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According to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center, 11 percent of American adults -- and 38 percent of those who were single and looking for a partner -- said they used online dating sites or mobile dating apps, such as Match.com, e Harmony or OKCupid.

While the study showed younger people were more likely to use the sites, those approaching their senior years are hardly strangers to the Web.

more Stitch.net, an on-line dating service that just launched in Fairfield County, caters to the 50 crowd.

more In a lot of ways, Carmela De Vito has found that dating at 57 is similar to dating in her teens or 20s.

But De Vito said the risks are worth if it helps her find someone she can enjoy spending time with. "I'm just better when I'm with someone." `A game-changer' There were more than 40 million Americans over 65 in 2011, according to the U. Administration on Aging, an 18 percent increase from 2000.

The administration also reported the number of Americans age 45 to 64 rose by 33 percent between 20.

"I've been asked to loan people money or buy them a cellphone," she said.

"They are hoping someone will be at a dinner or be introduced by a friend, but are too insecure to go out and aggressively look for someone." For those people, Schwartz said, Internet dating is an exciting new frontier, allowing them access to a wide array of potential partners from the privacy of their own homes.

"Online dating is a game-changer for older people," she said.

Seniors who are starting to date should arm themselves with revised expectations, an open mind, and a willingness to encounter a few rejections, then to go out and enjoy themselves.

Stitch.net, an on-line dating service that just launched in Fairfield County, caters to the 50 crowd.

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