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Federal Way woman founds group for single seniors to connect

Barbara Yakovetz founded a group called Senior Seniors Dine Out for seniors 55 and older to meet each other. - Raechel Dawson, The Mirror
Barbara Yakovetz founded a group called Senior Seniors Dine Out for seniors 55 and older to meet each other.
— image credit: Raechel Dawson, The Mirror

Barbara Yakovetz and her husband of 47 years were having breakfast at the Black Bear Diner one morning when she saw a group of older men in the back room.

As the manager walked by, she asked about them.

“He said those are the ROMEOs and I said, ‘Romeos?’ and he said, ‘Yes, Retired Old Men Eat Out,” Yakovetz recalled with a smile.

The encounter sparked an idea for the Federal Way resident of 36 years. And Single Seniors Dine Out for seniors 55 and older soon came to fruition.

Yakovetz had fliers created and she spread them around the French Lake dog park, the Geriatric Dental Group she’s a part of and the local Fred Meyer. At first she had about eight people show up to the Black Bear Diner’s back room but it soon grew.

Now, in June the group of about 30-35 single seniors will celebrate their two-year anniversary.

Although Yakovetz has yet to connect a couple all the way to marriage because “when you get to be in your 70s, you probably aren’t looking for marriage,” she has brought together at least two couples.

“I had a couple, a few people who’ve connected,” Yakovetz said. “It’s not a dating service but they just kind of met and are together. It’s kinda nice.”

Sandy and Ray, one of the newly formed couples, met when Ray was brought by one of his friends.

“I think that was the last time he came,” she said, laughing. “They’re not married but they hang out and go on trips and stuff … They’re very happy.”

Yakovetz said sometimes it can be hard for seniors to get together and it can be especially lonely if they’re not near family.

“I just think there’s a need for it,” she said. “Some people just don’t get out enough when they get older and their relatives aren’t close by. It’s just a chance to get out and meet somebody you might have something in common with.”

The group does have its fair share of regulars, Yakovetz said, noting one man who was brought to the group by his daughter.

But everybody is welcome to just enjoy a meal at a local diner. There’s no agenda, no membership or RSVP, Yakovetz said.

Although she’d love to make the Single Seniors Dine Out a nationwide group, ultimately she’d love to attend a couple’s wedding she helped connect.

“There’s a need for them all over, anytime, anywhere because I don’t think they have enough single senior things to meet people,” Yakovetz said. “There’s dances and things like that but that’s not for everybody.”

Also, finding that ROMEO group would be nice.

“There’s no men from the ROMEO group, they broke up,” she said. “I thought that would be perfect because we have more single ladies.”

The next dinner for the Single Seniors Dine Out will be from 5:30-7:15 p.m. on May 27 at the Black Bear Diner’s back room. Black Bear Diner is located at 32065 Pacific Highway S. in Federal Way.

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