The Scoop: In 2014, Stitch created a friendly social network dedicated to seniors seeking love and companionship. The community-driven site and app now supports a global community where singles can share events, post in forums, and connect with people their own age. Some singles use this portal to find romance, while others are content to make new friends, attend local meetups, and see what happens. Stitch values all forms of human connection, and the team encourages over-50 singles to explore the platform and find a place where they belong.
Australian entrepreneur Andrew Dowling has always looked for ways to make a difference in people’s lives. To him, success means more than revenue, clicks, or subscriptions. It means having an overall positive impact in the global community.
Andrew has worked on social enterprises throughout his career, and his passion for bringing people together led him to create a senior-friendly site and app called Stitch in 2014.
Stitch is on a mission to solve a painful and overlooked problem: senior loneliness.
According to research, singles over 60 are 45% more likely to die in the next 12 months if they lack social connections, and 64% more likely to develop dementia. The former U.S. Surgeon General said loneliness can have health consequences as negative as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
“I founded Stitch after coming across compelling research about the importance of social connections in our lives as we age,” Andrew said. “Social determinants are now understood to have a huge impact on our health and well-being, particularly for older adults.”
Sadly, many adults see their social connections and romantic prospects dwindle as they get older, and that can leave them in an isolated place by the time they reach retirement age. Whether they’re divorced, widowed, or never-married, millions of people over 60 find themselves living alone in their golden years and without companionship to get them through the day.
It can be challenging to stay connected and meet new people as a senior single, but online communities have begun offering hope, solace, and companionship to this lonely demographic. Stitch has been at the forefront of the movement to help seniors become more engaged, active, and united both online and offline.
Stitch is more than a dating site — it’s a fast-growing community where seniors can make friendships, build relationships, and enjoy socializing on their terms.
The Stitch website and app allow members to suggest and attend local activities, form interest groups, engage in online discussions, and connect with people who share similar life experiences and values.
“Stitch is there to help everyone maintain and grow their social connections, no matter how old they are,” Andrew said. “Because everyone needs company.”
The Friendly Community Inspires Real-Life Activities
Stitch is a niche site and app for people who are at least 50 years old. Its members run the gamut from singles who just celebrated their 50th birthday to people who are about to turn 90. However, the majority of its members fall between 55 and 75.
As an all-purpose social site, Stitch welcomes people from all walks of life. Some Stitch members are recently retired professionals, while others are still in the workforce. Some are widowed and looking for healing, and others are divorced and looking for a fresh start. These people may come from different backgrounds — from teachers and factory workers to doctors and lawyers — but they share similar perspectives and goals.
The core of Stitch’s membership base is in the U.S., Australia, and the U.K., but the team is working on reaching non-English-speaking countries in the future.
Stitch values companionship in all its forms, not just dating, so singles can venture here to find travel opportunities, new friends, dinner invites, interest-based groups, local events, and many other shared activities that appeal to a mature crowd.
Once their accounts have been verified, Stitch members can create events and groups that encourage local seniors to come out of their shell and meet new people.
The Stitch team understands that not everyone feels comfortable chatting or building relationships online, so they make sure to highlight real-life opportunities to enjoy a social outing. Members are also welcome to post in the discussion forums or send private messages to become closer to people all around the world.
As an online social network, Stitch has no bounds for the lives it can touch and the relationships it can inspire.
“Stitch is — first and foremost — a community, one which provides our members a sense of purpose and belonging,” Andrew said. “By working with community groups, health providers, local government, and academic researchers, Stitch has been able to demonstrate a measurable positive impact on the lives of our members.”
A Humble Australian Team With a Global Impact
Senior singles often can’t rely on school, work, or even their social circles to introduce them to viable dates and new friends, so they have to be bold and venture into new social territory. Specifically, online dating. Niche sites like Stitch provide a welcoming community for seniors feeling lonely — and they can be great ways to build friendships, relationships, and social connections.
In recent years, baby boomers have started embracing online dating as a way to meet new people, and Stitch has flourished into a thoughtful community for people seeking companionship.
What began as one man’s passion project has grown into a full-fledged social enterprise with product and marketing teams based in Sydney, Australia. The team may be small, but they work hard to make a global impact.
Every week, Stitch receives many heartfelt messages from members and former members who met their significant others or their best friends in the Stitch community.
One member emailed saying she had tears streaming down her face just thinking about the loneliness she’d felt before joining Stitch. She created new friendships on the site, and that changed her life.
Hundreds of Stitch Community Champions advocate for the benefits of creating a membership, suggesting events, and joining the fun. These individuals take it upon themselves to start and support social groups in their areas, and they are instrumental to Stitch’s growth and success.
Stitch Community Champions receive special badges on their profiles to recognize their stellar efforts to reach out and regularly contribute to the forums and events. These leaders help bring newcomers into the fold and make Stitch a uniquely friendly place to meet people.
Andrew said he feels inspired by every friendship and relationship formed in the Stitch community. “It’s the reason we do what we do,” he told us. “As a social enterprise, the entire reason behind Stitch is its ability to make a positive impact on people’s lives.”
Stitch Makes a Difference by Helping Seniors Branch Out
The loneliness epidemic may not make a lot of headlines, but it is quietly killing millions of people around the world. This public health crisis needs a champion and a solution, and the Stitch team has endeavored to fill that role by providing social opportunities to seniors around the world.
Stitch has inspired mature friendships and relationships by focusing on events, activities, and conversation. This isn’t a place for superficial swiping. People on Stitch are genuinely interested in getting to know each other and finding companionship online and offline.
In the coming years, the Stitch team intends to grow its reputation and build on its success by expanding into more countries around the world. Stitch started out as a site for English speakers, but now it is on track to add other languages to its repertoire and spread the message that loneliness isn’t inevitable.
“We’ll be focusing on continuing to grow Stitch communities in new areas, and creating a lot more partnerships with other charities, community organizations, health providers and local government,” Andrew said. “We want Stitch to improve the lives of people over 50 all over the world.”