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:
- 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 www.senior-dating.org
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: http://www.longtermcarelink.net/a2cfindattorney.htm or http://www.longtermcarelink.net/a7estateplanning.htm
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
Valentine’s Day holds different meanings for people in various stages of life. Young single women just getting over their last breakup are cynical about the ‘day of love.’ Newly-wed couples approach Valentine’s Day with passion. Older couples, married for many years, approach the day with a hope for rekindling love. For many of the elderly, Valentine’s Day is a time of broken smiles and bittersweet memories of a spouse who has moved on.
When most people think about Valentine’s Day, words such as ‘romance,’ ‘dating,’ and ‘love’ come to mind. Love is an interesting word. It is most often used to denote the love between a man and a woman, or romantic love. However, ‘love’ comes in many more forms: the love of inanimate objects, the simple love of an owner to his dog, the love of friends to each other, the love of a leader to his people, and the enduring bond of love within a family.
I had a friend who would always say: “Valentine’s Day is pointless. If you have to have a day to remind you to tell someone you love them then you don’t really love them at all.” Valentine’s Day may be dubbed ‘the day of love,’ but within in a family especially, everyday should be a day in which you take a moment to let those you care about know just how much you love them.
In Shakespeare’s Sonnet #73, Shakespeare talks about how there’s a special almost more affectionate love that the younger generation has for those who are elderly and will soon leave them. This sonnet speaks to the simple truth that we love more what soon might be taken from us. As Shakespeare said: “This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong, to love that well which thou must leave ere long.” What’s sad is when that love near the end of life is the only love our grandparents and parents ever receive from us.
There are many grandchildren who never even meet their grandparents, and even more who never have the opportunity or will to try to have a simple family relationship with them. Families begin together in one house and though age and circumstance may split them apart, the love or affection they once felt for each other should never be allowed to disappear.
Valentine’s Day may be a hard and lonely time for many of our elderly loved ones and not just those that have lost spouses. It may be hard for them because on that day, they have to watch young couples, friends, siblings, and young parents all expressing their love to each other while our elderly loved ones are spending the day mostly alone in a facility or at home. Many of us may make a special effort to reach out to our elderly loved ones on this ‘day of love’ just as we do on Christmas and other special occasions, but as my friend said, we should not make these special holidays the only time we let our elderly family members know how much we care.
In today’s world, many struggle telling people the words ‘I love you.’ When we were younger, our love seemed a lot freer to give than it is now. Sometimes the difficulty of saying those three words with true meaning makes them that much more special for our elderly loved ones to hear.
One day, maybe soon, we may lose our elderly loved ones. When that day comes, how much less painful will it be if we can say with surety, “They died knowing that I loved them.” Everyone needs to feel loved, everyone needs to feel needed. It is an innate part of human nature. Let us then not forget that our parents and grandparents need to feel that same love that we do.
Below is a poem by Krina Shah that sums of the simple love we should have for and share with our elderly loved ones:
“To love is to help and encourage,
with smiles and sincere words of praise,
to take time to share,
to listen and care
in tender, affectionate ways.
To love is to make special memories
of moments you love to recall;
of all the good things
that sharing life brings
love is the greatest of all.”
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, let’s not forget that ‘love’ can mean more than just romance. For you, love may mean protecting and watching out for those you care about. For another love can be simply taking a moment out of your busy life to have a conversation. For many, love means letting those you care about know that you’re thinking about them and that they have not been forgotten. Whatever you choose to do this week and in weeks to come, at least stop for a moment to think of your elderly loved ones and ask yourself, “What does love mean to me?”