The Caregivers is a unique series focused on the challenges and triumphs of caregiving. These stories have been created through a strategic partnership between AARP and Word In Black.
Aging comes with some tough lessons. A relative becomes ill, thrusting you into the role of a caregiver. A lifelong partner asks to end your relationship, leading you to reassess your identity and future. The business you’ve worked hard to build suffers a major loss, sending you on a new path.
These events can unearth some pretty undesirable feelings (fear, bitterness, and sadness). While experiencing emotions is part of the human experience, how you experience your emotions and for how long can also affect your overall health.
Remaining as active as you can — that is, being involved in activities and taking steps to develop stable relationships with people — is good for you. The alternative, research shows, is social isolation. According to The National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults, “Social isolation can lead to poor mental and physical health outcomes including depression, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, high blood pressure, and heart disease.”
One way to triumph over isolation and invite balance into your life is to embrace dating. Studies show that dating can have some wonderful benefits, like helping you develop a deeper love for yourself and others.
If you’re a techie, then there are plenty of apps that connect you with people looking to start a romance or just have some good conversation. Try these to get started. Depending on where you live, there are ways to meet new people, even if it’s just to make new friends. In New York, for example, these groups are devoted to singles over 50-years-old.
As you explore the dating world, tell yourself this:
You are worthy of love and fun.
Your age, wrinkles, wisdom, aches, and pains all make you worthy.
You bring special gifts.
You may be the missing piece to someone’s life puzzle!
You embrace the many ways to make connections.
There’s serendipity. There are also dating and matchmaking services.
What you desire is possible.
Whether it’s platonic companionship, physical affection, soul-level connection, or something else, it’s possible.
If you’re embracing the online dating scene, start by writing down what you’re seeking, then read these tips for creating your online profile and avoiding scams. Have healthy fun — whether it’s short-term or long-lasting.
Mental well-being is a cornerstone of healthy living. AARP wants to help you get healthier and stay healthy. Visit AARP’s Mental Health Center at www.aarp.org/mentalhealth for tips, tools and resources that can help you develop healthy habits for mental well-being.