A granddaughter has told how she found a boyfriend for her 87-year-old grandmother — by making her an online dating profile.
Carley Lake, 29, was moving abroad and was worried her gran and “best friend” Gen Rosen would become lonely.
Entrepreneur Carley made it her mission to find her gran a date, so and set her up with a profile on Match.com.
She then began “swiping right” for men she thought might work.
After wading through unsuitable matches – including men after much younger girlfriends – she helped her gran send messages to potential suitors.
One reply came back from Vic White, 84 – and four months on the pair are now an item, living together through lockdown, in Palm Springs, California.
Carley is now launching a dating app for older people, and retired travel consultant Gen is happier than ever.
Carley, from Los Angeles, who now lives in Amsterdam, said: “Vic was the only person she had a back and forth with and she would call me twice a day – excited, asking me what she should say next.
“We got to the point where they were talking a lot and I told her, ‘maybe you should have a phone call before you meet up in person.’
“She had a call with him – went really well.
“Then only a few days later, they went out on their first date.
“It’s now been four months and they live together in quarantine.”
Gen added: “We are a great couple – we share everything, we’re happy.
“I haven’t been so happy in years!”
Gen’s husband Gene Rosen died in 2007, aged 79, and she lived alone for many years.
But this year she confessed to Carley she was ready to find a companion.
Two weeks before Carley moved abroad for work, the pair set up dating profiles on Jdate and Match.
The criteria for the match was a liberal thinker who lived close by and was happy to date someone in their 80s – and didn’t have a gun in their photos.
Carley helped filter through potential dates and offered ideas for introductory messages.
Carley said: “I always say if I get married one day, she’d almost certainly be a bridesmaid – she feels like a sister to me.
“Recently with me moving, she was talking a little bit more to myself and to my mum about being lonely and really wanting a partner again – whether that looked like a male companion, a best friend or someone to spend the days with.”
She added: “This is how determined we were – we only got her a month subscription for both.
“My role, and this might be a little weird to people, but I made her profile and we would sort through the guys together.
“I would do a little by myself – a lot of men only wanted women 30-years younger than them.
“I helped her get those guys out of the way.
“My job was then showing her the pictures of the guys we matched with, and then I would help her do the opening line.”
Carley and Gen sent two of the ten matches a message – but her only conversation was with Vic, who was also her first and only date in January.
Vic, a retired operations manager, who was also widowed was on Match.com – his neighbour had set him up with a year-long subscription which he cancelled after meeting Gen.
The pair moved in together in February.
Vic said: “I got her for $62!
“The first date we had at the coffee shop, we went in and instead of coffee we had a three hour lunch.
“Right from the beginning we were attracted to each other.”
Gen added: “We’ve been living together through this virus and we do everything together – we’re happy together all the time.
“My daughter said, ‘Mum, it’s going too fast.’
“I said, ‘I’m 87 and I’ve been a widow for 13 years – what am I waiting for?”
After the success of this match, Carley and her boyfriend Chris Brauchli, 31, are designing an app to help others reconnect with the elder generation.
The ‘Hi, grandma app’ will offer prompts, including conversation starters and ideas for games that will aid communication between generations.
The pair are hoping to incorporate the opportunity to donate to Meals on Wheels and Doctors Without Borders within the app to further aid the elderly.
Carley said: “I really want to figure out a way – and I think this app is the first step – to really spark intergenerational connection and learning.
“I wanted to spur that connection, but do it in a fun and creative way, and keep it going.
“We have a list of 200 plus activities, life lesson prompts, fun questions to ask, would you rather – activities that are easy enough for seniors to do who aren’t tech savvy.
“It’s a never-ending resource bank of things to do and talk about with your grandparents.”
Users will also be also encouraged to use the conversation starters with those in their local community too.
Carley added: “It’s a way to show gratitude, to bring back nostalgia for our grandparents, to ask advice.
“At the end of the day, I really hope seniors feel a little less lonely and a little more connected.”
Those interested can sign-up for updates on Hi, grandma app here: https://www.higrandma.com/