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Valentine’s Day is one of those occasions like New Year’s Eve, when many of us feel pressure to do something or be with someone significant. It can be a great day for established couples, but not so wonderful for those who are single, divorced, widowed, or recently broken up.

The burgeoning Valentine’s Day gift industry doesn’t help either. Scores of flowers, cards, movies, candies, even clothing remind us that we ought to be part of a pair. Those chalky candy hearts with the sappy sayings (Cutie Pie; Love Bug; Hey Sexy) can be nauseating in more ways than one.

In earlier decades, when young students bestowed those self-sealing cards on only a select few classmates, even children felt less than loved on Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, most teachers today have put the kibosh on cards altogether or require students to give one to everyone in the class. That doesn’t mitigate the adult version of that scenario, however – for example, the two dozen red roses a co-worker receives while the giftless person in the adjoining cubicle can’t wait for February 15th.

Even for those with a special someone, Valentine’s Day can be an opportunity for great disappointment. Who wants that box of fattening chocolates when they’re trying to lose weight? How could their partner be so insensitive? What about those wilted flowers with a discount tag on them? One woman recalls receiving a Valentine’s card from her husband intended for one’s mother. When she questioned him about it, he said he didn’t read it very closely. Oops!

The Internet showcases hilarious gift missteps on Valentine’s Day, including such items as a cleaning tool, a horse-drawn carriage ride for someone who hates winter, and (no lie) a toilet seat.

Even dining out can be a letdown on Valentine’s Day. With 71 percent of Americans vying for tables on February 14th, overcrowded restaurants, overworked servers, jacked up prices, and unattended diners make for a less than romantic evening.

Seniors can feel particularly lonely and isolated on Valentine’s Day, especially if they live alone and can’t get out easily, or they have lost a significant other. It may be even harder on senior women because there is only one man for every four women by the time they reach 70, and many report that older men only want to date younger women.

So, should Cupid pack up his bow and arrow and go home? No; on the contrary! There are many forms of love, and relationships of all kinds can – and should – be celebrated on Valentine’s Day. Children, grandchildren, siblings, friends, neighbors can all be our cherished valentines.

Seniors in community living have exceptionally ripe opportunities to form and celebrate relationships. At Monarch Landing, residents can choose from countless activities, events and outings that foster new friendships and enrich the love stories of our married couples. And they don’t have to step foot outside for fabulous, attentive dining experiences.

The surrounding city of Naperville offers much for residents as well, on Valentine’s Day and all year long. While the Naperville Riverwalk seems tailor-made for a romantic stroll along the DuPage River, it’s a favorite attraction for people of all ages and stages.

Downtown Naperville is a bustling hub of shops, restaurants and activity, even as it still maintains its small-town feel. And residents of Monarch Landing will soon enjoy the developing CityGate Centre right across the street, where the creed is “live, work, play, stay” (though our happily retired residents can forget the work part!).

We at Monarch Landing wish you a heartfelt Happy Valentine’s Day! Won’t you be ours?