How To Keep Love Alive in Your Senior Years
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12 Tips for Keeping Love Alive in Your Senior Years

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How To Keep Love Alive in Your Senior Years
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timeless love

Romance is hardly reserved for the young. Many lucky people enjoy fulfilling love lives well into their golden years. And while maintaining the spark in a relationship at any age takes work, it can be even more challenging after you've been married for a few decades. With that in mind, here are tips to keep the romance alive as we age.

Stay Physically Healthy
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stay physically healthy

It's assumed that aging leads to bad health, which in turns decreases a romantic spark, says David Bennett, a certified counselor, relationship expert, and co-author of seven self-help books. "However, at least in men, research shows that age alone doesn't lower testosterone levels responsible for male sex drive," said Bennett, who runs the website The Popular Man. "It's being unhealthy which leads to a decrease in T levels. Older men in excellent health didn't show decreased testosterone levels." Weight-lifting in particular seems to keep seniors strong and healthy and testosterone levels high, he said.
Try New Things
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try new things

As we age, we get into established routines that end up killing the spark. "Novelty and newness can cause dopamine, a 'feel good' chemical, to release in the brain, which is the same chemical released when we're in the initial infatuation period of a relationship," Bennett said. "It doesn't have to be spontaneous per se. Just plan out new things to do as a couple." For example, when was the last time you went to an amusement park or rock concert?
Get Out of Sexual Routines
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get out of sexual routines

A study of men and women over 70, conducted by researchers at Indiana University's Center for Sexual Health Promotion, found that 43 percent of men and 22 percent of women say they engage in sexual intercourse. Yet, many couples get into sexual routines without even knowing it (scheduled sex in a dark bedroom on someone's birthday, for example)." It doesn't have to be this way though: try new places and positions," says Bennett. "Nothing is stopping an older couple from exploring sexual kinks and making things more exciting."
Create Your Dream Life Together
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create your dream life together

You may have more free time on your hands at this stage in your life than when you were younger, says Rori Sassoon, a relationship expert and co-founder of the matchmaking service Platinum Poire. "If you and your partner are both in good health, it's your time to play and really create your dream life. Take turns trading off and surprising each other with date adventures, traveling, and activities that you enjoy together."
Create Open Communication
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create open communication

Some weathered and long-term relationships have built up resentments that need clearing up, some forgiving and forgetting may also need to be done. "You want to start new because your partner is not the same person as when you began your relationship," says Sassoon. "Get to know the new version of them and fall in love all over again."
Don't Be the Solo Caregiver
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if one of you needs care, don't be the only caregiver

When one partner or spouse needs care, it often falls to the other partner. This is a surefire way to kill the romance, says Jennifer FitzPatrick author of "Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing the Stress of Caring for Your Loved One." "It's admirable for spouses to care for each other in times of illness, but don't do everything yourself," she advises. "Allow friends and family to contribute. Or consider paid help." When spouses or partners immerse themselves in caregiving, they begin to view their loved one primarily as a patient and no longer as a lover.
Go On Dates Together
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go on regular dates alone

Often in our older years we focus much of our lives on our children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. "It's easy to lose sight of the relationship when we focus on family," says FitzPatrick. "This can be a particular problem for those in second marriages or newer relationships because there can be so many more family members to tend to." Try planning regular dates for just the two of you away from the family.
Share Walks After Dinner
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share walks after dinner

Sharing a walk after dinner as often as possible creates energy and potential for an evening of closeness and engagement rather than television, disconnection, and sleep without having touched base with each other, says Katherine Dreyer, who, along with Danny, her husband of 25 years, co-founded ChiLiving, a site focused on how to maintain a balanced, healthy life.
Have Animated Discussions
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have animated discussions

Are you and your partner passionate about politics? The environment? The arts? Dive fully into your individual points of view about these and any other topics of interest, Dreyer says. Don't stop exploring each other's opinions and ideas. "Keep the conversations alive, passionate, and vibrant," she says.
Have Alone Time
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alone time remains important

Alone time is critical for couples at any age, but perhaps even more so for those who are retired. Why? Because retired couples might have too much time together, or more time than they used to, Dreyer points out. "Give each other plenty of alone time for each person to feel themselves," she advises.
Engage in Educational Experiences
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engage in educational experiences together

Speaker and author Silvana Clark is not a relationship expert. But she and her husband have been happily married for 40 years and still enjoy being with each other. Clark says one of their secrets to keep the romance alive is participating in educational experiences together. "Every few weeks, one of us announces 'Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. we are going on an educational experience,' " explains 65-year-old Clark. "The only rules are that it has to be inexpensive, it has to be something we've never done, and no one can complain about the event. It is a surprise for the other person, and it forces us to check out local events to have new experiences."
Get a Good Night's Sleep
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don't underestimate the importance of a good night's sleep

As you get older, it becomes harder to sleep well. Changes in the brain can cause sleep disruption. In addition, women dealing with menopause often experience insomnia, says Chris Brantner, certified sleep science coach at SleepZoo.com. "Not to mention men are more likely to snore as they get older, which can be a detriment to the sleep of their spouse." Lack of sleep can cause rifts in relationships. Sleep deprived couples are likely to be irritable with one another and less likely to cuddle or engage in sex, says Brantner. Getting adequate sleep is crucial for keeping the romance alive. And for some seniors, that might mean sleeping in separate beds or even bedrooms.