Age ain’t nothing but a number! There’s a huge misconception in the dating world that after you hit a certain age, you’re doomed to die alone. And friends, it’s just not true. Especially in this advanced technological era where meeting new people online has never been easier, and with video dating, you don’t even have to leave your house to make new connections with people all over the world. There are dozens of dating apps designed with seniors in mind.
But you probably already know that if you’re here ready for love. Online dating may seem intimidating, especially if you grew up in a time when people posted dating ads at the back of newspapers. (Yes, children, this was a thing before Craigslist!) So seniors, let’s break down the world of video dating online, and in no time, you’ll realize it’s not as intimidating as you might have thought.
Why Video Dating for Seniors?
1. Increased Social Connections
Video dating provides an opportunity for seniors to meet new people and increase their social connections. If you live alone or have family and friends in other parts of the county, you may struggle with a sense of isolation without even realizing it.
Video dating provides an opportunity for seniors to share experiences and interests with others. Especially in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, where social isolation hit a new high, video dating can provide a safe environment to combat feelings of loneliness and create a sense of community without having to leave your home.
2. Safe and Convenient
Unlike regular dating, online interactions, and specifically video dating, offers you the option to build relationships with people without even having to leave the comfort of your own home. This eliminates the need for travel and provides a safe environment for seniors to chat and get to know other people.
3. Personalized Matchmaking
Video dating platforms often use algorithms and personalized matchmaking to help seniors find compatible partners based on shared interests, values, and relationship goals. This means you won’t have to spend hours sorting through ads and crossing your fingers that you and your new potential beau are on the same page.
4. Opportunity for Personal Growth
Video dating can provide opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. It can help seniors explore new interests and hobbies and give them a sense of purpose and connection. This is especially helpful if you struggle with finding ways to fill your time.
5. Improved Mental Health
According to the American Association of Retired People (AARP), about one in three adults aged 45 and older feel lonely, and approximately one-third of adults aged 65 and older experience social isolation. Isolation has been linked to adverse health outcomes, including an increased risk of depression, cognitive decline, and even mortality, which is even more likely if you live alone. Your cat Bartholomew might be great company, but at the end of the day, he can’t speak back. Video dating can improve mental health by providing a social outlet and reducing feelings of loneliness and depression.
6. Access to a Broader Pool of Potential Partners
Video dating provides seniors access to a wider pool of potential partners, including those outside their immediate geographic area. Maybe you never got a chance to take a trip to Japan in your younger years. Well, here’s your opportunity to befriend someone who lives in Tokyo. The possibilities are endless. All you have to do is put yourself out there.
So how do you get started?
Technology and Equipment
Many seniors may not be familiar with video chat platforms or have the necessary equipment to participate in video dating. If you’re not familiar with video chat platforms or don’t have the required equipment, there are several ways to learn and acquire the technology needed to participate in video dating.
1. Attend Technology Classes
Many community centers offer technology classes to help older individuals learn how to use computers, smartphones, and other devices. These classes can be an excellent way for you to learn the basics of video chat technology and gain the confidence needed to participate in video dating. It’s also a way to connect with and meet new people who may share your interests.
2. Seek Help from Family and Friends.
If you have friends or families who are familiar with video chat technology, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If they live close by, they can help show you how to work the equipment by providing guidance and support. If they live further away, however, ask them to take a video of them setting up the video chatting on their computer and then email it to you so you can see how it’s done.
3. Purchase or Rent Equipment
Seniors can also purchase or rent equipment like webcams, microphones, and speakers to improve the quality of their video chats. Many computer and electronics stores offer these products at affordable prices, but you can also explore renting the equipment to save money. Plus, electronic stores will often install the hardware for you and come to your house to show you how it’s done.
4. Use Video Chat Platforms with User-Friendly Interfaces
Seniors can choose to use video chat platforms with user-friendly interfaces that are easy to navigate. Platforms like Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime have simple interfaces and offer user guides and tutorials to help seniors learn how to use the technology.
5. Take Advantage of Customer Support.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Video chat platforms often offer customer support to help users with technical issues or questions. Seniors can take advantage of this support to address any problems they may encounter and get the help they need to participate in video dating.
Safety and Security
While online dating is meant to be a fun way to meet new people, it’s essential to be wary of the possible risks of putting your identity and presence online. There are ways to protect your privacy and stay safe while participating in video dating.
