Has the passage of time made you think you’ll never find love again?
Five vibrant, active older ladies have some news for you: It’s never too late to date.
And they hope to prove it, both on screen and in person this month.
The five, all directors of the White Rock and Surrey chapter of CARP (formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons) are hosting a showing of a documentary film about speed dating for 70- to 90-year-olds, followed weeks later by an in-person speed dating session.
Both events will take place in South Surrey.
“(The movie) is about finding love again after loss, later in life,” says seniors’ advocate and columnist April Lewis, who will MC the showing of “The Age of Love” on June 10 at 12 noon at the Rialto Theatre (1732 152 St.)
The movie was released in 2014 by New Yorker Steven Loring.
“The film was inspired by seeing my mom’s emotional struggles when she was 70 and vital and vibrant when my dad suddenly passed away,” Loring told The Leader by email on Monday.
“That same year, a 78-year-old uncle who’d never even been on a date met an 80-year-old woman and fell madly in love for the first time in his life.”
So far, more than 70 $5 tickets have been sold for the movie.
Photo by Boaz Joseph – From left: Denice Thompson, Ramona Kaptyn, April Lewis, Catherine Sperling Dreyer and Lita Martin, all directors of CARP’s White Rock-Surrey chapter.
The organizers are planning a post-screening discussion with advance information and a sign-up for the speed dating event (or for the nervous, a “meet-and-greet.”)
Officially titled Comfort, Companionship, Connection… Reinvented, and aimed for those 55 and over, it will take place June 29 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Chartwell Crescent Gardens Retirement Community, 1222 King George Blvd.
Both events are sponsored by CARP, Comfort Keepers (home care services for the elderly), the BC Association of Community Response Networks and Chartwell Crescent Gardens.
“The most important thing is we’re going to have fun,” says Lewis. “We’re all in this together, this aging thing. And a lot of people are nervous about finding love, companionship or friendship in later years.
“But we’re all aging at the same rate.”
She adds people look for different qualities in others as they get older.
“A lot of people go ‘Oh, I’m 82 and I have wrinkles…’ whatever… who cares. It doesn’t matter. We all need human companionship.”
Lewis says human connections are critical to healthy aging – be it physical, mental or emotional health.
“When you connect with other people, it leads to better health.”
Heather Martin, owner of the White Rock, Langley and Vancouver franchises of Comfort Keepers, came up with the idea of organizing the showing of the movie and the speed dating after seeing the trailer on youtube.
“You see so many seniors who crave companionship,” she says.
Martin has already seen the community’s response to The Age of Love, having filled a movie house in Burnaby on April 21.
In South Surrey on June 29, unlike the movie, which had speed daters from ages 70-90, anyone age 55 and up can sign up.
Twelve couples will each be given five minutes to chat with their potential match. It will happen twice that day.
Ramona Kaptyn, the chair of the local CARP chapter, says no sexual orientation is excluded from participating.
“If it’s successful, we hope to take it on the road on the Lower Mainland,” says Lewis. “I think Mr. Loring, who’s done the film, is on to something.”
The group of five is pumped.
“You’re looking at five women who are in their 50s, 60s and 70s. We represent the new vision of aging,” says Lewis. “We’re not on crutches, we’re not waiting to die. We’re vital and we’re very engaged in life.
“Being serious, social isolation is a curse. It’s one of the most frightening things. There are so many seniors who are isolated and we want to get them out and about, and enjoy (life) again.”
“Someone to talk to and have coffee with,” adds Kaptyn. “Or wine.”
Tickets to the movie are $5 (space is limited). For more information, contact Ramona Kaptyn, CARP White Rock Surrey chairperson, at 778-294-0787or firstname.lastname@example.org