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During these days of social distancing and isolation, we are all searching for ways to stay connected.  

With families sticking close to home and senior centers in lockdown, is there a positive alternative to a steady diet of negative news and loneliness? 

Challenges produce opportunities.  Perhaps empty hours are an opportunity to initiate quality conversations with those we care about, if not face to face then over the phone.  And there is so much more to talk about than the weather and what we ate for dinner!

As a way to bring joy to what are seemingly endless hours of alone time, consider using questions from If Only You Would Ask, A Guide to Inspire Quality Time to trigger memories.  To get you started, we’ve included questions from Topic #1. We hope these questions will lead to a discussion that may not have been talked about or thought about for years.


High School Years 

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your high school years?

  1. Describe your personality as a teen.
  2. What was the hardest part about being a teen?
  3. Did a certain teacher/mentor have an impact on your life?
  4. With whom did you hang out?
  5. How did you feel about your parents?
  6. What did you do to earn spending money?
  7. Did a best friend in high school remain a life-long friend?
  8. Did you ever get in trouble with the law?
  9. What is the best thing you remember about high school?

To purchase your copy of If Only You Would Ask, click here.

Dear Readers,
I hope you are finding ways to keep yourselves 'positive' during these difficult days of social distancing and isolation. Before posting a 6th set of questions from If Only You Would Ask, I thought I'd reach out to see if the previous posts have been enjoyed. Please let me know if you are using the questions and about any good conversations that may have occurred!~.

Dear Readers,

It’s hard to believe but we are already into our 5th week of questions.  Have you been using the questions to help pass the time and have some fun talking to the people you care about?

Today’s questions are about Family Vacations.   I would really appreciate hearing from you.  How are you using the questions?  Which questions have been especially interesting?  Any feedback is appreciated.  

Post #5 Family Outings and Vacations 
Growing up, what was a favorite family outing or vacation? page28image35213792 
1)  What did your family do for fun?
2)  What are some of your best memories from family outings?
3)  What do you recall about visits to your grandparents or Aunts and Uncles? 
4)  If you camped, did you ever have a scare from some wild animal or bad weather? 
5)  What is a funny story you recall from a family outing? 
6)  What historic sites, such as the White House or Gettysburg, did you visit?
 7)  From which family vacation did you learn a lot? 
8)  Was there a person, place or image from a vacation that forever changed your life? 
9)  What vacations/outings have you enjoyed with your adult children and grandchildren? 
10)  What is a family trip you will never forget?  

 Describe the place where you grew up?
What did it look like? 
1)  Do you recall any significant buildings or land- marks? 
2)  Was it a welcoming community?
 3)  What was your favorite season of the year?
 4)  Were there specific summer or winter events you looked forward to? 5)  Growing up, what chores were expected of you?
 6)  What were the major nationalities of people in your community?
 7)  Where did young people hang out?
 8)  How did most families earn a living?
 9)  What did you like best about the place where you grew up? 
Have FUN!!!

Let’s Keep Social Distancing from becoming Social Isolation…
We can help!

Post #3

We hope you’ve been enjoying the questions and are learning things about each other that you didn’t know! Please feel free to share these questions with your family and friends.

This week’s questions are about growing up, the BEST and the WORST!!

 What is your earliest memory?  
 1)  Imagine you are opening the door of the first house you remember. Walk in and describe what you see.
 2)  As a child, how much responsibility were you given?
3)  Who raised you? How?
 4)  Were praise and affection part of your growing up?5)  Who was your best friend? What kinds of activities did you do together?
6)  What were your favorite radio programs, and TV shows?
7)  How did your family spend weekends?
8)  As a child, what obstacles did you overcome?
9)  Did you cause your parents a lot of worry? In what ways?
10)  In your growing up years, what do you wish had been different? 

As promised here is a new set of questions.  The focus this week is on Birth Order.  How about reaching out to that relative or friend, and asking these questions.?  What number child are you?? HAVE FUN!!

Birth Order 
 How many brothers and sisters do you have? Which number child are you? 
 1)  How did you feel about growing up in a large family?

 2)  How did you feel about growing up in a small family?

 3)  In what ways did your parents treat older children differently than younger children? How did you feel about that?

 4)  Which sibling caused you the most grief?

 5)  To which sibling were you closest?

 6)  How much competitiveness existed between siblings? How did this affect future relationships?
7)  Which of your siblings got the most attention? As a child? As an adult?

 8)  Was an adoption story part of your growing up years?

 9)  What impact did a special needs child have on the family?  

Dear Everyone impacted by COVID 19,

It is shocking to realize how quickly the world as we know it has turned upside down.  As Richard Rohr so aptly writes, “Each of us has had our lives and communities disrupted.” During these days of social distancing and isolation, we are all asking ourselves, how best to use our time.

 With families sticking close to home and many senior centers in lockdown, is there a positive alternative to a steady diet of television?  Challenges produce opportunities.  Perhaps this is an opportunity to have quality conversations with those we care about. Perhaps this time will not be spent face to face, but it will occur over the phone. 

Let’s Keep Social Distancing from becoming Social Isolation…
We can help!

As a way to bring some joy to what are seemingly endless hours of alone time, we have decided to share questions from our book If Only You Would Ask. Each week we will post a new set of questions designed to promote interesting, enjoyable conversations.  We hope that these questions will provide a healthy distraction to the news and lead to a discussion of topics that may not have been talked about or thought about for years.

Are you ready? Here we go…

HAVE FUN!! Love, Joan and Eileen

Childhood Memories 
 What do you remember about your grade school years? 
1)  How did you get to school? Did you carry a lunch?
2)  Who was your favorite elementary school teacher? 
3)  What did you do during recess?
4)  Was there a bully in your school
5) Do you still maintain a friendship with a grade school friend?
6)  As an elementary age student, what obstacles did you face? 
7)  What was a favorite song or game you remember? 
8)  Were your parents involved as leaders or coaches in your activities? 
9)  What are some happy memories from your grade school years?

For more about our story, visit

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking at the Recognition Luncheon for Ombudsman Volunteers as part of the Minnesota Age and Disabilities Odyssey Conference in Duluth, Minnesota. Ombudsmen and volunteers work with individuals and their families to ensure the health, safety and WELL-BEING of residents in long-term care facilities. I am pleased to share that the 30 volunteers recognized for their many hours of service, were also gifted with a copy of If Only You Would Ask. What a great feeling to know that our book is being used by this organization to bring joy to many!! Thank you Office of Ombudson Long-Term Care!! Joan Bachman

We are thrilled that our book will now be available to all those who follow AlzAuthors. Here is the link:

Just to let you know I got some good feed back on your book at our Stephen Minister’s meeting last night. Two people mentioned that they had learned so much about their care-receiver at their recent funerals and wished they had had your book and asked them some of the questions before they passed. Also another lady said your book will be going on her coffee table on Thanksgiving in hopes that her family will ask her some of the questions!
We hope you, John and your spunky mother are all doing well.