The changes that come with aging can significantly impact how older adults date. Factors such as retirement, health-related issues, divorce, and widowhood position them in a very different life stage than younger users. These significant life events influence whether or not older singles put themselves out there to date, how they date, what they look for, and how vulnerable they are willing to be. Current plat-forms rarely consider these nuances and leave older users’ unique needs unmet.
As we mature, our social circles evolve, expanding and contracting through life changes. At the time of retirement, many social structures such as school, work, and children that facilitated connection are no longer present. But the need for love and belonging doesn’t wane. Older adults need new structures to create opportunities to connect with purpose and intention. Online and in real life, they explore ways to meet over shared experiences and common interests, and hope to find joy and enrichment along the way.
Media portrayals of old age often stereotype later life in extremes, with people shown as either frail and frumpy or unrealistically attractive and hale. Older adults would like media representation to catch up to the modern realities of later life, particularly in reflecting their diversity. They want to witness older adults having fun instead of being made fun of, falling in love instead of falling down, and starting new endeavors rather than starting to decline. Seeing people who look like them can positively impact their view of them-selves, as well as foster acceptance and even celebration of the benefits that come with age.
By the time older adults reach retirement age, they have significant life experience and a robust skillset with established levels of mastery. As older adults prioritize the things that bring them joy, many seek opportunities to share their wisdom with others and provide support and guidance. Yet there is a disconnect in the value placed on their knowledge by others, which results in fewer opportunities to mentor or impart their expertise. While many older adults would like to spend the later part of their careers doing such work, they feel the hiring market does not value their experience.