Monthly Archives: October 2013

Senior Online Dating

Image courtesy of Ambro at

Image courtesy of Ambro at

As time moves on invitations from family members continue to pour in, spending time with the grand & great-grandchildren are wonderful, however there is a loneliness they cannot always fill. As a person gets older and more mature, dating seems less like finding a physical attraction and more like finding a well-rounded person who can fulfill many different needs. Whether your last marriage ended due to death or divorce, being elderly doesn’t mean you have to be alone.

First question you should ask yourself is, are you ready to date? Can you handle emotionally and financially what dating may or may not have to offer?  Dating can be stressful and of course at times it seems as if you’re the only fish in the sea and the rest of the people are algae.  Trying to find someone can make you feel more alone than when you started the journey.

Not much has changed in the way of dating, however meeting people to get to the actual date is drastically different. There are many social media sites that people can meet, online dating is specifically targeted to those who are looking for a relationship. Online dating sites have recently realized that targeting demographics is the way to spark new interest in their services, there are dating sites for farmers, ethnic races, geographic areas and of course seniors.

A list of a few of the more popular senior dating sites:


And of course if you are already on a dating site, you can limit the age ranges of the people you are looking for to include only seniors, it’s not necessary to change sites and have to write your profile all over again.  Remember that sites like Craigslist are not dating sites, these are general post sites, which means you could be getting more or less than you bargained for.

Notifying your family and close friends about your intentions may be stressful or to them may be a relief, you may also get one of the more tech savvy grandkids to help you with your profile.  Talking to people you care about is a necessary step, sharing with people who care about you also acts as a safety feature.  Remember that you care about them, so keeping them in the loop helps you both.

Beginner in online dating? First thing first, set up your profile and figure out what you want. This is mandatory on most sites, so if you are unsure about what you are looking for, take a day or two and figure out the attributes of the person you would like to have in your life down to hair color, age and even whether they are a smoker or not.  If you don’t specify what you want you will get a larger list of people to look at, some of the fields are required but specify so, and of course if you change your mind later, you may always change these details.  Also give thought to what you want people to know about you.  Remember to keep personal details and sensitive information about yourself off your profile, to avoid any possible scams or issues later.

What information is safe to give someone online:

  • Name
  • Birth Month
  • Things You Are Interested In
  • General Area you live or visit
  • How many children or grandchildren you have
  • General Hobbies (don’t specify where and when)
  • Culture and religion
  • Phone Number (when you start to get better acquainted)

What information you shouldn’t give to someone online:

  • Full Birthday (of you or anyone you care about)
  • Address (of you or anyone you care about)
  • Phone Number (of anyone you care about)
  • Mother’s Maiden Name
  • Children or Grandchildren’s Names
  • Social Security Number

Now that you’re a little more comfortable with the idea of dating and your family is too, think about the future.  Are you looking for a life partner?  Are you willing to relocate and what does that mean for your family?  These will all be questions you will come across sometime in the dating process.

Kathy Damer from a Blog Resource for Senior Dating says, “Take it slow. Be patient about meeting someone. If they are genuine they will have similar concerns about you being genuine too.  If the person is pushy about meeting you too soon this is not a good sign. Move on, even if you’re developing feelings. Easier to cut loose now than when it’s too late.”  You can find all of Kathy’s advice at

Online dating is filled with difficult way to decipher how someone feels about you by adding things such as winks, this is an easy way to say to another person that you are interested them without any pressure or commitment and of course no obligation to message you or wink back at you.

Always remember that you’re not the only person who might be learning to online date, so if someone doesn’t get back to you or it takes them a while to get back to you, don’t take it personal. They may not be interested, didn’t notice your message or wink, have little internet access, are shy, or generally don’t know what they are doing.

Messaging another person.  Remember to take it slow, ask them about their additional interests other than what is said on their profile, of course read their profile first.  If you agree to meet in person, remember to find a safe public location.  Always notify someone you are close to as to where you are going.  If you have a cell phone, remember to bring it with you just in case.

Meeting in person.  It’s so exciting when you finally meet someone in person.  Beware that a profile is often the reflection of what a person wants to be rather than who they really are (or what the writer thinks the person is), meeting them in person will help you discover that inner self.  Remember to keep an open mind and that you’re discovering more about this person every time you interact with them. Maybe jot down some notes about things to talk about and questions to ask.  The more you date the easier it will become, especially if you’ve been out of the scene for a while.

Deciding to Stop Communicating. Remember the golden rule, do unto others.  If you decide that you no longer want to communicate with a person, for whatever reason (discovering you aren’t ready to date, just don’t see eye to eye with them, found the love of your life, etc), remember to be respectful and tell them that you no longer wish to communicate so they aren’t wondering what happened to you.  If you decide to give a brief reason why, remember to make it brief, giving too many details may confuse the situation.  Remember that’s it’s okay to not like someone or just want to be their friend.  Understand that this may happen to you as well.  Things don’t always work out with everyone all the time but when it does the magic is worth all the heart ache.

