Free Character Writing Prompts #32: Senior Citizens
These 10 character writing prompts about senior citizens are anything but old hat! Through six or more decades of their lives, they have made an effort to make a living, support a family and to follow their goals. As they entire their golden years, many senior citizens continue to live with or near family and will be the patriarch or matriarch of a family until death. Others have been relegated to nursing facilities and rarely see the family members they took care of. Some have never had families at all and are trying to live out their last days in peace, while others are still working and contributing members of society. There is a lot of wisdom to learn from these elderly and important characters.
1. After serving in three major wars, his fighting days weren't over. In the first nursing home he was ever placed in, he witnessed one of his hall mates being abused by an orderly. He wrote over 100 letters to state officials and within three weeks, he was majorly involved in a piece of state legislation passed on elderly writes. He always knew that words were as strong as bullets, which he proved to himself by winning his wife of 40 years over with a poem. She passed away a decade ago and he thought of her constantly. What other fights will he be involved in during the rest of his life?
2. Ask the wizard, they'd always said, a nickname he'd picked up from his adolescent magician days. Even though it was seven decades since he'd picked up the cape, he was able to solve almost anybody's problem in the neighborhood. People would come over to his house and ring the bell, he'd shuffle over and let them in and after hearing their problem he'd pause and think for about a minute. Nearly everything he'd suggested had worked on problems ranging from marital difficulties to medical ailments. Whether or not he practiced magic, he certainly was a wizard in every other sense. What is the wildest question he's ever answered and how did he come by this ability to problem solve?
3. She wrote the book on writing. Literally, she had written a groundbreaking book on style, grammar and sentence structure that became a bestseller for five decades and as a result of the royalties, she lived very comfortably. She enjoyed writing, though she never found the same success writing fiction as she did from her reference-based material. Even at the age of 93, she got up every morning and wrote. What was the accomplishment she was most proud of and why?
4. For her, it wasn't complaining, it was just getting things the way she wanted. After all, she deserved it after 40 years of living with a man like her husband, she always said. Her family had moved away a long time ago, but she became a sort of surrogate mother for a young couple whose parents had died young. She nearly always refused a restaurant's first attempt at her order and she'd earned quite a reputation from local businesses. However, upon receiving things "just the way she wanted them," there was no person in the world quite as grateful. What is her favorite activity in the world and why?
5. He'd seen the town spring up from farmland into a small metropolitan area. Chickens and cows used to play where families parked their SUVs and as a former auto mechanic, he appreciated the change. He was always bored by the quiet countryside and he was extremely happy to see the town grow up around him. One of his simplest pleasures was to go for a walk along the forest path which went beside a highway so that he could hear the purr of cars and trucks as they whirred by. Does he equally appreciate movies and television become louder and what does he do with his spare time?
6. During most of his life he hadn't been able to pursue his passions due to a job with long hours and a family with many mouths to feed. Now that his children and grandchildren could take care of themselves, he decided to take up acting in his twilight years. His local community theater was often lacking when it came to elderly actors and they welcomed him with open arms. Before he knew it, he felt more alive than he had in decades and that was before the positive reviews in the paper. He always knew he had it in him and was glad to discover his talent before it was over. What are some of the roles he played and what made him such an adept actor?
7. Her children winced when she began to launch into one of her stories for her grandkids. After all, it might be the one about the biker gang, the affair with the politician or the naked bike ride. And the third one was only last week! The fire from her wild and crazy life had yet to die down and her children worried she'd be a bad influence on their kids. Then again, it was pretty cool having a senior citizen with pictures of celebrities instead of mountains and beaches. How has she been able to maintain her vigor for her whole lifetime and what drives her?
8. She was beginning to forget and she knew what this meant. She began to organize all of her photographs from the last 60 years into a database online with the help of her nurse. She spent her whole life acquiring these memories and she'd be damned if a ridiculously named disease was going to take them from her. The database caught the eye of a local journalist and she met with him weekly so he could write a weekly column as a sort of looking glass into the past. By the time the disease had gone into full swing, there were over 30 articles and thousands of followers of her photograph database. In her moments of clarity, is she happy with the work she did and why?
9. He refused to give up on music until it gave up on him. He was already the elderly statesman of his band when they grew to prominence in the 1970s and only 10 years later they asked him if he wanted to retire from touring. He laughed mightily before playing his guitar faster than most people alive could dream to. Now approaching the age of 80, he needed help getting on stage but that only excited his audiences more. They loved his skills and they were inspired by his desire to keep up the habit. How did he become a musician in the first place and what, if anything, would prevent him from continuing?
10. She was born on a farm, raised on a farm and if she had her way, she would be dying on a farm too. The only problem is, her children couldn't get a nurse to come anywhere close to her middle-of-nowhere property and she would need to move to the city for the first time in her life. She was never a fan of the hustle and bustle, but she wasn't about to let anybody beat her at life. She bought one of those motorized scooter and zipped around town running errands every day. The nurse could barely keep up with this determined woman. What is her day to day life like and how is it different from life on the farm?
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.