Love, romance and social activity in later life has important health, quality of life benefits, says expert gerontologist
TORONTO, February 7, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Seniors are setting the record straight - love and romance aren't just for the young, according to the Revera Report on Romance, a new survey by Revera Inc., Canada's leading provider of seniors care and services. Seven-in-ten seniors over age 75 say you are never too old for love and the same amount agree love and romance remains an important aspect of their lives. What's more, senior men are even more in love with love than women, with 83 per cent saying it's important versus 56 per cent of women.
"Seniors' positive outlook on love and romance is encouraging to see because they are both important aspects of social interaction," says Dr. Amy D'Aprix, gerontologist and expert on aging. "What many people don't know, is remaining socially active can have a significant impact on your physical health, and may even help to reduce your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease. It's also been shown to have a comparable impact on mortality as smoking and alcohol." She continued, "And of course, there's no question that it also contributes to happiness and emotional health."
It's not just the experts who recognize the importance of socializing as we age — seniors themselves overwhelmingly support the concept. When surveyed, 88 per cent of seniors agree that companionship is something they couldn't do without, and 98 per cent said they thought keeping socially active was as important to successfully aging as good physical health.
There's a common myth that love, romance and the need for companionship fades as we grow older and this is being perpetuated by the younger generations. In fact, fewer than half (only 38 per cent) of Generation Y and Boomers in the survey predict love and romance will be "very important" when they're over 75, and even fewer think they'll be "very interested" in dating at that age if they didn't already have a partner (8 per cent of Generation Y and 13 per cent of Boomers). In fact, the Revera Report revealed not only that love and romance do remain important for those 75-plus, it also showed just as many seniors have romantic partners as 18 to 30 year olds (approximately half for each group).
Love and romance are also often perceived as more important to women than men. The Revera Report challenges this assumption, with senior men revealing they are even more in love (83 per cent) with love than women (56 per cent). In fact, senior men are nearly twice as likely as women of the same age to say they seek ways to spice up their love lives (56 per cent vs. 29 per cent).
Love at any age
Love and romance are as important today as the day he and his wife Valerie met, according to Mendel, aged 86. Mendel and Valerie met at a dance for new Canadians in Ottawa shortly after the war. After 60 years of marriage, three children and eight grandchildren, Mendel still counts his blessings and believes he's the "luckiest man in the world " because he has "Valerie's love and compassion." The couple lives at Revera's Pine Villa Retirement Residence in Toronto and their romance is still strong. Mendel happily offers that to him, Valerie, aged 82, looks 30 years younger.
"We see every day in our residences the power of positive social interaction, which is an essential part of seniors' health and wellness," said Jeff Lozon, President and CEO, Revera. "Revera is committed to understanding these issues, and to contributing to the dialogue about re-imagining the aging experience for Canadian seniors."
About the Revera Report on Romance
Revera, in partnership with Leger Marketing, surveyed older adults aged 75+, Boomers and Gen Yers, to find out about their expectations and experiences with social interaction as they age, including: love, romance, dating, and companionship. The survey was completed online from September 21, 2011 to October 2, 2011 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1563 Canadians in the following age groups: 511 Canadians age 18 to 30, 537 Canadians ages 45 to 64; and 515 Canadians age 75+. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The Revera Report on Romance is one in a series of reports that will be issued by Revera exploring different topics relevant to the aging experience of Canadian seniors.
About Revera Inc.
Revera is a leading provider of seniors' accommodation, care and services; built on a 50-year history of helping seniors live life to the fullest. Our nearly 30,000 dedicated employees continually strive to serve a diverse group of clients and to offer choices to meet their individual preferences. With 255 sites across Canada and parts of the U.S., we work to enhance lives in our retirement communities, long term care homes, U.S. nursing and rehab centres and through the provision of home health services. Canadian-owned and operated, Revera serves approximately 30,000 clients every day, with the core values of respect, integrity, compassion and excellence at the heart of our business. Find out more about Revera at www.reveraliving.com.