Use Conversation Starters

I have worked with older adults for many years, many of which were spent doing activities (hence why I now write this blog).  I had a TON of fun over the years, but one of the funniest things that ever happened to me on the job was thanks to a “game” called Table Topics.


There are multiple versions available, and I’m not sure which one we were using, but I’m going to tell you the story anyway. Basically, inside the cube are just a bunch of thought-provoking questions on individual cards.  I was sitting with a group of residents with dementia at the facility where I worked and “John” pulled a card that asked (approximately)  “What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and discovered you were suddenly a member of the opposite sex?”  Without skipping a beat he replied, “I would go out and find a man as sexy as I am.”  EVERYONE at the table, including John, started laughing.  We laughed even harder when John started demonstrating how he would woo a man like himself using what he called his “come hither” eyes. 

These cards are great for mild to moderate stages of dementia.  Because it doesn’t rely on short-term memory or facts, anyone who can still communicate can play.  John was very much in the moderate stages of the disease, but he still had a ton of “zingers” at his disposal and clearly loved the chance to make others laugh.  His wife liked to play when she visited as well, saying not only did she love seeing him so happy and animated, but also that it reminded her of when they first met in highschool, where he was the class clown.

There are lots of similar conversation starters out there.  The Book of Questions, by Gregory Stock and Chat Pack: Fun Questions to Spark Conversations by The Question Guys are just two of the many other options out there to help get conversations flowing. 

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