As “over 60 somethings” much of our daily focus is geared towards helping our parents or planning memorials for them.  It occurred to me that maybe we can sustain more memories of them and their history for their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Thanks to my sister-in-law, at my mother-in-law’s memorial, a video interview with her was presented.  All of us treasured seeing her facial expressions, voice and overall sense of life, as we said goodbye. This priceless video gave me the impetus to do the same with my mom on her recent visit to California. Obviously, pointing a phone in her face wasn’t going to relax her.  So I went on the hunt for a simple tripod. Here’s an inexpensive tripod for your phone.  The tripod allowed me to focus on her, making the process natural and fun.

Selfie Stick

At $22.99 it’s simple to use and folds up to a 12″ easy to store size.


TripodIt was relevant to consider who would want to see this video, i.e., of course, my three siblings, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. My goal was to draw out information all of them might enjoy hearing someday.

Only we know what to ask or not ask our loved ones, but we’ll never know unless we do!

The interview started with the date and her age at the time.  She was just turning 86, in fact, as I write this it’s her birthday!

Here’s a list of 24 questions I asked her:

  1. What’s the best thing about getting older?
  2. Tell me about playing as a child – what were your favorite things to do?
  3. What do you remember about your mom and dad? Did they like to dance?
  4. Was your mom someone you could talk with?  If I were a stranger – how would you describe your mom?
  5. Grandpa – how would you characterize him?  What did he do?  How did they meet – do you know?
  6. What memories do you have of Christmas when you were young?  Halloween – what was trick or treating like back then?
  7. What was the absolute best day of your life and why?
  8. How was it to be a mom or dad for the first time?
  9. If they were writing an article about each of your children – what would you want it to say?
  10. Did you like school?  When did you stop and why?  Did you have a favorite subject or individual teacher?
  11. What one person had the greatest influence on your life?
  12. Where did you work before being married?
  13. What were your thoughts when you first laid eyes on Grandpa or Grandma?
  14. Life is hard – we make all sorts of choices – any you’d like to take back?
  15. Advice – do you have any for your grandchildren?
  16. Do you worry about what the future holds for young people – your great-grandchildren?
  17. Did you see yourself in any of your children?  How were they different?  What makes you smile when you think of each one?
  18. If you were asked, how you would like to be remembered – what would you say?
  19. What’s the worst part of being a “senior citizen in America?”
  20. Politics – how important were they at the family table and how did people tend to feel?
  21. Do you see yourself in Heaven or what do you make of the after-life?
  22. We all want to do things in our way  – how did you raise us differently – then, say your parents?
  23. What were your favorite times in your life and why?
  24. What advice do you have for anyone as they get older?

Here are five sites with sample questions for this conversation:

1-  Conversation Starters: 20 Questions to Ask Your Parents

2-  Interview ?’s for an Elderly Person

3-   7 Questions We Need To Ask Every Older Person

4-  Ask Your elders While There’s Still Time: 6 Great Questions

5-  “But… What Do I say?”: Conversation Starters with Seniors and The Elderly


These examples should give you a jumpstart on one of the most important interviews of your life.  

Hope this encourages you to time travel with those dearest to you.  Good Luck!