One thing we have been struck with has been the important role that dinner plays in the social (or not-so-social) lives of most older adults.Nobody likes the idea of spending years cooking for themselves and eating alone.Many seniors really are looking for companionship and nothing more. A recognition that most older adults are prepared for the fact that no single person may be the solution to all their social needs, that they may be just as well served by multiple companions.Some are seeking someone to have dinner with, some are looking for someone to travel with them, others are looking for someone to share their favorite activities. There is an entire spectrum of dating that goes far beyond the marriage-oriented online dating services available today. Far more than their younger counterparts, older adults feel much more comfortable evaluating a potential match in the real world instead of online.Several of today’s dating services are built specifically around this concept: Grouper, for example, hooks up groups of young people in bars and offers them a free first drink as part of the package. The fundamental premise behind most dating services for young people is that the ultimate goal is to find love and marriage.While this is true for some older adults, it is far from universal.
This reinforces a message that young people get hammered with on a daily basis: nothing matters more than how you look.With the obsession that today’s media has with youth and appearance, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s only the young who are looking for companionship, that dating is a young person’s game. Which of the following images do you think the media is more likely to use to accompany an article on online dating? At the same time, more older adults over 55 find themselves single and looking, either through divorce or the tragic loss of a husband or wife they loved for many years.This means that there are more seniors and baby boomers than ever before looking for some companionship to fill the void of their prior partner.Once you get into your fifties and beyond, the actual number of your age becomes less and less significant.Far more important is what shape you are in, how healthy you are, what activities you can do. If you’re active and like going for long walks and playing golf, you’re going to be much more interested in the fit and energetic 82-year-old who can share your activities than the 65-year-old with the hip replacement who can no longer walk long distances. Stitch Update: the registrations we are now seeing for Stitch is consistent with this sentiment, where the 50% of people are seeking companionship and not romance are telling us that age isn’t important to them as long as their companion can keep up with them.