DEAR HARRIETTE: My 85-year-old mother has a suitor! She recently moved into a retirement community, and there’s a gentleman there who has taken a fancy to her. She sounds all bubbly on the phone when she talks about him. I am happy for her, but I feel like the mother of a teenager.
I don’t want this man to take advantage of my mother. She hasn’t had a partner for decades. My dad died years ago and she dated many years back, but I worry. What if he hurts her feelings? What if he also is “courting” someone else in the community? Am I crazy to be so overprotective of her? How can I support my mother? -- Senior Dating, Miami
DEAR SENIOR DATING: Relax. Let your mother enjoy this moment of flirtation and attention. What’s amazing to me is that people can continue to enjoy the excitement of romance -- on a variety of levels -- even when they are older. Yes, the body slows down and cannot always do what it could when you were young, but the mind and spirit often still want to dance!
Encourage your mother to enjoy herself. If she is inclined to any type of sexual activity, be the mother of the teenage senior, and remind her to use protection. Believe it or not, senior citizens have high rates of sexually transmitted infections, so she does have to be careful.