FEATURE: Outreach NC — Speed Dating in Your 70s: What a Documentary About Dating Teaches Us About Love

Monday, January 28th, 2019 • Leave a comment
by Amy Phariss, OutreachNC — February, 2019
Outreach NC - Speed Dating in Your 70s

FILMMAKER STEVEN LORING WASN’T THINKING ABOUT LOVE. He wasn’t thinking about matters of the heart or about dating. Loring was sitting at his mother’s kitchen table, thinking about finances.

After his father’s passing, he was helping his 71-year-old mother settle into the new normal of life as a widow, and managing his mother’s financial situation was the task at hand. His mother sat beside him, writing thank you notes for condolences she’d received, when, suddenly, she looked up and asked, “Who’s ever going to hug me again for the rest of my life, or hold me, or touch me? Now I’m just another old lady in the world, alone.” Loring considered her words but had no answer.

Later that spring, Loring’s uncle moved from his home into a continuing care community. At 78, he had never married or, as far as anyone in the family knew, even dated. Soon after moving into his new digs, however, he met a woman (80 years young) and struck up what Loring calls a “wild, full-on, teenage love affair.” He says he was surprised his uncle was so “capable and interested and ready to plunge into this relationship, something he’d never experienced before.”

Seeing his uncle so happy, so full of life and love, inspired Loring, who once wrote Movies-of-the-Week for network TV, to go back to school to study social documentary filmmaking – and to start exploring the idea that love and the need for connection don’t have hard-and-fast rules, age limits or expiration dates.

In his resulting documentary, The Age of Love, Loring follows a real-life group of seniors in upstate NY who embark on a journey to find companionship through a local speed dating event exclusively for 70- to 90-year-olds.

The participants include an 81-year-old bodybuilding champ, a skydiving widow, a grandmother and online-dating addict, a 79-year-old who doesn’t let his oxygen tank slow him down, and a 1940s movie fanatic who escaped an abusive marriage that kept her world, and her dreams, too small for too long. Viewers watch, listen and hear the stories of these people, from their past histories to present-day lives to their hopes for the future, as they put their hearts on the line to see if new love is possible later in life.

ONC spoke with Loring about his filmmaking process, his intention in making The Age of Love, what he learned in the making of the film and his biggest take-aways from what turned out to be a true labor of love.   Continue Reading

FEATURE: US NEWS & WORLD REPORT — Seniors Try Their Hand at Speed Dating at UW-La Crosse

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018 • Leave a comment
by Kyle Ferris, La Crosse Tribune (AP) — 12.1.2018

(Part of national coverage of Dawn Norris’s sociology class at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where students screened The Age of Love, then organized a community-wide senior speed dating event as their semester project.)


Couples played with their coffee cups, exchanging shy smiles.

And, for a moment, the third floor of UW-La Crosse’s Student Union resembled some forgotten cafe, a picture cut out of the past, hung up in the present.

“Most places that people go to meet each other are designed for young or middle-aged people,” said sociology professor Dawn Norris, who with the help of her students organized a speed dating event for the area’s senior citizens.

“It’s really sweet to see them connect,” sociology major Angela Steffens told the La Crosse Tribune . “Not necessarily for love, but for friendship, too.”

More than two dozen seniors rolled up to the university in their Sunday best on Wednesday — the women with lipstick and made-up hair, the men in jackets and sweaters, a boyish twinkle in their eyes.

“I heard about it this morning and came on a whim,” said a man who asked to be called Pete King, a fake name. King said he was single and ready to find his queen.

“It does get harder to meet people as you age,” he said. “I’ve been looking, tried dating sites and all that. The trouble is, when you’re older, you’re just so set in your ways.”

Couples were given five minutes to talk with each other, to discuss the weather, or current events, or how the Beatles wrote songs far, far better than the ones on the radio.

At the end of the five minutes, a bell would ring. The couples would fill out a scorecard, grading the date, and decide if they’re open to spending more time together. Then the women in the room would move on to the next table, the next date.   Continue Reading

