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Let’s take a look at nine things you (probably) didn’t know about dating for older adults: It seems counter-intuitive to say that people characterized by one attribute — how old they are — don’t care as much about age when looking for a companion, but it’s true.

Young people are incredibly age-prejudiced, to such an extent that age is one of the most important filter criteria used to find a match on online dating sites. Age is the second-most important attribute used to help users determine if they’re interested in a potential match (after the photo).

Many older adults have multiple needs for companionship. And that sums up the generation gap in a nutshell …

This scenario is not just on Match.com, but on E-harmony, Ourtime, Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, and the rest of the dating websites.

The filtering mechanisms on these dating sites similarly emphasize the importance age takes in the minds of young match-seekers, with all users asked to specify the age range they are seeking, with many choosing ridiculously narrow ranges (e.g. ) Adults over 55 are far more flexible in their approach to companionship.

Far more important is what shape you are in, how healthy you are, what activities you can do. If you’re active and like going for long walks and playing golf, you’re going to be much more interested in the fit and energetic 82-year-old who can share your activities than the 65-year-old waiting on a hip replacement who can no longer walk long distances. The other stunning aspect of dating for young people is how much looks matter.

On the other hand, the 75-year old woman who has had past back problems and likes to stay in with wine and movies might be a great match for that 65-year-old man. The hottest online dating app for young people today is Tinder, which proudly claims to be matching over 450 million love-seekers daily.

Take a quick look at the Tinder user interface to the left.

What stands out as the most important aspect of a person when determining if you may be a potential match? With Tinder (and pretty much every other online dating system on the market today) the photo is all-important.With the obsession that today’s media has with youth and appearance, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s only the young who are looking for companionship, that dating is a young person’s game. Which of the following images do you think the media is more likely to use to accompany an article on online dating? At the same time, more older adults over 55 find themselves single and looking, either through divorce or the tragic loss of a husband or wife they loved for many years. 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.Maybe this is because older adults are wise enough to know that looks have very little to do with whether someone is going to be a kind, loving and caring companion.Maybe it’s because the physical nature of attractiveness changes when you get older, or maybe they know that being “hot and sexy” is more a function of your personality than how you look.Nobody likes the idea of spending years cooking for themselves and eating alone.And always being the lone single person when your married friends want to catch up for dinner starts to become a little tiresome.Part of this is probably the wisdom that comes with age, but even more significant is an essential truth about how age works.Once you get into your fifties and beyond, the actual number of your age becomes less and less significant.Older adults, however, look for companionship in a way that’s very different from their younger counterparts.Once you’re into your wisdom years your needs, desires and expectations are very different from what you’re looking for when you’re in your 20s.

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