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Go on, be honest. Which of the following images do you think the media is more likely to use to accompany an article on online dating? We are all living decades longer than we once did, and are staying fitter, healthier and in some cases, friskier further into our wisdom years than ever before.


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T he news that the battered and bruised institution of marriage has apparently received the kiss of life — especially among those aged over 65 — was greeted with enthusiasm last week; everybody loves the cheer of wedding bells and a sprinkling of confetti.

Trish
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Consider living arrangements. Research has long demonstrated a health benefit from marriage, too. They go to shows, they travel, they play cards. Those kaffeeklatsches, book groups and friendships pay off.

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Older African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to face financial burdens regardless of marital status, for instance. Umberson said. Every few years, a group of federal agencies publishes a raft of data on every conceivable subject affecting older people. Healthy, solvent people can flourish on their own, of course.

Lest this picture seem entirely bleak, let me point out that social scientists have also documented ways in which many older women flower after widowhood and grief. Women struggling with financial burdens or social isolation, on the other hand, might benefit from couplehood. About three-quarters of men ages 65 to 74 are married, compared with 58 percent of women in that age group. Life expectancy explains only part of this gap, said Deborah Carr, interim director of the Institute for Health at Rutgers University who has studied marriage and widowhood.

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She has stopped driving, but knows all her Uber drivers by name. And she succeeded in avoiding a nursing home: Mr. Schwartz was 85 when he died at home in July Schwartz, 79, still recovering from the loss, has returned to her volunteering, her swimming and walking, her book group.

In Dr. Moreover, older women have a not-so-secret weapon: stronger social ties. Among people over 75, the report points out, 23 percent of men live alone. How much of a hit? At every age, the report shows, older men are far more likely to be married than older women. With 2. Cohort changes may eventually torpedo a lot of these gender and marital differences.

9 things you didn’t know about dating for seniors

My friend Frieda is among those with no interest in partnering again. Take my artist friend Frieda Kasden, in Rockville, Md. Elegant and still blonde at 89, Frieda has been widowed twice and had ificant relationships since, but remains happily single.

Well, Frieda thrives. The s that jumped out at me from the latest report, called Older Americansconcerned a more intimate matter: gender differences in marital status. Gail Schwartz, for example, spent five grueling years ensuring that her husband David, who had vascular dementiacould live and then die at home in Chevy Chase, Md.

She served as his solo caregiver at first, then hired aides to help.

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But older women suffer, too. And many older unmarried women do face economic difficulties. Since the divorced are more likely to remarry or cohabit than widows or widowers, we could see a lower percentage of older adults living alone in coming years.

By that point, only 17 percent of women are. For women, the figure is twice as high. Carr said.

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If she needs hands-on care, she told her three daughters, they should find her a pleasant care facility, and visit. A host of other sociocultural changes, from less stigma about divorce to more women in the work force, could also play out as boomers and their children age. Umberson said — and, again, unmarried women take the brunt of that.

Even among men over 85, nearly 60 percent are married.

They have lives of their own, children of their own. He points out that race and ethnicity also play ificant roles.