Today's seniors are living longer, fuller and more vibrant lives than ever. Gone are the days of spending your golden years in solitude and isolation. Today, seniors are staying active well into their 70s, 80s and even 90s. Some go back to school to get the coveted degree they've always wanted.
Others cross items off their bucket lists by jumping out of an airplane, traveling to exotic places, taking a cruise or learning to square dance. Whatever their interests may be, seniors are following their dreams and making things happen.
But what about the romance department? You should never feel "too old" for love. And today's seniors are finding compatible companions to share their golden years with in assisted living communities, skilled nursing facilities, and at everyday events.
Love Might Come Easy, or It Might Not
For some, it's like fate and comes easily. But some seniors struggle to overcome painful pasts, such as the death of a spouse, a difficult divorce and other struggles that life throws in the path to happiness from time to time.
Widows and widowers sometimes struggle with guilt, feeling as though they're cheating on their spouse. Time does heal wounds, and eventually most come to terms knowing that their spouses would have wanted them to continue living a happy, fulfilling life.
It can also be challenging to avoid comparing potential partners to the love of your life who has passed on. But many seniors are able to overcome these obstacles and find lasting companionship and a love that's not better or worse than what they experienced before, but different and enriching in its own right.
Every day, seniors are finding partners to share the rest of their lives with in all kinds of places.
Love is Everywhere, If You're Open to It
Sunrise Senior Living told of one such story in a February 2012 blog post. Leah and John met in a senior living community, Leah having been divorced for 21 years. The couple had an instant connection, leading to John's proposal and the couple's eventual marriage, which had been going strong for nine years at the time the article was written.
Another example offered by Sunrise Senior Living is of 89-year-old Bob and a 90-year-old Nancy who met at bingo. Nancy hesitated to get too acquainted with another man. She had been a widow for 12 years. Eventually, however, she agreed to join Bob for dinner. At the time Sunrise Senior Living posted the story, the couple was engaged to be married.
It really is possible to find the perfect companion to share your golden years with.
Concerns for Adult Children and Other Family Members
Sometimes, adult children can have some conflicting emotions when an elderly parent considers jumping back into the dating pool. This often happens if the other parent has passed on, even if it's been many years. It's important for adult children and other family members to realize the value of having a loving companion.
CareConscious offers some excellent tips for caregivers and other family members to cope with the idea of an elder loved one having a late-in-life companion, such as accepting the idea that seniors can still have active sex lives -- and it's totally normal, and actually a great form of exercise.
There's also the possibility that mom or dad might decide that they'd like to explore a homosexual relationship. This is happening more and more, with some seniors having stayed in the closet most of their lives and deciding now's the time to be out in the open.
For others, it's more of an interest that they've never had a chance to explore before as they were perfectly happy and committed in their previous heterosexual relationship until their partner passed away.
Real Concerns and Precautions for Late-in-Life Companionship
On the flipside, there are some real concerns as well. If your elderly loved one has dementia, you should look into a guardianship if you suspect that your loved one's paramour has less-than-pure intentions related to finances or other matters.
Additionally, it's always a wise idea to consult an attorney before your aging loved one remarries. This helps avoid conflicts down the road with medical decision-making, the division of assets, how it might affect your loved one's eligibility for Medicaid and other concerns.
In most cases, seniors who find companions have simply found the perfect person to share the rest of their lives with. Companionship in the later years is so important to avoid isolation, which can lead to depression and contribute to illness. If your aging parent is ready to stick a toe in the dating pool, embrace her willingness to explore potential relationships and socialize. These late-in-life relationships are often among the most loyal, rewarding relationships seniors have experienced throughout their whole lives.
Image via Stock.xchng by bjearwicke
Post by Angela Stringfellow