Island Senior: Looking for love in wrong and right places

Submitted by Peggy Sue McRae

Just last week I got a “friend” request on Facebook from a handsome, silver-haired retired military man in Texas. At least, that is what his profile said. He was seeking friendship and made flattering comments about my profile picture. His Facebook page had very little on it. I deleted him immediately.Every once in a while I get something similar to this. Lonely hearts beware! According to an article in the New York Times *, the Federal Trade Commission reported that in 2020 romance scams claimed $139 million from adult’s age 60 and older.

The Times article goes on to describe the heart-breaking story of 69-year-old Kate Kleinert who accepted a Facebook friend request from a handsome stranger. This supposed “Norwegian doctor working in Iraq” communicated daily with his victim, eventually asking her for money. He managed to bilk her for $39,000 in gift cards for himself and two people claiming to be his children leaving Kleinert entirely broke and destitute.

By the time Kleinert notified the police there was nothing they could do. The saddest part was her broken heart, “The loss that hurts the most is losing his love and losing the family that I thought I was going to have,” said Kleinert.

On the other hand, if you are looking for love, I have a happier story to tell you. When my cousin Eva was visiting me some years ago we paid a visit to our uncle Wally. In his 80s with his snow-white hair and sky blue eyes my uncle was a handsome octogenarian and a newlywed.

His new wife was away for the day and we three had a lively chat. My takeaway from the conversation was hearing my uncle say that he was, in his mid-80s, the happiest he’d ever been.

My uncle met his bride and third wife at the Mullis Center where both were regular attendees at senior lunches. There they met in person surrounded by friends and community. While there are no guarantees in love, your chances for a happy outcome are likely to be better in a friendly real-life environment.

*Retirees are Losing Life Savings to Romance Scams by Emily Schmall, New York Times, Feb 5, 2023