I am trying to develop a project to help elder people and their families/friends to connect more with each other. Would you have any idea or suggest topics for conversations that you think would be interesting for elders but also for other generations? How to make them engage?

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CM, WOW! Loads of new and interesting reading ahead for Stacey B here! Thank you!

GA, you too, all very good suggestions for those with elderly parent who need to freshen up their ideas for "things to do and discuss"! 😉
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I think the U3A is brilliant, but if there isn't a direct US equivalent I'll eat my hat - seek and ye will find!
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CM, I was fussing with my post while you were posting. I am amazed at the scope of the U3A. This is the organization you wrote about in another post, right?

I'm definitely checking this out. Did a quick check of its website; it seems to be an incredible organization, a far cry from our AARP.
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Sabree, HugeMom asks a good question. Is the project you're planning for your job, working with multi-generations? If you're working in a care facility, e.g., and want to create an opportunity for both young and old, you might first focus on activities for the older people, then try to match them with the younger ones with similar interests.

Perhaps Scouts (Boy or Girl, Eagles, etc.) might be interested in working on projects with seniors as part of a earning a badge.

I.e., one of the things I saw when Mom was in rehab was beading, beading and more beading. Some of the women had trouble grasping the bead and/or threading a needle through them. An adaptation might be to allow the older women to select the beads from a variety offered, but have the younger people thread the beads while the older ones continued to select and/or held the threads.

And if you do go that route, check out Michael's or Jo-ann Fabrics. They have a much more sophisticated (and lovely) choice than the ones typically chosen by rehab centers (at least that's been my experience). I've even seen the magnificent Swarovski beads sold at either of the 2 craft stores cited.

For men, some type of woodworking might be of interest. The craft stores also have pre-cut stock, sometimes with seasonal designs that can be glued on, ribbon tied through a hole, and an ornament made. All the measuring, sawing, sanding, etc. is done. But the choice of design for the ornament would still give the men some choice.

Even square blocks with a hole would work; participants can select photos from cards, wildlife magazines, travel magazines, cars, motorcycle magazines...whatever.

Perhaps make a mobile out of them and hang them in the window of the participant's room.

My father was a woodworker and made some beautiful pieces of butcher clock. I have some storage units that I'm going to bring over and plan to have him help me by just holding and squaring off the pieces while I screw them together.

I've done some limited woodworking myself, just assembling furniture, and for me there's nothing like the smell of wood and seeing pieces go together to produce something very useful.

For those not interested in crafts, and who have families that visit, a holiday tree with photos of family might be a project, although it might also trigger sadness, depending on the situation. I've been thinking about this for a while, and plan to make a few with my father.

I'm just guessing, so if you could elaborate on your projects, the participants and parameters, it would help make suggestions, along the line in my first post of matching interests.
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In my one small sample group of elders (i.e. some of my family) I can offer you:

a policeman
a pianist
a contemporary of Wallis Simpson in Paris
a social worker
an ardent fan of Liberace
a Holocaust survivor and counsellor at the pro bono Citizens' Advice Bureau
a golfer
a doctor who thought that the Anchor butter t.v. advert featuring dancing cows in leg warmers was just the best thing ever broadcast.

What topic of conversation would you imagine might engage all of these people, all of whom were born between 1900 and 1925?

Do not assume anything about people on the basis of their age. It is insulting.

You could do worse than look up U3A - in fact, here is a list of their subject headings for 2017, though if I were you I'd lay off Theology and Current Affairs:

American Archaeology 26 May 2017 Hits: 272
Archaeology 26 May 2017 Hits: 361
Architecture 26 May 2017 Hits: 326
Art Appreciation 26 May 2017 Hits: 437
Astronomy 26 May 2017 Hits: 386
Aviation 26 May 2017 Hits: 269
Ballroom Dancing 09 November 2017 Hits: 118
Biology 26 May 2017 Hits: 293
Bridge 26 May 2017 Hits: 348
British History 26 May 2017 Hits: 390
Canasta 26 May 2017 Hits: 239
Classical Greek 26 May 2017 Hits: 230
Climate Change 26 May 2017 Hits: 243
Crafts 26 May 2017 Hits: 344
Creative Writing 30 May 2017 Hits: 468
Crown Green Bowling 30 May 2017 Hits: 277
Cryptic Crosswords 30 May 2017 Hits: 314
Current Affairs 30 May 2017 Hits: 252
Cycling - Social 10 October 2017 Hits: 328
English Folk Dance 30 May 2017 Hits: 258
Exploring World Faiths 30 May 2017 Hits: 222
Film 30 May 2017 Hits: 357
French 22 August 2017 Hits: 464
Gardening 30 May 2017 Hits: 347
Genealogy 24 September 2017 Hits: 509
Geology - Earth Science 30 May 2017 Hits: 295
German 30 May 2017 Hits: 332
ICT Awareness 30 May 2017 Hits: 273
Jazz Appreciation 22 August 2017 Hits: 289
Languages 30 May 2017 Hits: 509
Latin 30 May 2017 Hits: 306
Living History 30 May 2017 Hits: 288
Mah Jong 29 November 2017 Hits: 0
Maths and Stats 30 May 2017 Hits: 318
Memory 20 November 2017 Hits: 122
Military History 30 May 2017 Hits: 259
Mindfulness and Meditation 16 November 2017 Hits: 116
Music - Singing and Playing 30 May 2017 Hits: 280
Opera 22 August 2017 Hits: 272
Painting and Drawing Techniques 30 May 2017 Hits: 259
Petanque 31 May 2017 Hits: 311
Philosophy 31 May 2017 Hits: 402
Photography 31 May 2017 Hits: 468
Play Reading 31 May 2017 Hits: 240
Poetry 31 May 2017 Hits: 254
Psychology 31 May 2017 Hits: 286
Puppetry 31 May 2017 Hits: 244
Racketball 31 May 2017 Hits: 219
Research 31 May 2017 Hits: 316
Russian 31 May 2017 Hits: 248
Sailing and Water Activities 31 May 2017 Hits: 328
Science 10 October 2017 Hits: 353
Shakespeare 31 May 2017 Hits: 284
Sociology 31 May 2017 Hits: 212
Storytelling 22 August 2017 Hits: 248
Tai Chi and Qi Gong 09 November 2017 Hits: 124
Theology 31 May 2017 Hits: 230
Walking 31 May 2017 Hits: 384
Welsh Language 22 August 2017 Hits: 310
Wine Appreciation 31 May 2017 Hits: 313

Hope that gives you some ideas.
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I agree with GA. Some young people are fascinated by their own roots and the history of others families and eras too. Others, and adults as well, would require a crow bar to get their hands and eyes off their cell phones.

Do you work in a nursing home or something like that? Are you familiar with the people you’d be working with, or would these be strangers? I was always fascinated by most aspects of my family history and even joined to fill in the blanks. But not everyone is that interested.
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Thank you very much for your consideration, GardenArtist. I think your comment is very wise, I really appreciate it and will rethink some aspects of my idea.
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I think I'd create a questionnaire asking participants to indicate interests and rank them, then match the older generation with other generations.

However, I'd be cautious about putting multi generations of people who don't know each other together and expect them to connect. Some just aren't going to find a need or desire to make that effort.

I think older people as they age are more comfortable with people they already know.

And that's part of the reason I think that an attempt to "make them engage" isn't a wise choice. Let them engage if they want to but don't push them.
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