formats

Used with care, online dating can be helpful

Q:  I have been widowed for a long time, a good friend is in the same situation. We are left out of some social events because we no longer have a partner. Neither of us really want to get married again but have talked about finding someone we could go out to dinner with and enjoy the companionship of a man. We know meeting someone on-line is popular these days but we feel a little vulnerable about pursuing this option. Are there ways to do this and protect ourselves?

A:   A Pew study noted between 2013 to 2015 the number of on-line dating users in the 55-64 age group doubled from 6% to 12%. While those figures appear small it indicates older adults are becoming more savvy, comfortable and interested in pursuing this option to meet a companion and/or possibly a love interest.

There are numerous sites such as OurTime, Stitch and SeniorPeopleMeet specifically geared to a mature audience. If you decide to give this method of meeting someone a try go on-line to look at the various sites. Pay attention to fees attached if applicable and the profile format. Determine if you are comfortable with the information required and spend time deciding what you want to reveal about yourself.

In looking at the profiles of those who may peak your interest try to get a sense of who they are and trust your instincts. Restrict conversations to the site’s messaging system as opposed to providing your personal email. Until you are convinced this is someone trustworthy do not give out your home phone number or address. If you arrange to meet the individual choose a public space and notify a friend where you will be. You might even ask your friend to call you after a reasonable period of time to make sure everything is going smoothly…predetermine a code word if you need to be “rescued”.

Be circumspect in how much information you reveal about yourself in the beginning of a possible relationship, steer clear of financial worth. Do a little sleuthing on your own, run a google search on the person. Check Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to see if the information originally provided matches with those accounts.

 

Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.

Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to ageinfo@esmv.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the CEO of Elder Services.