So I would like questions asked of me. Ok this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it is a nice way to broach a conversation. And it shows appreciation of the elderly. What was it like in the '60s (no, not my sixties, The Sixties). What music groups did you like? How was it growing up with 6 girls in the family? Why did you love ballet so much? These questions are especially nice when asked by your kids, and luckily I do experience those precious moments from time to time.
Ask an older person a question today that's meaningful to their life. By older I mean in their 60s and upward. Try it and see their eyes light up. Unless of course they're a super private person, in which case you should be using some tact :D