Friday, January 29, 2010

Aging and Dating

The holiday decorations are coming down and the snow is slowly lightening; fancy chocolates and heart-shaped lollipops now line the grocery store shelves. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, the IU News Room featured tips for romance from researchers in various departments. Phil Stafford of the CAC put in his two cents with tips for dating as you age:

There is no existing expiration date for having romantic relationships. "Relationships do not fade in importance as we age," says Phillip Stafford, director of the Center on Aging and Community at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University. In fact, "relationships can loom more important if someone experiences the loss of a partner," Stafford adds," which can be an unfortunate consequence of long life."

Stafford lists a few places where older adults are known to seek and find newfound relationships:

•Church and church events. Social activities in local religious settings are non-forced opportunities to meet people without preconditions or commitments.

•Singles groups. In many towns and cities one finds "dating over 50" and singles groups advertised in the local news, including the traditional "wanted, SWF," Classified ads.

•Social media Web sites. is successful and rapidly growing online community for Baby Boomers interested in new relationships of all kinds, whether intellectual or romantic.

Just as with young people, personal finances play a role in dating. Seniors on limited budgets may not have the discretionary money to support an active social life. Seniors with money may, legitimately, be concerned that this new person interested in them is a "gold digger," a concern sometimes shared by their adult children, according to Stafford. For widowed men, it's a "buyer's market," given disparities in longevity by gender. "In my experience," says Stafford, "I have known older widowers who have a lot of delicious home-cooked meals provided to them. "On the other hand," he adds, "I have heard a lot of older widows remark that they'd just like to find an old guy who is not so helpless around the house."

The Center on Aging provides self-determination and social integration of aging adults with disabilities through participatory research, planning and advocacy. For more information visit

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