1. Beware of Online Scams and Fraud
If someone asks you for your personal information, like your social security or banking information, you should immediately stop talking to them and report their profile to the dating platform. Take it a step further, and be cautious about sharing your full name and address. Other than signing up for a dating site, there should be no reason to give out your financial information. You should also avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
2. Use Reputable Dating Platforms
Always use reputable dating platforms with a strong track record of safety and security (We recommend SilverSingles as one of our sites for mature daters). This can help reduce the risk of encountering scammers or fraudulent individuals. Most dating sites require users to verify their identities to avoid fake profiles.
3. Take Things Slow
Let’s say you match with someone who you really like. There’s nothing wrong with being excited! Butterflies don’t disappear with age, after all. Just make sure you take things slow when it comes to video dating and avoid rushing into meeting in person or sharing too much personal information too quickly. By taking the time to get to know each other online, you and your date will build trust and rapport, ensuring that you have established a level of comfort before you meet in person.
4. Trust Your Instincts
Always trust your instincts when it comes to meeting people online or in person. The great thing about being older is that you have experience on your side. You’ve probably met great people in your life and not-so-great people. That gut feeling never lies. If something seems too good to be true, listen to your intuition–that little voice in the back of your mind knows when red flags are present. Listen to it and proceed with caution.
5. Use Video Chat to Confirm Identities
Before you meet someone in person, you should always use video chatting to confirm your potential date’s identity. Catfishing is a common scam where people use fake names and photos to pretend to be someone else, sometimes just for a power rush, other times with more nefarious intentions, like scamming you of your money.
By using video chat, you can help reduce the risk of encountering individuals who are misrepresenting themselves or using fake profiles. It can also help you see if the connection you share in your messages overflows into video chatting.
6. Meet in a Public Place
If your potential partner has checked off all of your boxes, the person lives nearby, and the video chatting is going well, don’t hesitate to meet them in person! Just make sure that you pick a public place and always let a friend or family member know where you will be. Share your date’s name or profile with someone you trust. You can also share your phone’s location with a friend or family member; this way, they will know where you are at all times. If you’re unsure how to do this, ask someone who is more tech-friendly to give you a helping hand.
Seniors may look for companionship or long-term relationships, and video dating can provide a platform to explore these possibilities. For video dating, it’s important to consider the relationship expectations of those participating.
When you first meet someone through online dating, start to brainstorm what you’re looking for. Maybe you don’t know at first, and that’s okay! That’s part of the dating experience: To figure out what you want and what you don’t. And it’s perfectly fine to say you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
In fact, it’s better to say that than to express that you want a relationship when you’re not sure if you do. But if you know you’re looking for a serious, steady relationship, then definitely make that clear. The more direct you are, the more likely you’ll avoid misunderstandings and ensure that both you and your date are on the same page.
When meeting new people, look for shared interests as a way to connect with them. Compatibility comes in many forms, so while you don’t need to date someone who is your mirror image, you can still explore shared values and interests and connect over common relationship goals.
If you’re unsure what to talk about, start by asking questions. Ask about their hobbies, interests, family, and career goals–or talk about your own. The more you open up, the more likely you find how to connect with someone, and before you know it, a five-minute video chat has turned into two hours.
If you’re unsure where to start or nervous about getting things going, it’s okay to seek professional help if needed. The older you get, the more isolation and mental health can become a real problem, especially if you lack a social outlet. Don’t hesitate to talk to a therapist about relationship expectations. The great thing about this? Many therapists offer online video sessions. Not only can you speak to a mental health specialist from the comfort of your own home, but you can use it as an opportunity to practice honing your video chatting skills before you take the leap to date.
Comfort Levels and Things to Keep In Mind
If you’ve never used video chatting before, you may be hesitant to participate if you’re unsure about your technology skills or shy about being on camera.
Technology like FaceTime or Skype has accessible user interfaces that can allow you to practice before you meet your first date. You can also use these platforms to talk to friends and family members to build your comfort levels with technology. This can help to reduce anxiety and make the experience more enjoyable.
Make sure you’re in a well-lit area with good sound quality during video chats. Dress comfortably for video dates so you feel more relaxed and at ease. Similarly, pick a location you’re comfortable in, such as a favorite chair or a quiet room with minimal distractions. Take breaks as needed during video chats to reduce stress and anxiety.
Navigating the world of video dating as a senior can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. The more you do it, the easier it will become. By becoming comfortable with technology and equipment, practicing safety and security, and being clear about your relationship expectations, you will be well on your way to making new friends and meeting new people. And remember–don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You got this!