by Sherrin Griffin VP, Operations, Sidney SeniorCare –
Since February is considered heart month, I thought for this column I would explore a certain matter of the heart that is both scintillating yet complicated, and at times angst-ridden as well – the world of dating; in this case, dating for seniors.
Now I know that some people may scoff at the idea of seniors dating and think that our love life is all washed up past the age of 60 or even younger, but trust me: when we get to that age ourselves we realize that’s not the case at all. Our bodies may be older, but our hearts still yearn for love and even desire.
After the passing of a spouse or perhaps a divorce, seniors often find themselves lonely and unsettled. While some prefer to remain alone, others search out new partners for companionship, security and, yes, even love, including physical intimacy. While the normal process of aging may affect the frequency and ability to perform sexually, studies show that most men and women between the ages of 50 and 80 are still interested in sex and intimacy. Many seniors continue to enjoy a healthy sex life well into their 80s.
So where do seniors meet other like-minded seniors looking for love? Statistics tell us that there are “silver singles” out there; however, finding them can be a bit challenging, by conventional standards that is.
Older people tend to go out less socially, or typically have less opportunity to get out and meet potential partners, than those in their 20s, 30s, or 40s. The pool of available partners tends to decrease as one ages, with less personal connections and workplace interactions after we retire. Combine that with our current era where electronic communication seems to be the preferred mode and many people meet online rather than in person. It must seem terribly strange and impersonal for those seniors interested in meeting a potential love match. And throw in the challenges of having to navigate the electronic technology required; it’s enough to scare off even the most resolute of seniors.
Yet in today’s world, the one place where you can reliably find others who are interested in mature dating is the internet. And, according to the Washington Post, those aged 50+ have been the fastest-growing group of online daters, since 2007.
I must admit I was amazed to find the number of dating sites specifically geared to seniors in every age category imaginable. However, considering that as of 2020, approximately one in six Canadians were 65 or over, and with Baby Boomers at almost 30% of the Canadian population, it really shouldn’t be surprising.
Online dating provides seniors with a way to meet people they wouldn’t have a chance to meet otherwise, with opportunities for social activities, travel, and companionship. Finding new romance can dramatically improve seniors’ quality of life and increase self-esteem, confidence, happiness and overall optimism. The British Columbia Psychological Association states that happiness levels rise with the frequency of sex – no matter how old the participants. Finding love again as a senior single can make you feel rejuvenated, whether this includes sex or simply loving companionship which is essential to good health, well-being and even our longevity. Research shows that people who are involved in loving relationships live an average of 3.7 years longer. Can you think of a better reason to keep your dating card open?