Online Dating for the Elderly

In 2011 the baby boomer generation will be entering their golden years. That means about 25% of our population will be over the age of 65 and more of us than ever will be caring for parents. Some of that 25% will be armed with knowledge of computers and a prescription for Viagra. It's no wonder that online dating sites are seeing large increases in the number of elderly who are signing up for their services. What are they looking for?

  • Friendly relationships
  • Similar interests
  • Good health
  • Financial security

Seniors can find it difficult to meet new people. They normally have to depend on friends, relatives or a caregiver to introduce them to someone. Or they may meet someone at church, a volunteer job or at an event they are attending. The online dating sites give them more options.Most seniors aren't looking for long term commitment or a substitute caregiver. They're simply looking for someone who shares the same interests.  A person they'd like to go to dinner with or see a movie together. The other person's health is a big concern when looking for someone to date. Their financial situation is normally a secondary concern.

computerdating, elderly dating, online datingTransportation is another tricky issue. They don't want their caregiver dropping them off at the movies like a couple of teenagers. Cabs can get pricey and it's hard to pick up your date on a bus. That's why some seniors at online dating sites are just looking for a pen pal.

While you probably never thought you'd have to lecture your parents about dating, it may be time to put on your caregiver hat and tackle it. But what do you say to a parent who's signed up for an online dating site?

The rules that apply to every one else apply to seniors as well. Remind them not to reveal too much personal information about themselves at first. Home addresses, telephone numbers and schedules are best kept private.

They should never, ever, ever, send money or give banking or credit card information to anyone they've met on the internet. I know of one gentleman who sent a lady he'd met on an online dating site money so she could travel to see him. Needless to say, once she received the cash he never heard from her again.

A reputable online dating site may be a good option for a tech savvy parent. All they need is a computer and an internet connection. There are a few of the online dating sites that are geared especially to seniors or they may opt to sign up for a more mainstream site such as or eHarmony.

Are you caring for a parent who has used an online dating site? What was their experience? Please leave a comment and share what you've learned with other caregivers.

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--Mary Ann Powers

16 Responses

  1. My mom just got a new notebook with internet connection ... I'm sure that this will be the first thing she will look at :)
  2. My mom is 65 years old. She lost my dad 7 years ago and has decided to get back on the "dating" track. She joined a couple of online dating sites. I recently checked her email and come to find out she was giving out personal information (phone number, address) to some of the men she was talking to. I had to have a "little talk" with her and help her understand that its not safe. Dating today is not like it was when she was in her twenties. There are so many more risks involved and lots of people willing to take advantage of the elderly. She was only talking to two men online and I did runa check (I have a little bit of connection capability) on them. Luckily they were okay men without a hidden agenda. ZBut it was scarey to know that my mom could be oblivious to to what is obvious to others.
  3. A lovely post. My mom is in her 70's and I've actually never thought of her joining a dating site. I doubt she'll agree though. PerhapsI'll try and suggest it. It'll give her an interest.
  4. admin
    I think even if they don't use the social networks for dating, it is a great way for them to meet others. Still, Andrea's advice about explaining to them the importance of privacy issues and not giving out to much info is important as well!
  5. Your Message<a href="#comment-103" rel="nofollow">@Jackie Taylor:</a> I completely agree Jackie. Just because they may be deteriorating physically, it's no reason to isolate them socially.
  6. Your Message<a href="#comment-112" rel="nofollow">@Laura:</a> Laura, I think it's great that your mom is on the web. Let us know how it goes with her.
  7. Your Message<a href="#comment-119" rel="nofollow">@Andrea:</a> Andrea, I don't think that most people realize how much information they put out there for other people. I'm glad that your mom is finding friendship online and that she has you to look out for her best interests.
  8. Your Message Oh dear! You make it sound as if anyone over 65 is infirm and unable to get places on their own. And here's a hint - you may want to update your terminology. Language calling 65 year olds "elderly" or "senior" is quite outdated.
  9. Your Message<a class="replyTo" href="#comment-347" rel="nofollow">@Grace:</a> Hi Grace, You know, I recently read an article at The New Old Age saying this as well. How should we refer to those 65 and over? Mary
  10. Do you have a dating site to recommend? I am female and 67. Thank you.
  11. My mother is 67 and my father died 24 years ago. I would love her to find someone as she is so loving and still extremely attractive. The problem is, she is so fit and active, everyone appears so old to her! Men her age look like her father, and men her age think she is gorgeous. My mother would agree with Grace! By the mother runs a 1500ha cattle property, drives a tractor, rides a quad bike and is too busy to date! Mary Miller
  12. Hi Mary, In my work, we use the word "elders". I like "older people".
  13. Pat
    Your Message At 69, I prefer 'mature adult'. I'm NOT elderly!
  14. Even the not-so-tech-savvy elder can use an online dating service with the help of their adult children. Software enables the adult child to go on the elder's computer and be virtually present, to sign up for the service, to post a profile, etc. The elder has to have rudimentary computer skills, but not much else. We're helping my 86 year old mother-in-law do this now. She joined JDate (Jewish dating) and has had a lunch date and several inquiries. She needs company, as she's lonely, being widowed about a year ago.. This takes some doing and patience, but it is a hopeful alternative to sitting around waiting for something to happen. Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Attorney,
  15. Pat
    When I was widowed, i searched for a connection that I could use at night or whenever I felt lonely and there are some really good sites on the internet for grief. I've gotten to some really good friends and have met some in person and even traveled out of the country with one. There is no reason to be terribly lonely with computers handy all hours. My hobby has also helped me make some very good friends who I have have shared a very important times with.. Yahoo groups is one place to begin as is a Google search for hobbies. It makes a world of difference to life!
  16. Great article - I didn't really think about the problems the elderly have in getting together socially. We take getting together for granted when we can just hop in the car and visit. It is often a lonely world for the elderly and we should all try to facilitate safe social networking for them.
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