Looking for love

Idaho seniors seeking romantic partners could have poorer chances of finding love than their counterparts in Washington.

At least that was the take of the website TheSeniorList, in a July report based on U.S. Census Bureau data. (The study can be found at theseniorlist.com/senior-dating/love-in-age-coronavirus/.)

It found that just 34 percent of Idahoans 55 years old and older were single. The only state with a lower percentage was neighboring Utah, at 30 percent.

In Washington, the odds are better, with 36 percent of its seniors being single, the same percentage as in Delaware, Montana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Kansas, which all ranked just a few notches above Idaho.

Single seniors were most plentiful in Washington, D.C., where 60 percent of the senior population isn’t paired.

COVID-19 and the need for all adults, especially seniors, to wear face masks in public, hasn’t helped older people looking for love, regardless of where they live, according to TheSeniorList.

“About 60 percent of single seniors said COVID-19 was having a great deal of impact on dating, while only 2 percent said the virus wasn’t having any effect at all,” according to TheSeniorList.

One of the biggest changes because of the pandemic is that more seniors are moving to online dating, according to TheSeniorList.

That trend was already under way before coronavirus.

A 2018 poll from the technology and consulting firm of Morning Consult quoted in an online AARP article found one in five internet users between the ages of 55 and 64 have used a dating app or service.

As common as online dating is becoming among older people, it can take some adjustment for people who might have met their first spouse at a singles bar or through a classified ad, according to the AARP article.

For instance, they might not know that the abbreviation “fwb” stands for friends with benefits, according to the AARP article, which recommends Googling unfamiliar terms.

Besides learning new phrases and navigating technology, online dating can present other challenges, such as knowing how much to share and when it is time to meet someone face to face.

Generally, it’s a good idea to be cautious chatting online and to avoid sharing financial or personal information, according to Ourtime.com, an online senior dating site.

“Watch out for scammers who claim to be from your country, but stuck elsewhere, especially if they ask for financial help to return home,” according to Ourtime.com.

It’s also wise not to rush the first date and then to still proceed with caution, taking safeguards such as meeting in a public place, not drinking, bringing a charged cellphone and driving independently to and from the activity, according to Ourtime.com.

The Seniors Resource Guide has a similar take.

“A coffee date ... is a good idea because it keeps the date at an hour or two,” according to the Senior Resources Guide. “These places are usually crowded, well lit, safe and perfect for meeting a stranger.”