Residents living at Front Porch retirement communities often tell me that once they move in, it’s pretty easy to make friends. With a variety of clubs, groups and social activities to choose from, it’s just a matter of time before a newcomer finds someone who shares his or her interests or has a similar background that makes a lasting personal connection possible.
Now there’s a new program that offers new opportunities to find friends and connect with other like-minded individuals! It’s called Stitch. The creators of Stitch are partnering with our Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing to help pilot the program. Stitch was developed by a San Francisco-based company called Tapestry. The program helps link people 50 and over, based on mutual interests. You may say that Stitch is just like any other “dating” web site but it’s not. Stitch focuses on companionship rather than love and marriage. Stitch has done research and found that not everyone is looking for love, but everyone is looking for companions – a golf buddy, a dinner date, a hiking companion, a travel partner, etc. But because of divorce or the death of a spouse or of friends, regular companionship may be missing which can lead to social isolation.
Many experts have documented the devastating effects of social isolation among older adults including serious health consequences. Stitch’s founders recognized this and were determined to help.
Earlier this month, Stitch announced its expansion into Southern California and invited the Front Porch Center to test its innovative program among residents living at several Front Porch communities. In a few months, resident volunteers will sign up for Stitch and give feedback to the Center on their experiences. These Stitch users will connect with fellow residents living at other Front Porch communities as well as other seniors living nearby.
Stitch’s founders attribute its initial success to an extra level of security—an age minimum requirement and identity verification. Stitch requires a thorough identity check before full profiles can be viewed and communication is allowed. This identity check ensures that all members are over 50 years of age, making Stitch the only restricted peer-to-peer online social connection service for Baby Boomers and seniors.
The Front Porch Center looks for innovative ways to use technology to empower individuals to live well, especially in their later years and to harness technology solutions that support and enhance wellbeing and help each of us to thrive in mind, body and spirit. Stitch’s efforts to help older adults find meaningful relationships and improve wellbeing is an important part of that equation.
Stay tuned to this blog for more about Stitch in the coming months. For more information about Stitch, visit www.stitch.net.
— Mike Martinez
Senior Communications Director, Front Porch