Falling in love. Remember to talk to a lawyer before you pop the question.  Remember that when you get married your estate doesn’t necessarily get inherited by your spouse and your children’s inheritance isn’t always secure.  Don’t take any of this for granted.  You can find a lawyer in your state on our website: or

I hope you find these tips make it easier to figure out how the online dating world works and of course, best of luck to you in your endeavors.

Written by Valerie Michel Buck


Surviving Dementia through Laughter

Mark Twain wrote, “The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”

Professionals across the medical field agree that laughter is an effective medicine. It’s been shown to improve connections with others, increase blood flow to protect the heart, boost immune cells to fight infection, decrease stress through the discharging of physical and emotional tension, and trigger release of endorphins to relieve pain. But can the effects of laughter extend beyond the basic health benefits? Could it be used as a treatment for even the most devastating and incurable diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Debbie Harbinson, a certified laughter leader and outreach program manager at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, wrote: “For those with dementia, laughter can be instrumental in diffusing conflict and expelling the negative energy that so often causes them to retreat.” To further prove this theory, a group of humor therapists in New South Wales started the SMILE study. Over the course of three years, these humor therapists worked on 400 dementia-stricken people and found a twenty percent reduction in the patients’ agitated behavior like wandering, screaming, and aggression.

Speaking about the results of the study, Anne-Marie Botek from said, “Laughter may be just as effective as antipsychotic medications for reducing anxiety in elderly people with dementia.” Part of the SMILE study was conducted in Summit Care nursing where the owner, Barry Cowling, said that because of the humor therapy they were able to reduce psychotropic drugs or even have some of the patients come off of psychotropic drugs completely. “We had a woman who was totally non-verbal who started to have conversations with staff and her family,” Cowling said. The effects of the laughter therapy had reduced aggression and depression so well that Cowling and many other nursing homes made the laughter therapy permanent after the study.

There’s no refuting the effect and change that laughter can have in dementia patients, but it’s still not a cure. Dementia and other more serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s are difficult living with but even more difficult to experience as a caregiver or family member watching your loved one dissipate and forget who you are. As with many difficult situations in life, laughter can be used to help you and your loved ones view dementia in a new light. Laughter in these cases should not only be used to benefit the patient but should also be utilized by caregivers and family members who are also suffering.

Bill Cosby said, “Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” Sometimes it’s hard to see the end to the pain and we feel like we’re just trudging through from one day to the next, hoping somehow tomorrow will look brighter. It won’t. Not unless we do something about it.

People with dementia can sense the stress and unhappiness in those around them. You have a duty not only to yourself but to your loved ones to try to make the situation and environment as cheerful as possible. Gary LeBlanc talks about his experience learning to accept laughter as a caregiver for someone with Alzhiemer’s disease. He said:

“There is no doubt that there’s heartbreak and despair in watching your loved one dissipate. I would suggest that you keep your environment as cheerful as possible.

I know that some of you are shaking your heads and asking, “How?” Well, take it from a veteran; throughout the decade I spent caring for my dad and searching for ways to cope, I discovered laughter is the best medicine.”

As a caregiver, take advantage of free moments when your loved one is resting or otherwise engaged. Don’t spend this time alone wallowing in your thoughts of the future and allowing yourself to sink deeper into grief and depression. Don’t spend this time watching a movie that makes you cry or reading a book that only dampens your spirits. Find ways to laugh. Spend time with people who are more easily optimistic or in a better situation than you and can help you see the silver lining. Watch movies and read books that are humorous and take your mind of the situation.

Keep things in perspective. You won’t be a caregiver forever, and the world doesn’t revolve around you. Thousands of others across the globe are suffering with dementia whether they have the disease themselves or are affected through someone they love. Find healthy ways to deal with stress and depression. If that means you need to take medication, see a therapist, or simply go running more often, find what works for you. Look at what you do have, the small, almost unnoticeable blessings that make life worth it. Focus on those. Focus on love. As a caregiver or a family member, you are suffering because your loved one is suffering. Instead of focusing on the suffering, focus on how much you care about them and spend as much meaningful time with them as possible.

But above all, remember to laugh. Find a way, find a moment, and laugh every single day. As caregiver Gary LeBlanc said, “If I’m going to hurt, I’d rather have the pain be caused by laughing too hard. Throughout our caregiving journeys we deal with enough doom and gloom. Try to bring some sunshine and humor into your life. Never forget to laugh.”

In addition to helping yourself and the environment stay cheerful, you can find moments to laugh with your loved one. Depending on the stage of dementia your loved one is in, you may want to be more careful about telling a joke that could offend them because they don’t understand. For those with mild to moderate dementia, blatant, obvious, slapstick humor works best as they won’t get as easily confused.

For those with advanced or late-stage dementia, play games like you would with a child, tossing a ball back and forth and laughing when you miss catching it. Read silly books and make funny sounds. At this stage they may not specifically smile or laugh with you, but the enjoyment will still have a positive impact.

Whether you’re laughing on your own or with your loved one, make laughter a priority. It may seem cliché to say that ‘laughter is the best medicine.’ But it has been proven time and time again to improve health, both physical and emotional. Life is much better as we laugh through it. As William Shakespeare said, “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”

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