To honor the month most focused on matters of the heart, we’re exploring the world of dating and love among seniors.
It wasn’t long ago that common perception defined romance among seniors as an odd or unwise choice, perhaps even, a result of dementia. But that has changed—for a lot of reasons. Let’s look at a few:
Aging Does Not Make You Less Human
We all have a desire to love and be loved, regardless of our age. Yet, somehow, we often get in a pattern of thinking that assumes love is for the young. Being past your “prime” does not mean that you or your loved one don’t want some of the same things you had as a younger person or that you are incapable of those things. It also doesn’t mean that you are done learning and growing.
Relationships fulfill some of our most basic needs and certainly help us to expand our minds. If someone is living a long, healthy life, they may see many relationships come and go—but that doesn't mean that they should give up after a certain point. We are not allotted a set number of opportunities to love in life and in fact, there are many who would argue that if you are lucky enough to find love again, you shouldn’t be deprived of it.
Life Expectancy is Longer
People are living longer, that’s a fact. And people are having a higher quality of life in the later years than they used to. Living a healthy retired life often means spending more time pursuing happiness, and well, love and happiness just seem to go hand in hand. Additionally, with more men surviving longer, due to better drugs and treatments for common diseases among men (like heart disease and certain cancers) there are more prospective partners out there who are looking for someone to enjoy their time with.
Seniors are generally wealthier than they were in the 1960s. Constant incomes are more than triple what they were back then. That means that people are living more comfortably and are freer to enjoy themselves and focus on relationships, without stressing about how they are going to live out their days on a small income. Also, seniors have more affordable options for getting the care they need, like in-home care, that keeps them happy at home for longer and for less money.
Really! Another common misconception is that seniors don’t and can’t adapt to new technologies. But, there are actually plenty who do. In fact, if you look at the numbers for seniors who use online dating services, you have your proof. Since 2003, the numbers of seniors joining online dating services consistently rose at double-digit rates. At times, that has been the greatest rise of any age group.
Changes in Attitude
It’s a different world. People are changing their perspectives on love and marriage. Many elderly people aren’t interested in marriage because of the kinds of financial, logistical and family challenges it can cause them, but they still want a loving committed relationship. So, their stance on cohabitation has shifted. An indication of this attitude shift comes from census figures that show cohabitation among older people increased by 50% between the years 2000 and 2006.
These are just a few reasons why romance among seniors has become a healthy fact of life. Next time you spend time with a senior in your life, ask them about their perspective. They might surprise you with some insight you never would have anticipated!