Celebrating Another Year of Love – and over 500 screenings worldwide

Thursday, November 15th, 2018 • Leave a comment
Some 2018 memories as we approach the end of another Year of Love! With thanks to all our partners – inspired screening hosts, engaged audiences, innovative educators, and couples who became couples because they saw the film, signed up for a newfangled dating event and took a chance on love. We can’t wait to be part of more life-changing stories in 2019!
TAOL-Houston-River-Oaks-marqueeA memorable evening in Houston with 500 movie-goers at the historic Art Deco River Oaks Theatre – thanks to sponsors Mary Broussard (pictured) of The Village of River Oaks and Janet Jackson-McCulloch of Elder Advisory Group.
portage speed dater coupleAt Celebration Cinema in Portage, MI (Senior Speed Dating Capital of the World, thanks to Kim Phillips, manager of the Portage Senior Center), with Jim and Heike, who met speed dating, attended our encore screening and told their story on local TV!
panoramic collingswood nj screeningIn Collingswood, NJ, Camden County Government Senior Services rented the elegant Scottish Rite Auditorium and served a huge buffet lunch to a ballroom full of movie-goers – who joined in a ‘Heart Hands’ salute at our post-screening Q&A.
corinne steven rod in vernonA great marquee review during our second tour in British Columbia, sponsored by Interior Savings (pictured with execs Corinne Johnson and Rod Rieu) along with Toronto-based AGF Investments Inc.
theater shot with FranA full house in Kelowna watches Fran mark his scorecard with the women he likes at Rochester’s first senior speed dating event.
steven and bernadette in madison ctBrilliant event organizer Bernadette DiGiulian of CT’s Shoreline Eldercare Alliance filled the theater with 200+ people by 9:45 AM!
nassau-county-10_16_2018Thrilled to be introduced by Nassau County Exec Laura Curran, as Office of the Aging’s Jorge Martinez and Trista Breil welcomed 15 area senior centers to the historic Bellmore Movies for the show.
Matthew and LindaLooking back at The Age of Love’s first Senior Speed Dating ‘happy ever after’ story – Matthew and Linda, whose easy banter and contented smiles were immortalized by local media!

A Idade do Amor – The Age of Love Comes to Brazil

Monday, February 12th, 2018 • Leave a comment
group-on-stage-at-Unibes-CulturalWith support from over a dozen sponsors, led by Revista Aptare (see pp. 30-35) and Aché Laboratórios, The Age of Love was presented in 11 neighborhoods throughout metro São Paulo this December, with the aim of sparking a nationwide discussion in support of the hearts and hopes of Brazilian elders.

From low-income senior centers to renowned universities, from an urban multiplex to the largest Jewish synagogue in South America, the film played to a wide, cultural cross-section of this economically and ethnically diverse city of over 12 million inhabitants.

The response, from each segment of a society in which life expectancy is rapidly growing – while programs addressing loneliness and connection for seniors are few – was intrigue and the demand for more opportunities and wider attention to the social and emotional growth of the country’s aging population.

Joining the conversation at our final screening at Unibes Cultural – a main hub of culture, creative entrepreneurship and social issues in São Paulo – was one of Brazil’s leading psychiatrists and sexologists Dr. Carmita Abdo, who answered questions from the full house of healthy aging professionals, together with psychologist and geriatric specialist Dr. Valmari Aranha, the publisher of Revista Aptare Lilian Liang, and the film’s director Steven Loring (many thanks for the simultaneous translation!).

In each of the 14 countries in which The Age of Love has screened, the call for more attention to the emotional needs of elders has resonated. Regardless of culture or race, religion or gender, we all experience the emotional losses that aging brings. It’s clearly time, as demographics rapidly shift and every society faces these issues, to reject stereotypes of aging, and to redefine our attitudes, policies and programs.

With thanks to the people of São Paulo! How exciting to watch the film resonate in your city and inspire a new understanding of the importance and endurance of love….







FEATURE: TODAY SHOW on NBC — Senior citizens turn to speed dating to find love

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 • Leave a comment
by Rheana Murray, Senior Lifestyle Reporter, 11.8.2017

PICTURE THIS: A GROUP OF SENIOR CITIZENS GATHER IN A ROOM, mingle over drinks and snacks, and then find their seats at one of the many small tables, one man and one woman at each. They have five minutes to talk, to learn each other’s names and interests and backgrounds, and then a bell rings. On to the next date.

Events like this are usually aimed at young professionals — until now. Speed-dating events for seniors are slowly cropping up across the country and, spoiler alert, they’re a huge success.

“I think people forget that when you get older, and especially if you lose a spouse or partner, you’re by yourself a lot,” Kim Phillips, the senior citizens services manager at the Portage Senior Center in Portage, Michigan, told TODAY. “Isolation can be a physical killer.”

Speed dating typically conjures images of big cities and millennials, but as Phillips is learning, it might also be a unique fit for senior citizens. She’s organized five speed-dating events for seniors in her community so far, with more planned for November and December.   Continue Reading

Not Just Love or Sex, But Companionship: Over-50 Speed Dating

Thursday, August 31st, 2017 • Leave a comment
by Earlene McMichael • August 10, 2017

Kim Phillips, Portage Senior Center Manager, at one of four senior speed dating events she organized during Summer 2017 after screening The Age of Love.


HAVING A STRONG SOCIAL NETWORK HAS A POSITIVE EFFECT ON THE HEALTH OF SENIOR CITIZENS. But here’s the thing: Finding a partner and friends can be tougher for older adults.

Tammy, a Kalamazoo-area woman, has been searching for that special someone for a long time.

“I’m 65. I am divorced, and I have been on my own for about 18 years,” she says. “I’ve had some dates in between.” But nothing turned serious.

She’s even tried a matchmaking service. “It’s a paid service, where they do a background check and everything… It’s been three or four years since I signed up with them, and they never really got any matches for me.”

Gordon is a 78-year-old man from Portage. He says it’s been hard to move on after the death of his wife of over a half century, who died three years ago.

He has taken a few women out to lunch since her death, but he says he wouldn’t call that dating.

