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University of Illinois Extension

4. Interview An Older Friend

Project Skill

Life Skill

What To Do

This activity helps you find out more about an older friend or family member. Choose a person at least 65 years old to interview. It might be a family member, friend, or your project helper. Ask questions about your subject's experiences as a child, as a young adult, and as an older adult. Write the answers after the questions.

Helpful Hints

You can do even more with this activity. You could:

Childhood

  1. Did you have a favorite toy? If it was a doll or a stuffed animal, what was its name? 
     
  2. What was your favorite candy? Do you associate it with a particular person or time? 
     
  3. Did you have pets as a child? What kind and what were their names? 
     
  4. Did you have a nickname? How did you get it? 
     
  5. Did you have chores around the house? 
     
  6. Do you remember a favorite bedtime story or poem? 
     
  7. What was your favorite subject in school? Was homework hard or easy for you? 
     
  8. Can you remember a historic event that happened when you were in school? Who told you about it? Your teacher? Your mother when you got home? 
     
  9. Did you ever want to run away? Why?
     
  10. Did your father have a favorite saying you can remember him repeating? How about your mother? Do you sometimes find their words coming out of your mouth?

Young Adult

  1. What was your first job?
     
  2. Did you date a lot? What did you like to do for fun?
     
  3. Do you remember your first big romance? Did you get married, or how did the relationship end?
     
  4. Is there a particular song you associate with that time of your life?
     
  5. What was your first home like? Describe your household appliances.
     
  6. Did you have children? Who was the first person you called to say "It's a girl" or "It's a boy?"
     
  7. What was the funniest experience you ever had with a child (yours or someone else's)?
     
  8. What was your scariest moment as a parent? Or the scariest moment you experienced with any child?
     
  9. What was the best trip or vacation you ever took? Why was it so special?
     
  10. What was the best thing about this part of your life? The worst thing?

Older Adult

  1. What is your favorite hobby or activity?
     
  2. Do you enjoy a slower pace now, or are you as busy as ever?
     
  3. If you have had to slow down because of age, what activities do you miss?
     
  4. Has retirement been a good or bad experience?
     
  5. Do you have grandchildren? Do you see them often?
     
  6. What is the best part about being or not being a grandparent? The worst part?
     
  7. What things do you get to do now that you couldn't do when you were younger?
     
  8. What are some of the biggest changes you've seen in your lifetime?
     
  9. Which president did you admire most during your lifetime? Was there another public figure you particularly admired?
     
  10. What age has been the best age of your life? Why?

Looking Back...

  1. What was the interview like?
     
  2. What are the most important things you learned about your older friend or family member?
     
  3. What similar experiences have you had?
     
  4. Do you think you'll be like the person you interviewed when you get older? What stories would you tell about the age you are now?

What's Next?

Read "Making Sense of Sensory Changes." The following activities will help you learn more about the physical changes that occur in our bodies because of the aging process.

You wil be able to experience some age-related physical changes with the help of an "immediate aging kit." This kit contains items such as glasses, gloves, and medicine bottles that will help you understand what it might feel like if you lost some of your physical ability.