The response from women has been especially robust, resulting in waiting lists and, ultimately, more sessions added.It's only been a few weeks since launching, but speed dating has already led to some older adults no longer having to spend their days alone.Being overweight can raise your blood pressure, cholesterol and risk for developing diabetes.
"They traded us with ‘Wonder Woman’ because our numbers were higher.” It's showtime A month later, on a sunny Monday in July, the Senior Center put on its inaugural speed dating event in a private dining-room at Jac’s Cekola’s Pizza restaurant in Portage, which the owners are letting it use at no cost. Twelve men and 12 women aged 65 and higher sit for conversation at cozy, round tables, adorned with fresh flowers. Every five minutes, a bell rings, signaling that it is time to switch. So is Tammy, the 65-year-old who had the disappointing experience with a matchmaking service.
'Was enjoyable' At the end of the evening, participants turn in a scorecard, indicating either “Yes” or “No” as to whether they wish to see any of their dates again.
That’s according to Cassidy Ardelean, the marketing manager at New Friends Memory Care and Assisted Living in Kalamazoo, where 60 seniors live.
“We have people that have been living on their own and don’t get hardly any socialization.
Tammy, a Kalamazoo-area woman, has been searching for that special someone for a long time. I am divorced, and I have been on my own for about 18 years," she says.
"I've had some dates in between." But nothing turned serious. "It’s a paid service, where they do a background check and everything…And then when they come live us and you get all that community and the support and relationship-building, you make friendships," Ardelean says."They actually seem to kind of blossom, come out of their shell. They have something to look forward to every day, so it really brings them out of their shell and perks them up a lot.” Loneliness, isolation harms A 2011 survey of 350 seniors living in Kalamazoo County showed 29 percent of them reported feeling lonely or isolated. The results were part of the Kalamazoo County Senior Growth Needs Assessment.In Michigan, 28 percent of people over 65 live by themselves, according to the Census.Inspired by a film The Portage Senior Center got the idea to do speed dating from the 2014 documentary “The Age of Love,” a funny yet serious film about seniors participating in such an event in upstate N. In anticipation of launching speed dating here and with funding from New Friends Memory Care and Assisted Living, center officials presented a free showing of “Age of Love” at Celebration! Portage Senior Center Manager Kim Phillips says they were not sure what to expect.I thought that it was fabulous that the senior center did this for us.” Gordon marked “Yes” for all 12 women.