Senior speed dating comes to Waltonwood

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 11, 2015

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Finding a companion in life is hard at any age, but for seniors, the search for love can be even more challenging, according to Jeff Madak, interim executive director of Waltonwood at University.

“It’s awkward for (anyone) to go out and find somebody and start dating and have open conversations, let alone having to find somebody, potentially lose that individual through death, and have to start over. In that case, there is a lot more emotion that goes into it, because it is almost like starting that high school experience over again,” Madak said. 

This month, the senior living community is offering seniors a unique way to connect — through speed dating.

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time Waltonwood at University has hosted a speed dating event. The senior living community hosted its first event last February, which Madak said was a huge hit.

“It was successful, and we actually had a couple of connections from it last time that went really, really well,” he said.

This time around, Madak plans on hosting a special screening of the documentary “The Age of Love,” a movie that follows the adventures of seniors participating in a speed dating event exclusively for their age group, 3-4:30 p.m. and 5-6:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at the senior living community, 3250 E. Walton Blvd. in Rochester Hills.

“The documentary is specifically geared toward 30 seniors that have signed up for a speed dating event, and it talks about the whole process of that speed dating event and kind of the outcome of what took place. It follows a number of them and gives you tidbits about their life. … We just thought it was really, really cool that it coincided with what we are doing,” Madak said.

Later in the month, Waltonwood at University will host its own speed dating event — exclusively for seniors 70 years old and up — 5-7 p.m. Aug. 27. Seniors in the Rochester area, ages 70 and up, are invited to attend one or both of the free events.

Madak said the senior living community staff hopes single seniors will be able to come together to find friendship, or romantic love, at one of the events.

“We know that when you socialize, it actually slows down the degenerative effects of dementia and it slows down the depression that people go through, making the quality of life much better for our seniors that live with us. When you see them make connections, it’s amazing. You can’t even put words to it, because their quality of life is just much better. We do have people that are dating currently that met after the event, and that’s kind of what spurred us on to do it again,” Madak explained.

Two residents at Waltonwood at University, 94-year-old Ernie Elliott and 87-year-old Dolores Mouranie, found love at the senior living community. Both were widowed after decades of marriage and met six years ago, after Mouranie moved to the community.

“I had never thought about having that type of relationship with another person again, but it’s a nice feeling to have found someone to have fun with and share my life,” Elliott said in a statement.

To RSVP to either screening of “The Age of Love” or to the speed dating event, call (248) 331-9990.

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