By Adrienne West
NoVA is fourth in the nation for highest life expectancy rates, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, with men reaching an average age of 81 and women even higher at 84. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that over one-third of those aged 65-plus are divorced, widowed, separated or have never married. This translates to an abundance of seniors who are ready to explore the dating scene and find that perfect person, whether it’s for companionship or a relationship. But how do seniors navigate the dating scene in 2016?
There are numerous websites to help them find what they’re looking for. Each one caters to mature clientele with local searches according to your preferences like hobbies, lifestyle and background: ourtime.com, dcsingles.com, singleandover50.com, eharmony.com, match.com and meetup.com are the most commonly used.
Judi Niedercorn, the founder of McLean Social Club on Meetup.com, started the club out of personal necessity. Recently divorced, she found herself restarting her social life in new ways. “I found it easier to commit to going out and meeting new people if I hosted the events myself, and Meetup provided the mechanism to get me out and about.” Niedercorn adds that it can be difficult for some people to become socially active again after going through divorce or death of a spouse. “Our format [works because] we have a quieter, more intellectual and professional group and our events are smaller and more about conversation. We enjoy one another’s company, get to know each other and do group activities that are ‘off calendar’ as people get to know one another over time,” she says.
Mayumi Okada, founder of Sophisticated, Single and Seasoned on Meetup.com, has similar insight. She explains that those over 65 are “retired, semiretired or thinking about retirement.” The next stage in their life is a challenging prospect for many. She created her group more for conversation and friendship, not necessarily dating, but Okada reports seeing more dating in her group than through dating sites she personally uses, and she thinks she knows why. “Our members are all well-educated [and] have a professional background, so we have a group of similar people. They are finding people like them,” she says.
The takeaway from all this is for seniors to embrace whatever stage of life they are in and utilize all the resources that are out there in this age of technology. Don’t be afraid to meet new people, and most importantly, have fun with it.