The desire to be loved and adored doesn’t automatically disappear once one reaches his or her golden years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the life expectancy for females is 81.2 and for males, 76.4 years old; with men and women living longer than ever before, there’s plenty of time for a love life. These days, seniors are no strangers to the dating scene and nor should they.
Just because the senior population is living longer and alone, doesn’t mean they should have to pass on companionship. In 2014, 72% of senior citizen aged men and 46% of women of the same age were married. In the same year, there were 8.7 million widows and 2.3 million widowers. While divorce and separation in older individuals remains low at 14%, the percentage has almost tripled since 1980. The statistics prove that there are many seniors on their own.
Although many seniors are happy to live alone or don’t want to attempt the dating scene ever again, many could benefit from companionship.
Take the Plunge, Start Dating
If you are a senior, living alone and longing for companionship, don’t be afraid to get yourself out there and start looking for a potential partner. While it can be an overwhelming adventure, take small steps, be confident, and have fun. There’s no point to dating if you’re not going to enjoy the process. Afraid of be viewed as too silly or immature? Senior citizens dating is more popular (and normal) than ever. Here are some tips to get started:
- Join Groups: If you want to meet new people the old-fashioned way, you’re going to have to take an active role. Check out classes at your senior center or try activities you’ve never done before (i.e. yoga, hiking, cooking), there may be eligible mates in attendance. Some senior communities have “Singles Groups”, don’t pass up the opportunity to mingle.
- Look Up an Old Friend: Still think about that old significant other from high school or college? Wonder what he or she has been up to all these years? Do a simple internet search or look them up on a social media site like Facebook. Seems too farfetched? You never know, your long lost love may be living alone and looking for companionship as well.
- Consider Online Dating: If you consider yourself tech-savvy, give online dating a try. While there are pros and cons to online dating, there are plenty of age appropriate sites just for seniors, such as AARP, Stitch, eHarmony, and Our Time. Many people prefer online dating because they feel like it’s easier to be themselves, but at the same time, some people pretend to be someone they are not.
- Online Dating Safety: While a majority of online dating is legitimate and safe, you should always be cautious when sharing your information. It’s easy to get swept away by the perfect profile and Mr. or Mrs. Right who seems to pen the most beautiful love notes, but it’s important to beware of potential online scams that can leave you heartbroken and penniless.
When dating, don’t be afraid to be yourself, don’t forget to communicate all or your expectations (it’s okay to be picky), and don’t forget to have fun. While you may not find the love of your life, you may find the perfect dance partner or dinner date, just use your head before your heart.