BOSTON — As Internet dating sites for seniors become an increasingly hot topic among people approaching age 60 and older, the buzz is attracting attention in other circles, too. Yet in a year when the oldest members of the huge baby-boom generation turn 65, the bulk of research on online dating is focused on experiences of younger adults, a pair of Ohio researchers say. Rather than describing physical attributes, some older women portrayed themselves in new and thoughtful ways."There's a scarcity of research on dating in later life," say Wendy Watson and Charlie Stelle, Using earlier research on younger people who frequent Internet dating sites, Watson and Stelle identified values and characteristics those individuals revealed. One woman described herself as "a young spirit," Watson said. The researchers started with a coding system identifying three personal values (active lifestyle, culture and family) that younger people typically address on online-dating sites. Beyond physical attributes But the professors' research on people age 60-plus who use online-dating sites brought surprises.
Age-60-plus users' online profiles introduced new values into the mix.
That input led to adding to the age-60-plus list of values eight new potential characteristics/factors in a date: affectionate, intelligent, independent, purpose and goals, health status, religion/spirituality, political beliefs, and status (finances, occupation, success, possessions). marriage In the personal-values category, many site users age 60-plus mentioned their values of companionship and compatibility in a potential mate.
"Companion" and "compatible" were then added as values in the age-60-plus research coding.
For some people in their 60s, Watson says, companionship ranks as a higher priority than marriage.
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"Some seniors say, 'Been there, done that.' " Some are looking instead for "somebody I really like, somebody who wants to do some fun activities." The goal for some is purely finding "someone whose company they enjoy." AARP has also done research on senior online dating. 'An avenue to meet people'Arnette Bell, 62, says she logged onto with an open mind.
She saw it as "just an avenue to meet people and go from there." Drew Bartley, 57, visited the site thinking "it would just be fun to meet someone and have a cup of coffee." The experience surpassed expectations for them both. Six years later, Bell, a retired school principal, and Bartley, a semi-retired painting contractor, are still living happily together in Victoria, a Twin Cities exurb. "She was the one." Bell adds: "It worked." The research supports what is true for me.