It’s no secret that intimacy and relationships are the most important part of life. They are crucial throughout our lives, but especially in our latter life for happiness, health and overall well-being. Unfortunately, finding a partner later in life can be challenging.
Many of the difficulties that we face when approaching love are based on expectations that love ought to be the same as it was during middle-age. Instead, it is important for older people to define new and authentic modes of intimacy and sexuality that are not based on conceptions that apply only to younger adults, according to Betty Friedan in her acclaimed book, “The Fountain of Age.” So knowing where to find potential partners is important, and is, interestingly, more accessible than ever before for today’s aging population.
Top Ways to Find Love After 65
There were more than 40 million Americans over 65 in 2011, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging, an 18% increase from 2000. The administration also reported the number of Americans age 45-64 rose by 33% from 2000-2011. A large number of these Americans are single, with 55% of women and 28% men over 65 stating they were unmarried. The senior population has steadily increased with each passing year.
With so many people unattached later in life, it’s only natural that some of them would dip their toes in the dating pool — especially the Baby Boomer population — the generation known for their free love.
For those who don’t have the option or simply don’t want to meet other singles through family and friends, here are the top five ways seniors are finding love in 2015 for those who are seeking friendship, love or intimacy:
There’s one notable way in which the dating scene has changed since most seniors were last dating — the Internet. According to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center, 11% of American adults — and 38% of those who were single and looking for a partner — said they used mobile dating apps or online dating sites.
Here are the most popular dating sites for those over 65:
- Our Time:
Launched in 2011, this very popular dating site has been growing steadily. In fact, in the past few years the dating site has grown membership over 400%, according to Josh Meyers, CEO of IAC’s People Media, Our Time’s parent company. Seniors can choose from different membership packages to allow for user-friendly searches by location and other options.
- AARP Dating:
Working with the dating website “How About We,” AARP has created its own online dating service. This favorite offers the popular “pick a date” feature where users can provide personality insight through questions. AARP also has a dating expert who reveals the differences between older men and women who date online. The site also offers an “I’m intrigued” button, similar to Facebook’s “like” button where users can show interest in other members. A trial membership is offered.
- Senior FriendFinder:
Customized to users over 60, this site prides itself on customer service and security. The site include a chat, instant messaging and a magazine feature to which members can upload their own articles. There is a free version of the website which allows seniors the ability to browse up to 10 profiles a day and take advantage of the chat service.
- eHarmony Senior Dating:
Started by a clinical psychologist and author of eight books on love, marriage and emotional health, Dr. Warren uses this dating site to measure compatibility through a series of questions called the 29 Dimensions of Compatibility. After extensive research involving thousands of married couples, Dr. Warren believed these dimensions were highly predictive measure of relationship success that could be used to match singles. eHarmony offers branches for different demographics of the U.S. population.
- Niche Sites:
If you prefer a more niche dating selection, there are sites, such as: Christian Cafe for Single Seniors, Senior Black People Meet, Senior Jewish Singles, and Compatible Partners for Gay and Lesbian Seniors.
2. Community Centers
Community Centers offer fun festivities, celebrations and outings in neighborhoods that allow many seniors to gather, meet one another and have social stimulation. Generally senior centers offer a calendar of events and special celebrations during the holidays. Senior community centers are an excellent way to meet others with similar interest in your community.
3. Dating Coaches, Services or Matchmakers
For those wary of the World Wide Web and those too shy to meet people in social settings — dating coaches, services and matchmakers are the way to go! Judith Gottesman, a geriatric social worker turned matchmaker who works with Jewish singles comments, “A surprising number of older people don’t use computers at all, and many who do aren’t comfortable using them for dating sites. Dating coaches and matchmakers seems to make sense and break the barrier for many seniors.”
About 90% of the estimated 3,000 matchmakers in the United States will work with seniors, though not necessarily exclusively, said Lisa Clampitt, co-founder of the Matchmaking Institute, which trains professional matchmakers. But there are not as many men as women simply because women typically outlive men. These services can be pricey, though. In fact, $2,500 is the starting cost for many matchmaking services as these coaches tend to include personality tests, spiritual background information as well as cater to niche demographics.
Learn more about today’s matchmakers for senior citizens.
4. Local Neighborhood Stores and Activities
For those who are truly ‘old school’, neighborhood grocery stores, libraries and venues for hobbies are excellent places to meet not only potential partners, but also friends. While it can be more challenging to meet a possible mate on a chance outing to the store, it makes for a romantic story for those who do meet on these happenstances!
Whether the stars are aligned for these couples, or luck plays a big role in their meeting; seniors have to be a bit more extroverted and aggressive to meet in these settings.
5. Senior Living Communities
Believe it or not, many find companionship and love in senior living communities. Whether it’s independent living or assisted living, being in close proximity and sharing activities, meals and lives together in these close-knit communities contributes to seniors’ happiness and overall quality of life. Read these stories of seniors who found love in assisted living and discover why love prospered in these unlikely places.
Getting Past Dating Obstacles
While seniors desire love and romance, they face obstacles beyond the social norms and taboos. Demographic, biological and psychological factors can all make it challenging for seniors to form romantic relationships, which is why dating can be so challenging for many seniors.
Here are a few obstacles many seniors need to get passed in their twilight years:
- Women live 8 years longer than men. This means that there are many lonely widowed women whose prospects of finding another partner are slim. For example, in assisted living communities there is an average of seven women for each man.
- The older men who are eligible often seek younger wives. It is common for older men to start a new family rather than pairing up with someone his own age.
- Older women often come to see themselves as unattractive because of society’s worship of youth and the concept that only a young woman is beautiful.
- Older men often develop a sense of inferiority because they are less virile compared to their younger selves.
Happiness is important at any age, but companionship plays a huge role in contributing to good quality of life and happiness as a senior citizen. If you or a loved one desires companionship after age 65, you need to be proactive to rediscover the art of flirting, being confident and finding a way to meet people.
Whether choosing an expert service, moving to an independent living community or searching online works for your situation — it’s important to find your ‘joie de vivre’ by seizing the day. After all, you are not getting any younger.