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NS-Never too Late to Date
Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins

I am a 67-year-old widower. Since a year after my wife died in 2004, I have been looking for companionship, but, very frankly, I have struck out. I don't want to go to bars. I have looked at online-dating services, but everyone seems to be younger than I. I have read your column for years, and, on a hunch, thought you might be able to help me.

Answer: While we don't specialize in dating services, when we received your e-mail (among others dealing with the same topic) we did our research and were impressed with www.seniorpeoplemeet.com, a Web site that was recently brought to our attention because it has been referred to as the number one senior dating site in the United States.

Recognizing that it can be especially hard for seniors to start dating (either online or off) for the first time after a late-life divorce or the loss of a spouse, SeniorPeopleMeet.com seems to treat these issues appropriately by allowing seniors to safely meet other eligible seniors after a divorce or the loss of a loved one.
Based upon a recent survey, it appears that nearly one-third (31 percent) of Americans over age 65 say they know someone who has dated a person they met online, and SeniorPeopleMeet.com claims to reach more than 2 percent of the total online population of people over age 50 in the United States. In addition, SeniorPeopleMeet.com asserts that half a million unique folks per month visit it.

According to SeniorPeopleMeet.com, as of April 2009, it has 158,000 active users and 35,900 paid subscribers.

With the surge in growth of the online dating industry, SeniorPeopleMeet.com (which is owned by People Media - www.peoplemedia.com) appears to us to be worth a look for you and those in similar situations.

Question: My 82-year-old mother is being discharged from the hospital to a nursing home for rehabilitation after strokes that left her partially paralyzed on the left side and unable to do most of the activities of daily life. Her mind is intact, and she is very independent. Mom wants assurances that after the rehabilitation, she can go back home. The cost of care in the facility will about $6,000 monthly, and we believe we can come out better financially at home by lining up 24-hour care. Mom has a good income and assets and can pay her own way. Do you have any advice about being cared for at home as opposed to being in a nursing home?

Answer: If possible and prudent, qualified care at home certainly will provide a less-restrictive environment for your mother, which will be much better for her. However, before taking that step, you should consider the practical problems: 1) Lining up and maintaining 24/7 care can be a real chore. If you try to do it yourself (which we don't suggest), you must contact each reference and get criminal background checks on each caregiver. And if a caregiver does not show up for the 7 a.m. shift while you are getting ready for work, unexpectedly quits or is not doing the job, you will be responsible for the care and oversight. And don't forget taking care of wage withholding and tax matters.

In our view, avoiding undue stress on family members and assuring quality care is best accomplished after engagement of an experienced geriatric care manager (www.caremanager.org) to assess both your mother and her residence as, generally, some home modifications are essential to insure proper and safe care. 2) If home care is the option you choose, we suggest you retain an established agency to provide the caregivers. The geriatric care manager should continue in an advisory capacity to oversee, manage and coordinate the caregivers and home health nurses.
And don't forget the cost of in-home care that will be much more expensive than at a facility. However, so long as your mother has income and resources, her wishes should be adhered to and her funds should be spent for her well-being.



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