Dave Shulz and Caron Girch founded Connected two years ago. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster.

Connected, a social group for widows, widowers and divorced and single people over 55, is up and running again after a forced hiatus during the pandemic.

The group, which meets monthly, had just celebrated its first year when COVID-19 broke out. 

The group’s founders, Caron Grich and Dave Shulz, met in a grief support group a few years ago following the deaths of their respective spouses. They saw a need for people their ages without spouses to have a group dedicated not to support but rather to connection. 

For people 55 and older, said Girch, “It’s very hard to meet other people.” 

Members of Connected are generally in their 60s to 70s.

“There’s no way to meet people unless you want to constantly go out to restaurants or bars,” Shulz said. 


The group is not intended as a way to find a romantic partner, but merely for people to meet and talk with others in their same age group.

“Just about everybody in the group has found someone they want to sit and talk to,” Shulz said. 

While that may lead to some members dating, that’s not the group’s purpose. Connected is the only such group in the state that is also free to join, they said. 

Grich books a new speaker every month to come talk with the group, including representatives from the Maine Maritime Museum, Maine Fishermen’s Association and the Midcoast Symphony. Members look forward to learning about a new subject at each meeting and it breaks the ice for conversation, she said. 

While the summer tends to see fewer attendees, some meetings see as many as 30 people. 

“They look forward to the speakers; it gets them out of the house and they get to meet people,” Grich said. 


“People just want to get out, meet other people and talk,” Shulz said. 

Maine has the oldest population in the country and the highest number of baby boomers, one-third of whom are single. 

“Very often after the speakers are done, people will stay after and just talk about all sorts of things,” Shulz said.

People attend from all over, Grich said, “some have even come from New Hampshire, Connecticut or New Jersey and all over Maine.” 

Because Brunswick has such a large retiree population, she said, it’s a prime location for a group like Connected.  

“We’re extending an invitation to anybody and everybody who fits our category,” she said.

Meetings are held on the first Monday of each month from 7-9 p.m. at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Brunswick. The next meeting is set for Aug. 1.  Non-vaccinated people are asked to wear a mask. For more information, call 207-725-1266. 

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