“When you’re married that many years as long as I’ve been, you figure you’re never going to find love again because it’s too big of a loss,” he explains, pausing, his voice beginning to crack.

“And to try to overcome that loss is a difficult thing to do.”

Playing cupid: Speed dating

Kim Phillips manages the Portage Senior Center. She’s heard similar stories from older adults as they seek to re-enter the dating world.

So in July the senior center started offering its first ever speed dating events to address the social isolation some older adults feel. There’s ones for people aged 50 to 65; another for those 65 and up. The response from women has been especially robust, resulting in waiting lists and, ultimately, more sessions added.

It’s only been a few weeks since launching, but speed dating has already led to some older adults no longer having to spend their days alone.

“We got a call from a gentleman who was at the first speed dating event on July 17th, who said he has made a connection with a woman that night,” Phillips says. “They have been seeing each other practically every day, and they’re happy. He said he almost didn’t show up to the event. He was so nervous in the parking lot.”

What was originally supposed to be a handful of speed dating events will now be many ones offered several times a year on either an every-other-month or quarterly basis, officials say…




Thursday, June 8th, 2017 • Leave a comment


WE’VE HAD A BUSY SPRING SPREADING THE LOVE IN OVER 50 CITIES. With thanks for the memories from (clockwise from top) ‘heart-handers’ at Aging Life Care Association’s 2017 Annual Conference, United Way of Miami-Dade’s ‘Continue United’ program (with AARP Florida), Reston Community Center’s encore screening, the amazing students at NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health, and the Portage MI Senior Center’s screening kickoff to FOUR senior speed dating events they’ve announced for July and August! Now onward to the Fall!


Saturday, May 13th, 2017 • Leave a comment
by Ray Andrewsen, Host of WQUN’s ‘The Morning Show with Ray Andrewsen’, 5.9.2017



It’s touching, it’s poignant, it’s funny, very funny. It’s ‘THE AGE OF LOVE’, a film by Steven Loring, and it’s about speed dating in Rochester, New York. And joining us this morning is Steven Loring at WQUN. Great to have you here. Thanks for being with us.

Steven Loring: Thanks Ray, it’s my pleasure.

Ray Andrewsen: You know, I can’t imagine a 70, 80, 90-year-old person speed dating. It just doesn’t sound like that would be an event you’d naturally call to mind, somebody who’s an octogenarian or a nonagenarian. But somehow you filmed all of this, and put it in this great film.

Steven Loring: Well, I think it’s a concept whose time is certainly coming. The world is changing in so many ways, demographically. When I was growing up, I know my grandparents were in their 60s and they were already “old” and retiring and looking for a few activities to do in the years they had remaining. Whereas today, people 70s, 80s, 90s, even 100 and beyond, are out living and growing and experiencing things in a whole new way. And as long as you’re alive, people want to grow, and growth means connection, it means emotional connection. And so it just makes sense, I think, that we’re starting to get rid of some of those stereotypes and address aging as it is in this millennium. Which is a lot different.



FEATURE: MIAMI HERALD — Speed dating with a walker? Well, why not?

Sunday, January 29th, 2017 • Leave a comment
by Ana Veciana-Suarez, Syndicated Columnist, 1.30.2017
miami herald 1_30_2017

THE HAIR MAY BE GOING GRAY AND THE EYESIGHT DIM, but the yearning for social connection — for the touch of a hand, the sound of a companionable laugh — remains a person’s strongest need through the decades.

In some cases the longing for love can mean a willingness to do the unexpected. Like speed dating at 80. Or speed dating while on an oxygen tank.

United Way of Miami-Dade volunteers and staff discovered this when they launched Continue United, an effort to bring retirees and pre-retirees together to contribute their time and talent to the community through the local nonprofit. The interest in the dating scene is such that Continue United’s second event, a dinner-and-movie night scheduled for Feb. 2, sold out after a single email blast. The committee has started a waiting list for the evening, which is co-sponsored by AARP and the Consortium for a Healthier Miami-Dade.   Continue Reading

FEATURE: WISC-TV NEWS 3 MADISON, WI — Madison Senior Center holds speed dating for singles 65 and older

Thursday, November 17th, 2016 • Leave a comment
by Dannika Lewis, News Reporter, 11.16.2016madison-senior-center-speed-dating

MADISON, WIS. – PATTI HEMMING IS NOT ONE FOR WAITING. Comfortably situated at table seven with a condensation-covered copper cup in hand, she was already well into her mindset for her happy hour engagement.

“It’s an adventure,” Hemming said.

John F. Kennedy was president when Hemming met her husband. That was the last date she ever went on.

“March 19, 1963,” Hemming said.

She lost her one-and-only years ago, and knowing he would want her to be happy, Hemming found herself at a series of events hosted by the Madison Senior Center centered on helping people make a match in their later years.

Hemming managed to convince a few friends to come with her to the Madison Concourse Hotel. They had six minutes to meet and greet their fellow seniors, all at least 65 years old, in the first senior speed dating event of its kind.    Continue Reading

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