Senior speed dating

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In October, Jodi Firestone hatched a plan that had been years in the making.

She’s the community liaison for Somerby Senior Living and she decided to pull together a senior speed dating event at the Somerby location in Sandy Springs.

Firestone was inspired in part by similar gatherings hosted by Vivienne Kurland, Program Coordinator for One Good Deed and Aviv Older Adult Services through Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta.

Kurland was on hand to help out during Somerby’s event.

Around the room, small square tables were decorated with glass jars, filled to the brim with silver kiss candies.

Balloons hovered above; two chairs sat across from one another in anticipation.

The gathering wasn’t really about dating or finding romance.

The aim was to give these older adults an opportunity to meet new people and make new connections.

“Syd is extremely wise and gives great life advice,” she said. “Even though we’re not related, she feels like part of the family.” Perhaps what Podber and Green have most gained from their relationship is their sense of helping and inspiring one another, the regaining of another kind of spark. “I’ve already invited her to “The Color Purple” at the Fox Theatre next week.” Cookie Shaffer, 80, a native Atlantan, also admitted she felt a few sparks.Most of the men she talked with asked her about her interests and where she was from. “I’m a UGA/Cowboys/Falcons fan, and I want someone to watch football with.” Spencer Weil, who’ll be 96 in December, didn’t necessarily experience any sparks, but thoroughly enjoyed the event.When it comes to senior speed dating, sometimes the connection isn’t about dating at all.Friendship, support between those with similar interests, and creating an extended network of family are all reasons seniors seek out pairing events that “help seniors rediscover their spark.” Take Lynn Podber, 59, and Syd Green, 91, two women who matched at a similar event through One Good Deed and Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta about two years ago. Our connection has become something more than just who we are.

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