Americans are living longer and staying more active well past retirement, so it’s no surprise that the senior dating scene is more vibrant than ever. Demographics alone play a role; our population of divorced seniors has doubled since the 1990s, and the AARP estimates that 45% of people over 65 are divorced, separated, or widowed. That’s a sizeable dating pool, and it’s growing every year.
Perhaps you count yourself among those single seniors hoping to find love again, or you have a parent thinking of re-entering the dating scene. Human nature may remain constant, but the ways that singles are finding one another have likely changed enormously since Mom or Dad first played the field – most notably, through the use of the Internet. Here’s a look at how seniors today are navigating the dating landscape and discovering love again, both through digital means and in person:
According to the Pew Research Center, 38% of American singles are using online dating services, and older Americans are falling right in step with this trend. In fact, the number of seniors using dating apps and websites doubled between 2013 and 2015, and is currently considered the fastest-growing segment of online daters. Here are some of the most popular sites seniors 65+ are using right now:
- AARP Dating: Partnering with the website “What About We”, the AARP has created its own online dating service with a free trial membership that makes it easier to dive right in. The site features an “I’m Intrigued” button akin to Facebook’s “like” button, advice from a dating expert, and the popular “Pick a Date” feature that lets users offer a quick personality sketch through an easy series of questions.
- Our Time: This popular site for people 50+ has seen its membership grow over 400% since it was founded in 2011. With its corresponding free app, Our Time offers users a good range of membership packages that allow multiple user-friendly search and outreach options to spot potential mates.
- eHarmony Senior Dating: After extensively researching thousands of married couples, eHarmony founder and clinical psychologist Neil Clark Warren offers his signature 29 Dimensions of Compatibility questionnaire to help seniors streamline the search process based on what he calls “deep compatibility”.
Before your mind jumps to bowling and cribbage, time to adjust your expectations. There are now over 10,000 senior centers in the US, offering everything from language classes to aerobics to robust volunteer opportunities – and yes, dating opportunities too! These community centers can be a great way for seniors to meet outside the confines of an actual date, without the pressure of expectations, and simply get to know one another organically. Check in with the National Council on Aging to find one in your neighborhood.
Assisted Living Communities
These vibrant senior communities are another great example of older Americans leading longer and more active lives, and finding love again is certainly part of that landscape. Over 75% of seniors moving into assisted living are single, divorced, or widowed, many of them having resigned themselves to perhaps remaining so for the rest of their lives. But choosing to live within a community offers these seniors new opportunities for companionship, such as time relaxing at Happy Hour, or spent together exchanging ideas in book group or a painting class.
Thinking of giving dating a try but not sure where to start? You might want to consider hiring a dating coach or matchmaking service – yep, that’s a real thing! Learn more at the New York Times.