More older adults are single today than ever before. A longer life expectancy accounts for part of it. The National Institute on Aging predicts that by the year 2050, we will see a 188% increase in the number of adults over the age of 65 and a 355% increase in people over the age of 85.
Grey divorce, a term coined to describe a growing number of adults who are getting divorced in retirement years, is another reason. Americans over the age of 50 are twice as likely to get divorced as their peers were twenty years ago.
University of Washington, Seattle sociologist Pepper Schwartz says this time in history is the best time for seniors who are single and looking to find love again. Schwartz, who is also an advisor for an online dating company, says seniors are “looking for someone to experience life with.”
One avenue older adults are turning to for making new connections is online dating. While some of these sites are legitimate and filled with people genuinely interested in making connections, exercising good judgment is important. And sometimes navigating your way through single life again begins with widening your circle of friends.
Expanding Social Networks When You Are Single Again
If you spent the majority of your time in recent years acting as a caregiver for a spouse, you might find yourself with a smaller social circle than you previously had. The same is true if you are suddenly single because of a divorce.
While you are grieving the loss of a partner or marriage, it might help to rebuild your social networks. Finding and spending time with adults who have experienced similar struggles is a great way to do that. But meeting people isn’t always easy.
Here are a few suggestions to consider:
- Volunteer your time for a cause you are interested in. Your local United Way is a good place to explore volunteer opportunities near you.
- Investigate what social groups there are for seniors at your church, synagogue or other religious organization. Many have dedicated organizations within the church that meet on a regular basis to socialize.
- Take a class at one of Seattle’s many non-profit organizations, such as the Lifetime Learning Center or the Seattle Public Library
- Join a fitness club that offers classes for older adults. Many YMCA organizations have Tai Chi, water aerobics and other senior-friendly exercise programs.
Each of these can provide you with an opportunity to make new friends.
5 Online Dating Safety Tips for Seniors
If you decide you are ready to try online dating, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself. Older adults have fallen victim to scammers who use dating sites to target seniors for fraud and identity theft.
Here are a few steps you can take to stay safe:
- Consider starting with sites dedicated to older adults. Best Senior Dating Sites reviews the top five online dating sites for older adults to make it a little easier to find one and get started.
- Once you make an online connection, talk through email and on the telephone before meeting in person. Write down some of the details you find out about the person.
- While no one wants to seem overly suspicious, you must put safety first. Use Google or another search engine to search for their name and see what you can find.
- When you are confident the person is who they say they are, meet in public places the first few times. Always let a friend or family member know where the meeting will take place and at what time you will check in with them afterward to let them know you are safe.
- Ask to meet your new connection’s friends and family members. While older adults might have a smaller circle of close loved ones than they used to, not having any can be a warning sign. The person might be married or not who they claim to be.
- Protect your finances by keeping documents with your banking and social security numbers locked in a drawer or safe. Scam artists are often very good about gaining people’s trust and accessing confidential information. Many seniors don’t realize they’ve been taken until calls from debt collectors begin or they reconcile their checkbook.
We hope this information helps you find happiness and safely transition to a new chapter in life!