There are more single seniors today than ever before. A longer life expectancy combined with an increasing number of divorces later in life is a leading reason. Another is that more adults are choosing to remain single for their entire lives.
The National Institute on Aging estimates that by 2050, the United States will witness a 188 percent increase in the number of adults over the age of 65 and a 355 percent increase in people over the age of 85. Older Americans will likely outnumber younger ones for the first time.
Senior Divorce on the Rise in the United States
“Gray divorce” is a phrase used to describe the dramatic increase in the number of divorces that are occurring during retirement. Seniors in this country are getting divorced at twice the rate of their peers 20 years ago.
Researchers say gray divorce is linked to the following:
- Growing apart: Baby boomers unhappy in their marriage are more willing to divorce than the generations before them were. This could be because boomers are living longer. They are healthier and more active than past generations.
- Less stigma: Seniors today don’t have to worry about outdated stigmas surrounding divorce like earlier generations did. Because it is more common now, getting divorced is more widely accepted.
- Women’s financial independence: Because many female baby boomers had careers of their own, they may enjoy greater financial independence. This makes them more confident in their ability to survive on their own if they get divorced.
Those who find themselves single during retirement years might be reluctant to get back into the dating scene. It can also make their adult children concerned for their safety.
Seniors and Dating: Safety Tips for Expanding Social Networks
If you or a senior loved one is starting to date again, it’s important to know how to do so safely. This is especially true with so many people connecting through online dating sites and social media channels. Both can create unique safety risks.
Seniors have fallen victim to identity theft perpetrated by scammers who use dating sites to target older adults. These con artists prey on seniors who might be overly trusting or not tech-savvy.
Here are a few steps you can take to stay safe if you are connecting with someone online:
- Senior-specific dating sites: A growing number of dating sites makes it easier for older adults to safely connect online. Silver Seniors, Christian Mingle, and Our Time are a few that earn positive reviews.
- Phone and email contact: Don’t rush an in-person meeting. Instead, talk via email and telephone first. Keep some notes about your phone call. Trust your instincts—if something doesn’t add up, don’t move forward with an in-person meeting.
- Background checks: While it might seem unnecessary and overly suspicious, it’s important to do a little checking before you meet someone in person. Enter their name into a Google search to see what you can find. If the potential new partner attends a church, synagogue, or some other group, see if anyone you know there knows them.
- Meet in public: If you feel confident the person is who they say they are, agree to meet but only in a very public place the first few times. Consider taking a friend along or at least informing a loved one when and where the meeting will take place. Set up a time to check in with them afterward so they know you are safe.
- Protect your finances: Con artists and scammers are very good about gaining people’s trust so they can access financial information. Keep identifying personal and financial information locked in a drawer or safe. That includes social security, insurance, and Medicare cards, as well as boxes of extra checks. Many times, older adults don’t realize they’ve become a victim of identity theft or fraud until calls from debt collectors begin or their bank statement arrives in the mail.
We hope these tips help you or a senior in your family safely build new friendships.
Expand Your Social Network at Sunrise Senior Living
It isn’t uncommon for a senior’s social network to shrink. Friends move away to be closer to adult children. And leaving the working world behind often means losing work friends, too. It can lead to fewer friendships and social opportunities.
Making new friends and enjoying social activities are a few of the leading reasons older adults cite for their decision to move to a senior living community. Visit the Sunrise community nearest you to learn how we help older adults live their best life every day!