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She says older adults desire companionship, friendship and love, just like anyone else. "People still want to be social, to make connections and have relationships.” Kim Phillips, Portage Senior Center manager, keeps time on her cell phone so she knows when singles must switch at the center's first speed dating event held on July 17.
This served the 65 and up group, but another is for ages 50 to 65.
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.
"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.
She's heard similar stories from older adults as they seek to re-enter the dating world.
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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.