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Entries in AARP (2)

Monday
Dec032012

Over 50 and Looking for Love? New Dating Site for the Older Crowd

Photos.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Mention AARP, and most people think of Social Security, Medicare, senior discounts but not love.

Now the group is now getting into the dating business, launching an online dating channel, and an online dating site for the over 50 crowd.

"AARP wanted to get into the game because, one, we know isolation is a very big issue for our members as they age,” said Nataki Edwards, vice president of digital strategies and operations at AARP.

Edwards says a quarter of the group’s 37 million members are single, and many have been asking the organization to help them link up with others. “It’s not necessarily about getting married,” Edwards told ABC News. “It’s about the companionship and having fun things to do with someone else.”

AARP’s new venture is not the first dating site geared toward older Americans. It’ll be competing with OurTime, which bills itself as the premier online 50+ dating service. AARP is partnering with HowAboutWe.com, which believes in getting people out on dates early on to see if they hit it off rather than spending a lot of time getting to know each other online, only to find there’s no chemistry when they meet in person.

Edwards calls it “dating like they used to date.” That appeals to Shelley Kilburn, who describes herself as a “54 year old SWF (single while female).” Kilburn likes the idea of meeting face-to face, telling ABC News, “When you talk to someone in person you get a better image or feeling, you have that ability to use … that sixth sense.” Kilburn, a former news colleague, has been divorced for five years. The Southern California resident hasn’t tried online dating yet but says she might gravitate to an AARP site because for her the group has a trustworthy “history and reputation, [so] I would be comfortable.”

Carol Siflinger agrees, writing in response to a Facebook question about the new site, “It is a great idea! I would hope singles going to this site would be of a better caliber than “meat market” sites! For those 50 and older, trying to date again can be daunting.

“It’s not so easy for people because many of them haven’t dated for 30 years or more,” said relationship expert Pepper Schwartz, who’s written extensively on sexuality. Pepper, who is also AARP’s Love and Relationship Ambassador, says online dating can be especially unnerving.

“Honestly, I think most of them go kicking and screaming. They wouldn’t do this if there was another option.” Schwartz, who is 67, met her fiancé online. “It’s not easy: you have to work at it. You have to be resilient.”

Of course, Schwartz adds, that’s not necessarily age-related. “Whoever found dating easy,” she says, “even when they were younger.”

Looking for a companion online worked wonderfully for Becky Hedlund Lemaire, of Breaux Bridge, La., who met her husband of six years through an online service. She says no matter which dating site you rely on, it’s important to take safety seriously. “Always meet in public,” says Lemaire. “Don’t give out personal information, and make sure someone knows where you are going to meet.”

AARP has tips too for the more mature dater, suggesting you don’t spend the first date talking only about your children or grandchildren, or your aches and pains. The organization says its new online dating channel will help with dating advice.

Those popular senior discounts will come into play too. AARP is offering a seven-day free trial, then half-off the dating service price for its members. AARP’s Edwards won’t be using the new service, because “I am married myself.” However, she’s laughs, “I have sent it to every single friend that I have who is looking.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov202012

Older Workers Still Punching the Time Clock at Age 75 and Beyond

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- At age 81, Thomas Cooper has had a bout with cancer, and endured a back operation, but neither has convinced him to retire.

Instead, five days a week you'll find him selling men's shoes at a Nordstrom store in Bethesda, Md., just outside Washington D.C. "I would go crazy sitting around the house," Cooper told ABC News. "So I work."

A new study indicates he is hardly alone, according to government data analyzed by the AARP Public Policy Institute.

"The number and the proportion of people, 75 and older, in the workforce, they are on the increase," said Sara Rix, a senior strategic policy advisor with the Institute. "What we're seeing is really quite a remarkable increase in attachment to the labor force over the past 20 years or so."

According to the AARP analysis, in 1990, just four percent of the 75-plus crowd worked; now that's up to seven percent. That equates to nearly 1.3 million people in this age group who are employed. It's a small percentage of the overall workforce, just less than one percent, but that's still more than double the percentage a few decades ago.

Perhaps even more astonishing is that their unemployment rate has jumped as well, meaning a lot of these folks are looking for work. AARP's analysis found the unemployment rate for the 75 and older group was 2.3 percent in 1990. It was 5.6 percent last year.

Rix says there's a host of reasons behind the increases. For one, individuals can continue to work because they're staying healthier longer. "I suspect most people are there because they're doing something they really want to do. They enjoy their work. They're making a contribution."

There are also financial considerations. With the drop in home prices, the fluctuating stock market, and the decline in pensions, some older workers simply have to work.

For Cooper, that's definitely part of the equation. "When you get my age, you have a lot of doctor bills and different ailments. You have to pay the doctors and hospitals, so I am here," he said.

A recent survey by Wells Fargo found that nearly a third of Americans figure they'll need to work until age 80, in order to retire comfortably. The federal government estimates that by 2020, 10 percent of those aged 75 and older will be in the labor force. Rix believes the number is likely to be even higher.

Just last week the issue of older workers hit a chord on Capitol Hill, when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was asked whether she should give up her leadership position to make way for younger lawmakers. Pelosi, who is 72, later told ABC News's Martha Raddatz that she was "amused" by the question, although at the time she called it "quite offensive."

Pelosi questioned whether male lawmakers would be asked the same age question.

Rix agrees, "So it may have been not only age discrimination implicit in that question, but perhaps also sex discrimination, as well. If someone can do that job, that's what we ought to be focusing on."

Shoe salesman Cooper believes older workers offer an advantage. "They have more experience, they know the products better, they know how to talk to people, and that's what matters."

Cooper, who's been in the shoe business for decades, but got his current job 17 years ago at the ripe young age of 64, says he has no plans to retire.

"I've been very fortunate that most of the managers here have been very good to me," he said. He was worried that "you get to a certain age and they want you out of here," but that hasn't happened to him. So his plans are to stay on the job. "I am going to keep working until I can't do it anymore," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio