Senior speed dating: Touchmark hoping for a spark on Valentine’s Day

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Putting yourself out there to date can be tough. It doesn't matter if you're 20, 30, or even 80.

So for the first time, at least that we know of in Sioux Falls, a local retirement community is hosting a speed dating event for seniors.

Charlotte Cooper-Tracy has got a busy day ahead of her. She's cooking for a dinner party she's heading off to later. Family is coming by for lunch and she's got exercise class in-between.

She is, what we commonly refer to, as a social butterfly.
“I'm going to be 83 next week.”

Yes, even at 83 years old. But even Charlotte, in a city she's known much of her life and in a retirement community with hundreds of others, has a tough time meeting someone to spend time with.

“We get acquainted over meals, but otherwise there are people you just never get a chance to talk to because they go to a different dining room or eat at a different time.”

So when the conversation arose recently about a speed dating event.

“I think it's a wonderful idea, I think it'll be a lot of fun!” says Charlotte. “We'll get a chance to talk to people we've not talked to before and I just think it's a good idea. I think it'll shake people out of their laughs.”

“A lot of widows we know about, folks who have lost a spouse or even friendships and connections that they've maintained most of their life and we want to give them an outlet to recreate those,” says Resident Services Director Ellen Kelley.

It doesn't have to be the love they're looking for, companionship, or just new friendships, is a goal.

“Having been married twice, I've done that, been there and so I'll try a different rodeo,” says Charlotte.

The event begins at 2 p.m. on February 11 with the showing of the ‘Age of Love’, a documentary on this very topic. It's what inspired Touchmark to host this event.

A social hour and the speed dating event follow. Couples who are married have asked if they might attend as well, absolutely. Anyone over 60, from in town, out of town, whatever is welcome to attend!