parents gave them?

If your grandparents are filled with wisdom, imagine what gems of knowledge their parents gave them. Ask them what were some advice they were given, and in turn pass to you. The most valuable family heirlooms are not material objects or money. 

19. How did it feel when they first became a grandparent?

Ask them how they suddenly transitioned into grandparenthood. What did they feel when you or your siblings and cousins were born? How did they react when they first heard the news from your parents? 

20. What are their favorite memories from their golden years so far?

What are their favorite memories since retiring and entering their golden years? Perhaps it's a cruise they took together, or simply spending time with their grandchildren and other loved ones. 

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