Previously, we talked about using TED talks to get your senior population out of their rooms and away from the television while thinking and discussing new topics. Today, we’re offering some ideas for specific talks to show at your facility. We’ve put together some suggestions on a variety of topics, running the gamut from inspirational to humorous. These talks make great jumping off points for discussions, and can help your senior population stay engaged and in the loop.
Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days
In this short, lighthearted talk, Matt Cutts offers a fun way to think about setting and achieving goals. Maybe your seniors can’t try biking to work every day for a month like the speaker, but what are some small, sustainable changes they can try? Ask them if there’s something they’ve always wanted to try, but never followed through on.
Benjamin Zander: The transformative power of classical music
Perfect for your music-loving seniors, this talk explores the power of classical music. With an infectious passion for classical music, Benjamin Zander wants to help his audience realize their untapped love for it, and by extension, their untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, and new connections.
Stefon Harris: There are no mistakes on the bandstand
In another great music-centered talk, Stefon Harris uses his improvisational jazz quartet to explore the nature of mistakes. By talking through examples with his quartet, Harris walks us to a profound truth: many actions are perceived as mistakes only because we don’t react to them appropriately.
David Gallo: Underwater astonishments
In this brief presentation, David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square’s worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean. This humorous and visually engaging talk is a fun glimpse at rarely seen phenomena that’s sure to fascinate even non nature-lovers.
Jane Fonda: Life’s third act
Within this generation, an extra 30 years have been added to our life expectancy—and these years aren’t just a footnote or a pathology. Jane Fonda argues that it’s not having experiences that makes us wise, it’s taking the time to reflect on those experiences. This talk would provide a great opening for a discussion on how we can think about this new phase of our lives.
Ken Jennings: Watson, Jeopardy and me, the obsolete know it all
Seniors who love watching game shows are sure to enjoy this talk by trivia whiz Ken Jennings, who holds the longest winning streak in history on the U.S. game show Jeopardy. In 2011, Jennings played a challenge match against supercomputer Watson—and lost. With humor and humility, he tells us how it felt to have a computer literally beat him at his own game, and also makes the case for good old-fashioned human knowledge.
What topics would your seniors be interested in learning about through TED talks?