Ah, the good life. You’re retired (or almost retired), your kids are grown, and you’ve got the time to pursue your true interests and passions. You’re only missing one thing—someone with whom to spend your golden years. Single seniors make up a growing percentage of the population as people live longer and divorce becomes more common. So how can you find a new friend to spend time with or get back into the dating game? Here are ten great places for seniors to meet someone special.
1) Online Dating
According to the Pew Research Center, one in 10 Americans actively uses one or more online dating sites, and seniors make up a growing portion of the online dating pool. Not only can online dating help you connect on a more meaningful level than, say, being set up on a blind date, it also takes some of the guesswork out of the dating process. Online dating services allow you to pre-screen potential matches based on shared interests and life experiences.
The Pew Research Center also reports that Match.com is the most widely used site for online dating, catering to all age groups—but there are many niche options available, specifically for seniors. AARP Dating, OurTime and eHarmony’s Senior Singles are tailored to the needs and interests of the 65+ crowd.
2) Senior Living Communities
What if there was a way to immediately connect with a community of like-minded folks, with a regular schedule of new and exciting activities to keep you busy? Sounds perfect, right? You’ll find all this and more in an active adult community, where seniors often find their social calendars busier than when in their 20’s! Take advantage of a wealth of outings, classes and seminars, many of which are geared specifically toward single seniors. The best part? Most of it is all-inclusive for those who live in the community.
3) Community Events
There are plenty of single seniors where you live; you just have to get out there and meet them. If you’re the outgoing type, you might enjoy a community event hosted for single seniors in your area. Find them by doing a Google search for ‘senior events’ and the name of your city.
If the thought of diving headfirst into a pool of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes makes you a bit nervous, enlist a single friend to join you. Instead of viewing the event as a speed-dating free-for-all, take the pressure off by seeing it as an opportunity to make new friends. Expanding your social circle is often a gateway to meeting a new romantic partner. And remember, everyone is there for the same reason you are to connect with other seniors and potentially find a partner.
4) Places of Worship
If you’re religious, your place of worship is a wonderful outlet to meet other single seniors. Houses of worship offer a safe and community minded location for you to meet individuals that you know share your same set of values. This automatically helps you whittle down the dating pool.
Many churches and temples offer weekly or monthly events specifically for single retirees, like dinners and social outings. Places of worship also offer groups for widows and widowers, along with religious study groups organized by age.
With your kids out of the house and your job responsibilities drawing to a close, your golden years are the perfect time to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. No one knows you better than your friends and family, so through them you may meet a potential love match.
Let your friends know you’re open to dating, and take them up on invitations to meet new people. Attend parties and organize gatherings of your own, inviting friends to bring new guests. The deepest romances often begin as friendships, especially later in life.
6) Group Fitness Classes
Staying in shape is key to living a long and enjoyable life, and it just might be your ticket to meeting the partner you’ll spend the rest of that life with. Group fitness classes for seniors, like Silver Sneakers, are often social environments with a strong spirit of community among students. Your local YMCA is a great place to find group fitness classes for seniors.
Studies have shown that when you treat your body right, you’ll look and feel better inside and out. Meeting someone special might be an added bonus.
7) Social Media
Social sites like Facebook aren’t just for tracking down old classmates—they’re also a wonderful platform for meeting other singles. It’s all about the approach. On Facebook, for example, “friending” people you don’t know personally isn’t recommended. Instead, use the search bar to find groups geared toward single seniors.
In these group environments, connecting and chatting with other members is welcome. Once you’ve conversed with someone you find interesting, then it’s appropriate to reach out with a friend request.
8) Pursue Hobbies
Repeated studies have shown that shared interests are an important aspect for couples to make an initial connection, and individual interests are important to maintaining a long-term relationship. Cultivate both fronts by taking up a new hobby or spending more time on one you’ve always loved. Have a green thumb? Join a local gardening club or host a backyard workshop.
Love the theater? Become a patron of the arts. By pursuing things that naturally interest you, you’ll not only find greater fulfillment in your days, you’ll increase your chances of meeting someone who shares your passions.
It’s proven that volunteering is good for the soul. Once your 9-to-5 winds down, volunteering is a worthwhile way to spend your time and meet new people, specifically other retirees.
You might volunteer at a local organization, like the library or soup kitchen, or spend time helping folks in your own neighborhood with small projects around the house. This is a great way to branch out beyond your typical social circle and meet people you might not have otherwise. Give and you shall receive.
More and more people are embracing the solo travel movement, and there are countless travel options for senior singles, from cruises to European tours. Eldertreks.com, for example, specializes in active experiences for seniors abroad, while Trip Advisor’s Senior Travel Forum offers many great ideas submitted by members.
There’s nothing better than a long plane or train ride for getting to know someone new. Also, even if you don’t meet that special someone, you are going to have amazing experiences and see the world.