Dating and modern technology are not words that the average person tends to associate with older people, but fresh statistics from a national study on the shifting attitudes of Australian seniors show that they are beginning to embrace the idea of using technology to find personal connections.
Outside of dementia, social isolation may be the biggest issue of concern for our rapidly ageing population, which makes the transition to this less-traditional method of social interaction somewhat unsurprising.
Statistics that were compiled by the Australian Seniors and CoreData Dating Survey show that 1 in 5 Australian seniors who are not currently in a serious relationship are dating, and 3 out of 4 who are not currently dating anyone, hope to be dating soon.
The stereotypical image of the elderly widow refusing to look for love after the death of a spouse is well known, but the idea of an older person finding meaningful connection and love in their twilight years is a significantly more heartwarming and positive outcome.
Australian seniors are still willing to utilise the more established methods of courtship, but 60% of those who are currently dating have used online websites and dating apps to find a match, and 60% of those surveyed also felt that the dating process is easier because of new technology.
This need for companionship should not be mistaken for desperation, as 63 percent of surveyed seniors said that they would prefer to “play the field” until they find the right person, instead of just settling for someone.
While 55 percent boldly declared that they would happily consider dating someone who was considerably younger than they are – Ooh La La!
While many would envision seniors to be reserved in their views towards physical intimacy while dating, 7 out of 10 dating seniors divulged their willingness to lock lips with their acquaintance on a first date.
Research has also revealed that entering the fray of the dating scene has a positive effect on a senior’s willingness to put more effort into their physical appearance, inspiring them to watch their weight, and pay close attention to their hairstyle and dress sense.
Half of those surveyed claim to feel less self-conscious in moments of physical intimacy, with 60% declaring that physical intimacy improves with age.
Unfortunately, the awkwardness surrounding the issue of who should pay for the date, does not appear to improve with age, as 56% of seniors believe the bill should be split evenly, while 21% still feel that covering the cost of the date is the responsibility of the male.
One thing that is for certain though, is that the most sought after trait that seniors are looking for in a dating partner is a sense of humour (83%) followed by companionship (78%) and someone who shares similar interests.
Despite the dating apps are geared towards romance, more than 40% of those surveyed have made new friends via dating apps and websites, and more than 20% would consider these people to be close friends.
It’s important to remember that feelings of emotional connection like love and friendship do not come with an expiry date or age bracket.
As a society, we need to embrace and encourage the idea of re-discovering love at an older age, because even though your first kiss may be the most memorable, the last kiss you have has to last for eternity.