Reminiscing is healthy!  It’s the process by which we make sense out of this mystery we call life.  Reminiscing helps those who are older to find meaning and purpose in the years they have lived.  It can create new levels of appreciation and intimacy between generations and can transform times spent beside beds or other visits into memorable times together.

The following questions will provide you with hours of worthwhile communication.  If possible, tape or write down your discussions.  Then the stories can be shared with other family members and friends.

The Family

  • How many brothers and sisters do you have?
  • Who was/is your favorite sibling?  Why?  What fun memories do you have of her or him?
  • Where did you live?
  • Did your father change jobs often?  What jobs did he have?
  • Did your mother work outside the home?
  • Did the family have any pets?
  • Did you have your own pet?  What was it like?
  • Was anyone in the immediate family ever seriously ill?
  • Did you think of yourselves as poor, struggling, comfortable, wealthy?
  • Did your parents worry about money?
  • Did your grandparents live with you?
  • Were you close to your grandparents?  Describe some fun or special memories that you have of your grandparents.


  • How did you get to school?
  • What was the name of your best friend?  What was he or she like?
  • Did you like school?
  • What was your favorite subject?  Why?
  • Who was your favorite teacher?
  • Did you have any unfulfilled goals, such as becoming a doctor or a farmer?
  • What is your earliest happy memory at school?
  • Did you want to have more education?
  • What games did you play?
  • Did you work while you were still in school?  Describe job (s).
  • How old were you when you left school?


  • What were the important holidays in your family?
  • What were some of your family’s traditions?
  • Did you go away for holidays?  Where did you go?
  • What are some of your happiest holiday memories?

Work Experiences

  • What was your first job?  Describe.
  • How did you get to and from work?
  • Did you like the job?  Why?
  • What other jobs have you had?
  • What has been your favorite job?  Why?
  • Did you make any lifelong friends in any of your jobs?
  • Who was your favorite boss/employer?  Why?


  • What are some of the special places that you have visited?
  • Which destination did you like the most?  Why?
  • What was your first car?
  • What are some places that you would still like to visit?  Why?

Married Life

  • When did you meet your spouse?  What attracted you to him/her?
  • How old were you when you got married?  How did the proposal go?  What was the wedding like?
  • How much money did you have then?
  • When did you buy your first house?  What did you like the most about it?
  • What kinds of things do (did) you and your spouse like to do together?
  • How many children do you have?  Where do they live?  What do they do for a job? What do you like the most about each?


  • Did your family go to church when you were growing up?  What did you like and dislike about the church as a child?
  •  Are you a Christian?  When did you become a Christian?
  • What’s your favorite Bible story?  Why?
  • What Bible passage or verse has made a great difference in your life?  How?
  • Can you describe a time when you really felt the presence and power of God?
  • What church activities have you participated in and enjoyed
  • What are two of your favorite hymns or songs?  What words from those hymns are especially meaningful to you?

Military Service

  • Did you ever serve in the armed forces?  Which branch?  For how long?  What was your rank?
  • Did you see any combat duty?  If so, what do you remember the most about it?
  • Did you make any new friends in the service?  Do you ever see them or think about them now?
  • What do you think about war?


  • Who is, was, or still is your best friend?
  • Why was or is he/she your best friend?  What characteristics in that friend do you value the most?
  • Who have you known the longest?
  •  What is your most treasured memory with your friend?


  • What is your political affiliation?  Has it always been the same?
  • Who was the “best” president/prime minister? The “worst”?
  • Who would you like to be the next president/prime minister?


  • What was your greatest challenge?  How did you meet it?
  • What did you learn from this challenge?  What bit of wisdom would you like to pass on to future generations concerning challenges that they will face?
  • What was your greatest disappointment?  How did you deal with it?
  • What are some of your achievements that you feel proud of?
  • What is your greatest achievement?


  • What are the major changes you have seen taking place in your lifetime? (Technologically, socially, medically, internationally, and so on)
  • What change has affected you the most?

Most Admired Person

  • Who have you admired most?  Why?

If You Had Your Life to Live Over Again…

  • Would you make any changes?
  • What would they be?

Adapted from material by the National Caregiving Foundation, 801 N. Pitt Street, #116, Alexandria, VA  22314-1765.  Used by permission.

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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