Isn’t it wonderful to know that love can bloom at ANY age? Valentine’s Day is here and love is in the air for everyone. In these modern times, there are so many interesting ways to meet new people and no matter your age it is smart to practice safety.
Online dating can be tricky! A caution about online dating from Shawna Reeves, IOA’s Director of Elder Abuse Prevention, “No sites vet their users, and it is impossible for a person to vet on their own due to the minimal amount of information available to users.” She adds, “All dating sites are ‘user beware’ at this time.” Reeves urges seniors to use caution and common sense, as there have been incidents of sex offenders registering on certain dating sites. Some simple rules to follow when meeting someone from an online site for the first time: set up the date in a public place such as a restaurant or coffee shop, don’t give out personal information right away (and keep it off your profile, as well as check your online privacy settings), and do a quick search on the person you are meeting beforehand.
As always there’s the old fashion way to meet potential dating partners too – through family and friends, through activities such as sporting events and singles clubs, and through religious organizations such as churches or synagogues.
AARP has a great guide to “what to expect on your first date” when meeting someone new for the first time. The fun part of dating is experiencing feelings of nervousness and giddiness, like you did as a 13-year-old, if the date is going well! AARP also cautions that seniors should also be on high alert for warning signs such negative comments or an unwillingness to be forthright that could indicate the person is not a good match for you.
You’ve met someone that you enjoy spending time with. Great! But don’t go flinging fast-forward into a relationship without keeping your eyes open. Seniors can be one of the most vulnerable groups for online romance scams that can leave them feeling helpless, robbed or worse. Among other things, experts advise that older adults should ensure that their finances are safe and secure, especially if marriage or co-habitation is being discussed. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) offers these guidelines to avoid the Sweetheart Scam.
While there are definitely several precautions to take, dating at an older age can be FUN and rewarding, and give seniors a new and refreshed outlook on life!