Finding love in all the right residences

Bonnie Sandler S.W., The Senior Times – July 2011

It seems that the topic of choice in the senior world these days is the closing of residences. It’s summer, the sun is shining (mostly) and it’s time to think positive thoughts.

Some of my clients have reluctantly made the move to a residence, mostly because of the not-so-gentle nudging of their children. They chose their new home with a mixed bag of emotions, including fear, anxiety and relief. The transition period can be rough and thoughts of regret and uncertainty may be present.

After some time passes, I sometimes get follow-up reports from the children. To the surprise of everyone, including the new resident, I sometimes hear of romantic relationships having formed. This is quite common.

People who have been alone for years, never imagining a new partner in their life, find themselves attracted and enjoying the company of a boyfriend or girlfriend. It almost sounds silly to hear these words attached to individuals in their 80s, but why not?

Finding romance is not going to happen to people, no matter what age, if they are isolated in their homes. Many married couples met in school or summer camps. It makes perfect sense that older people living in a camp-like setting may form special relationships. Good for them! Age should not be a barrier to romance. So for those of you so reluctant to consider a move to a residence, maybe you should give it another thought. I see too many seniors insistent on staying in their homes, isolated, lonely and lacking stimulation.

They feel they are successful because they have managed to continue to live at home.

While some are successful at this and doing well, many others are barely managing. Lack of social contact can lead to depression, which can manifest in physical pain.

Some of the “happening” residences offer trial stays, because they are convinced that a permanent move will occur once the person gets a feel for a better quality of life. At least one residence that I know of offers a two-day free trial including meals and activities. Often my clients refuse this offer and I suspect it is mostly because of fear. They think: Whom will I talk to? How will I know where to go?

As someone who is single and finds it difficult to meet men who interest me, I no longer worry about not finding a partner.

All I have to do is wait a few decades, choose the right residence, move while I can enjoy the activities offered and hope that I am one of the lucky women who hooks one of the few men, who are significantly outnumbered by the women. Check back with me in about 25 or 30 years.