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Participants went on a series of 3-minute dates and indicated whom they would like to see again.They were followed-up by the researchers six weeks and 12 months after the speed-dating session.Tammy, a Kalamazoo-area woman, has been searching for that special someone for a long time. 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. "It’s a paid service, where they do a background check and everything…"They actually seem to kind of blossom, come out of their shell. They have something to look forward to every day, so it really brings them out of their shell and perks them up a lot.” Loneliness, isolation harms A 2011 survey of 350 seniors living in Kalamazoo County showed 29 percent of them reported feeling lonely or isolated. The results were part of the Kalamazoo County Senior Growth Needs Assessment.In Michigan, 28 percent of people over 65 live by themselves, according to the Census.
"They traded us with ‘Wonder Woman’ because our numbers were higher.” It's showtime A month later, on a sunny Monday in July, the Senior Center put on its inaugural speed dating event in a private dining-room at Jac’s Cekola’s Pizza restaurant in Portage, which the owners are letting it use at no cost. Twelve men and 12 women aged 65 and higher sit for conversation at cozy, round tables, adorned with fresh flowers. Every five minutes, a bell rings, signaling that it is time to switch. So is Tammy, the 65-year-old who had the disappointing experience with a matchmaking service.
“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.