Does our need for intimacy change as we age? That’s the question posed by The Age of Love, a documentary that’s smashing stereotypes and empowering single seniors to seek companionship. The film follows the adventures of a group of Rochester, New York, seniors who participated in a one-of-a-kind, speed-dating event for those between the ages of seventy and ninety.
However, speed dating isn’t the only way for seniors to find love. At senior living communities across the country, residents have a unique opportunity to meet and socialize with a variety of new people, discovering friendship as well as romance.
Holiday Retirement’s senior vice president of marketing, communications, and resident enrichment, Jamison Gosselin, helps explore the topic of seniors and dating, revealing how romantic relationships can blossom in senior living.
Seniors’ Need for Intimacy
Though some say the need for intimacy fades with age, Gosselin challenges that assertion.
“Regardless of your age, companionship and strong relationships with friends and family are important factors in an individual’s quality of life,” he says. “After all, it is quite rewarding to have a partner with whom to share the day’s ups and downs. That kind of partnership should not be reserved for people of a certain age.”
The social aspect of senior living confers tremendous benefits. Residential living typically offers plenty of activities and events for seniors to connect with each other as well as those in the local community. Inevitably, some of those connections can develop in romantic ways.
“At Holiday Retirement, we are firm believers that you are never too old to fall in love,” says Gosselin. “With so many opportunities to connect and bond with fellow residents who enjoy similar activities, it really comes as no surprise that love often blooms.”
Love in Senior Living
The evidence for love in senior living is compelling and widespread. In fact, those who work in the industry rarely find it surprising.
“Not a month goes by that we do not hear from one of our senior living communities announcing another couple of lovebirds sparking a romance,” Gosselin confirms.
Here, he shares a few stories of couples who have met and fallen in love in Holiday’s senior living communities:
Phil and Nina, Lakeview Park
Phil and Nina moved into the senior living community in Fenton, Missouri, within weeks of each other, and the two became fast friends. As they discovered they enjoyed many of the same activities, as well as each other’s company, a romance quickly blossomed. The two tied the knot in April 2015.
Judy and Asher, Edgewood Downs
When Judy moved into the senior living community in Beaverton, Oregon, she never expected to find love, but that’s exactly what happened at a community event on Valentine’s Day 2014. When asked about his sweetheart, Asher simply said, “We truly care about each other and it kept growing [into love].”
Ted and Pat, Park Plaza
After meeting at the senior living community in Walla Walla, Washington, Ted and Pat were soon inseparable and fell in love, much to the enjoyment of their fellow residents. In 2013, the couple made it official at a Park Plaza-hosted wedding surrounded by 150 residents. Guests included family, friends, and a fellow resident and former pastry chef who made their wedding cake.
Supporting Your Parent in a New Relationship
While you may initially feel awkward about your parent starting to date, fight through the discomfort, so you can support them during this exciting time. Follow their lead on how much to talk about the new adventure. If your parent wants to discuss the relationship with you, remain open to the conversation. On the other hand, if your parent would rather keep the details private, it’s best to respect his or her wishes.
You can also work to incorporate your parent’s significant other into family life. Visit together at the senior living community, invite them to family dinners, and perhaps even spend one-on-one time together. Your parent will appreciate the effort you make to embrace this important person in their life.
Though dating is probably not the first thing you think of when considering senior living, it’s clear that romance is in bloom in these communities.
“The camaraderie at senior living communities can help people foster new friendships and relationships, romantic or otherwise,” says Gosselin. “Finding love later in life is just one of many ways today’s seniors are showing age who’s boss.”
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