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The documentary focuses on single-and-looking seniors such as Addie, a well-traveled free spirit who terrifies her more strait-laced, would-be suitors; Lou, an elderly body builder moved to tears when he learns that only one of 15 women he had "speed dated" wanted to meet him again; and Jon and Janice, who connect and hesitatingly form what promises to be something more than just a casual friendship.At its most basic, the film's message is that hope springs eternal.
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To help right this imbalance, some seniors are borrowing a strategy from younger generations and trying speed dating in hopes of again feeling that spark of attraction.
"It's hard meeting a man who's single," said Sandy Camero, 69, who attended a recent event at the Igo Branch Library designed for seniors who wanted to meet new people.
"They're either too old and don't ever want to do anything, or, if they're my age, they're looking for someone younger." While we as a society often obsess over the physical needs of the elderly, we rarely talk about the emotional desires for friendship, intimacy, even love and sex that don't evaporate upon receipt of an AARP membership card.
"You'll hear a family say, 'But we fill grandma's time,' " said Kelley Kelch, who leads the Older Adult Ministry at Oak Hills Presbyterian Church. But no one wants to talk about the other needs grandma might have." In addition to her church position, Kelch has hosted two senior speed dating events designed to help folks ages 65 to 85 meet one another for companionship.
Speed dating, for those who haven't been single and looking during the past two decades or so, is a formalized matchmaking process during which two people sit together for a limited amount of time, usually about five minutes, to chat, learn about one another and then decide whether they're interested in getting together at a later date. For older adults looking for companionship, speed dating offers a way to meet up to a dozen new people quickly and without commitment in a safe, controlled environment.
It's only recently, however, that seniors have gotten into the game, in part because of the release of the documentary "The Age of Love," directed by filmmaker Steven Loring.
At once funny and poignant, promising and bittersweet, the film tells the story of a group of seniors ages 70 to 90 who participate in a speed-dating event in Rochester, New York.
In a June 22, 2016, photo, Ted Eckhardt, 83, of San Antonio, talks to his date during a senior speed dating event at Bob's Chop and Steakhouse in San Antonio.
(AP Photo/San Antonio Express-News, Brittany Greeson) In a June 22, 2016, photo, Joanne Hale, 76, and Ted Eckhardt, 83, laugh together during their five minute date at a senior speed dating event at Bob's Chop and Steakhouse in San Antonio.