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Boomers and on-line dating

Individuals over the age of 50 are turning more frequently to Internet dating to find a new significant other.

After losing a loved one or completing a divorce, many baby boomers are considering getting back into the dating pool. Internet dating sites often provide a good number of candidates for busy people to consider. In busy times filled with work responsibilities and family obligations, logging on to the computer to find a date can be much easier than finding a date in a social setting.

Twenty-two percent of the registered members of Match.com are over the age of 50. There's a good chance that other popular dating sites also have a growing number of older participants as well. There are also dating sites geared to the over-50 crowd to make narrowing down prospects even easier.

Finding oneself in midlife and looking for a date or new mate is actually quite common. Thousands of people are in the same situation. In a September 2003 study of singles aged 55+, The American Association for Retired People discovered that 49 percent said of respondents cited, "Having someone to talk to or do things with" as the most important reason for dating.

Seniors dating can have a unique set of challenges in comparison to younger daters. These include:

• Habits or routines that have developed after months or years of living single.

• Added baggage from divorce.

• Older children who may not be keen to their parents dating again.

• Elderly parents who need care.

• Physical appearance woes, such as wrinkles and extra weight.

• Medical conditions that may be embarrassing or serious.

• Self-esteem issues from being out of the dating loop for so long.

Baby boomers now represent more than a quarter of the population, and many are being spurred on by children to look into online dating.

The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620. Information is also periodically provided by the Behavioral Health Services North Caregiver Resource Center. They may be reached at 565-4543 or 565-4625.

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