A supportive and nurturing environment in senior living serves residents’ wholeness and wellness. But is it enough? Body and mind receive the bulk of the focus through activities and services designed to stimulate, even rejuvenate, physically and mentally. The “spirit” is given its nod, but a crucial and often overlooked element of healthy living is the heart. I am speaking of romantic love and intimacy.
One need only watch the trailer for the documentary “The Age of Love” to appreciate how the desire for love and romance does not die at any age. This documentary follows 30 seniors as they participate in a unique Speed Dating event exclusively for ages 70 – 90. The enthusiasm and excitement of the participants are remarkable as they seek to find a romantic connection through the fast-paced dynamics of speed dating.
For many seniors, dare we say most, love remains a crucial element in a full and robust life. To love and be loved knows no age limits and yet the available avenues to pursue intimate relationships diminish with age.
This may be the single greatest challenge for seniors — the desire, perhaps even need, for romance. Senior communities have a unique and fantastic opportunity to offer support to residents who are not done dating.
A multitude of dating sites, for older people, are waiting to be explored. And each has its own personality and focus. Aside from sites specifically designed for seniors, there are dating sites for dog lovers, foodies, golfers, movie buffs, and on and on. Any site may offer safe and personalized introductions to suitable matches from the security of home.
Dating and Senior Living Residents
Don’t assume your residents are beyond dating. They may very well be ready but need some assistance in order to successfully navigate the world of online dating. Creating an honest and appealing online profile can be tough for anyone and yet, it is critical to success. It provides the all-important first impression and requires objectivity, honesty, and a little creativity.
For instance, your residents may need help taking and posting photographs that are recent and flattering, yet accurate.
The process may overwhelm residents with limited computer skills. Residents may be hesitant to seek help or even know the questions to ask. Texting, messaging through the sites, using emojis, and internet lingo may be daunting. Online dating may even carry a kind of emotional stigma, inhibiting a resident from seeking help.
The Best Decisions
The best decisions are not made in the middle of the night when a resident is feeling lonely. Yet these are the very moments of desperation that lead people to quickly sign up, pay for a site, and cobble together a weak profile that receives few responses. With little or no success, they give up, or worse find themselves victims of scam artists.
The desire to find romance should be addressed specifically, without embarrassment. On-site activities are wonderful opportunities for interaction, but a dating site provides a clear, defined avenue for romantic pursuals.
Senior Living communities are in a unique position to help residents figure this out.
Greta Muller is a veteran presentation coach and author of OPENING YOUR PRESENCE: Presenting the You, You Want Others to See and is applying her expertise in authentic communication to the world of on-line dating for seniors.