The winter months can be long, dark and dreary for everyone, but seniors are especially susceptible to feeling lonely and isolated this time of year. Many seniors live alone, and often they can’t drive (or choose not to drive) in bad weather, so they stay home more than they do during warmer times.
These just are just a few reasons why this time of year has become known as “cuffing season.” A relatively new term, cuffing season refers to finding a partner to snuggle up with during the holidays and into the wintry months of January and February (and beyond) with no expectations of a long-term relationship. For older adults who are happy on their own, this can be a fun and fulfilling option to make the holidays more festive and the winter less bone-chilling.
Shadeen Francis, licensed marriage and family therapist, explained some of the appeal of cuffing season to “Women’s Health” magazine:
“While [it] might not have the same depth as a long-term relationship, some of these short-term bonds can feel really soothing and comforting.”
If your older adult would benefit from a bit of romance or a cozy companion, cuffing season could be the answer. The question, though, is how to find someone to share cuffing season?
Dating apps are now available for every type of person, including older adults. Help your loved one set up an account and get them started on the apps to connect with a potential match. Make it clear in their profile what they’re looking for—if they want a cuffing season companion or if they may be open to something more. Check in with them about people they’re considering meeting in person to make sure everything is safe and that they aren’t being scammed.
Good dating sites for older adults include:
The average age of Facebook users in the United States is 40, which means millions of users over 65 are checking their news feeds every day. One feature of Facebook that may not be familiar to many older adults is Facebook groups. The site has groups for virtually any topic you can imagine, from gardening to grandparenting. Just search “single seniors” or “seniors meeting seniors” to see what pops up in your location. If your older adult is new to Facebook, spend some time showing them how it works and then let them explore.
Reconnecting with long-lost friends, romantic partners and secret crushes from high school and college happens more and more often due to the internet and social media. Many schools have alumni groups on Facebook and their websites. Your senior will have fun seeing the names of old acquaintances and perhaps rekindling a romance.
Search for topics in your area that are of interest to your older adult to get them involved and hopefully meet someone to share cuffing season with them. Sign them up for meetup.com and see what’s happening in your community. Some of the most popular groups are:
- Book groups
- Walking groups
- Discussion groups
- Writing groups
- Crafting groups
If you’re unfamiliar, speed dating is an efficient and low-pressure way to meet other singles. A group gathers and spends a few minutes with others looking to connect to see if they’re a potential match. After a set amount of time, everyone moves on to the next person to chat and try again. Once the speed dating portion is over, everyone fills out a form indicating who they’re interested in getting to know better. If you match with someone, contact information is shared. Do an internet search of “speed dating near me” to find options for your older adult.
Sometimes, the best way to meet someone new is through people you know. You can ask around to see if anyone in your circle knows any older singles looking for connections, and then set up a brief meeting for coffee or a happy hour cocktail and hope that sparks fly. Blind dates often get a bad rap, but there’s a level of safety and security in knowing the person comes recommended by a friend or acquaintance. It’s worth an hour or two to see if there’s a good match.
If your loved one belongs to a church, synagogue or another religious group, encourage them to go to services or join volunteer groups, Bible study groups, or other faith-based groups to meet fellow congregants. There may not be a single person in the group that fits the bill, but by letting others around them in their community know they’re looking, a cuffing season companion may be found.
Cuffing season is a good excuse to encourage your senior to reach out and connect with others their age. While they may or may not find someone with whom they can share a hot toddy and sing holiday songs during the frosty months of winter, chances are they’ll make a few new friends and widen their social circle, which is excellent for them—and for you, too.