Retirement home short of men hires dance partners

Posted Feb 14, 2011 by William Charles Baker
A shortage of men for activities is a factor of life in retirement and nursing homes around the country. A retirement home in Florida has hired two men to serve as dance partners for women at the home.
Social gathering for seniors.
Social gathering for seniors.
Edgewater Pointe Estates in Boca Raton, where women outnumber the men by 3 to 1, hired Hewitt Bruce, 58, and Nick Zaharias, 72, to make sure that the women have partners and avoid being wall flowers. They are paid for their work and to the satisfaction of one woman who danced at her residence with a broom having a partner was much better.
Bloomberg reports: “Edgewater Pointe is part of a 23-home chain whose roughly 9,000 seniors are about 70 percent female, the result of longer lifespans among women and less likelihood they'll live alone. Elsewhere, the numbers are even more lopsided, including the Los Angeles Jewish Home, where men account for just 10 percent of residents. "I had to live to be 86 years old before I got odds like that," said Ellis Simon, a retiree there.”
Bruce, a retired clinical psychologist, and Zaharias, a retired product designer, are both single. While out of the norm, paying for their kind of service is an attempt to correct the imbalance in activities where some men do not want to or are unable to dance.
Serving as escorts as well they chat with the women and smiles can be seen across faces while some others dance with their women friends as well. Their primary job is to ensure that the surplus of women have an opportunity to get on the dance floor and enjoy the evening. Some are in stocking feet or limited in ability but they try anyway.
The TimesHerald reports: “When you bring a smile to someone’s face and you help them to remember what it was like when they were younger and they were able to dance with their significant other or their husband, of course it’s uplifting,” Bruce said. “You’re really bringing hope to people.”
A local college fraternity also brings in volunteers on occasion.