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REFLECTIONS FROM SUMMIT: Getting older? What does it really mean?

This is the first in a series of columns we are excited to present for another year from the Summit of Uptown called REFLECTIONS FROM SUMMIT.
Getting older? What does it really mean?
There is a difference between living for a long time and getting old. It's actually all in the way you look at it. For example, in October 1874, when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was well into senior citizen status-if they even had such a designation in those days - he was asked to write a poem for the fiftieth anniversary of his college graduation. Declining at first, he was struck by inspiration and penned the poem, Morituri Salutamus: Poem for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Class of 1825 in Bowdoin College, which concludes with these lines:
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
And indeed the wisest among us today echo that same sentiment because although the gifts our later years bring us may not be the same as those we experienced in our younger days, we now have the time and perspective-and the wisdom-to appreciate them.
Remember when you were younger? First, you looked forward to riding your bike around the block by yourself, then to learning to drive a car, then to get your first job. The point is you were always looking forward to something. When did that stop? It stopped when gerascophobia-the abnormal or persistent fear of growing old-invaded our culture. In a world that is fixated on youth, it's no wonder that some older folks begin to believe that the best years of their lives are behind them. But it doesn't have to be that way.
There's a saying in psychology that if you change your thinking, you change your life. By changing the way you think about aging, you may get older, but you will never be old. When we look forward to the future, we are ready not only to meet the challenges that it may bring but also to bask in those the moments of happiness that come along the way. Here are some ideas to think about as you set out on your own adventure.
First of all, stay connected to others whether they are family or friends. If you haven't heard from someone for a while, call them or plan a visit. Relationships are the cushion that helps us withstand the bumps along the way. Second, find a way to make a difference in someone else's life-whether though volunteering, friendship or just a simple smile. When you make a difference, you start a ripple that can have far-reaching effects that go out in ever-widening circles. Third, make sure you exercise-not just your body, but also your mind. Whether you walk in the woods or do chair exercises, it's important to keep moving. And as important as it is to exercise the body, it's equally important to keep your mind supple and alive through creative outlets such as art, writing, gardening or crafts that could even leave a legacy for future generations. And finally, when you think about getting older, you may want to reflect on the fact that it is a privilege that many are denied.
If the time has come to consider a change in your living arrangements or the living arrangements for someone you love, you may want to consider a visit to Summit of Uptown, a senior living community in Park Ridge. A premier retirement destination-already well-known throughout the area for offering the best of Independent Living and personalized Assisted Living-Summit has launched the new Memory Care Neighborhood specializing in caring for those with Alzheimer's and other memory impairments.  After 33 years of providing services to our senior population, Summit looks forward to this new chapter in its history where it will now provide a continuum of care that will meet the needs of our seniors at all levels of care.
To visit the Summit of Uptown website click here or call 847-825-1161 to find out more about programs, activities, services, and amenities at Summit of Uptown, which has been providing quality services for seniors for more than three decades.

Open House with center of concern logo

Center of Concern Open House: Thursday, October 12th from noon-2:00 p.m.

You're invited to visit and tour our new office, meet Center of Concern staff, and learn more about our services.  
Thursday, October 12th 
12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.  (stop by anytime)

Lunch with Us logo

Lunch with US to meet at First United Methodist Church in Des Plaines 10/11 -10/16

Please note: Lunch with Us will take place at the First United Methodist Church of Des Plaines -668 Graceland Ave, Des Plaines, IL 60016, starting tomorrow October 11th until October 16th. We will back at the Des Plaines Public Library on October 17th.

Oktoberfest Logo Center of Concern 2017

“Ein Prosit!” Get ready for the Annual Oktoberfest!

“Ein Prosit!” Get ready for the Annual Oktoberfest! -  Partner of the Decade Award to Highlight Event.

Oktoberfest Logo Center of Concern 2017

The Center of Concern's annual fall celebration, Oktoberfest, is scheduled for Saturday, September 30, 2017 and will be held fr0m 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Park Ridge Country Club.

Oktoberfest will be a fun night of community support, friends, Authentic German buffet dinner, German Beer Garden, Photo Booth, Silent and Live Auctions, Cash Bar, German Raffle, 50/50 raffle, games (Hofbrauhaus Strong Arm Competition, Balloon Pop, 10X Envelope), awards presented for outstanding leadership and live music featuring the Frank "K" Trio! They play all the traditional German songs with vocals to include songs in German and some special serenades for Oktoberfest attendees.

The 2017 Center of Concern Community Awards will be presented for outstanding contributions to the Center of Concern and the Community. To begin commemoration of our 40th Anniversary in 2018, we will also present the first of two Partners of the Decade awards. Our 2017 Awardees are:

Ms. Sharon Bollinger, Park Ridge – Volunteer of the Year
Nancy Geraci, Park Ridge – Volunteer of the Year
Adrienne Timm, St. Paul of the Cross, Park Ridge – Dee Heinrich Award
Senator Laura Murphy, Des Plaines – Excellence in Leadership Award
Des Plaines Public Library, Des Plaines – Partner of the Year
20th Century Club of Park Ridge - Partner of the Year
Abra Prentice Foundation, Chicago – Partner of the Year
Auxiliary of the Center of Concern – Partner of the Decade

Join us at 6:00 for the German Beer Garden Reception!

“There are lots of reasons to love Oktoberfest…the steins of beer, the lederhosen, the music, and the food," said Mary Massari of Des Plaines, the Volunteer Chair of the event. “It’s a great night to meet up with friends and neighbors, enjoy a fun evening out, and raise money for an organization that helps so many seniors in our communities.”
General admission tickets are $60 in advance, $115 for a couple, table of 8 is $440, and table of 10 is $500. Tickets are $75 at the door. For information or to purchase tickets click here or contact the Center of Concern at 847-823-0453 or email

Coffee, Classics and Conn logo 2017

Coffee, Classics, and Connections will be held Saturday, September 23rd


Pictures from a recent car show

The Annual classic car show - Coffee, Classics, and Connections will be held Saturday, September 23rd.  The Center of Concern has teamed up with Glenview Bank & Trust, Mariano’s, Kiwanis Club of Glenview-Northbrook and others to sponsor Coffee, Classics & Connections, a networking and family event featuring classic cars!

Coffee, Classics, and Connections will be held in the Glenview Bank & Trust parking lot (99 Waukegan Road) in Glenview from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.

“Folks from all walks of life enjoy seeing the old cars and talking with car owners about the history and legacy behind the cars," said John McNabola, Executive Director of the Center of Concern. “It’s a unique and fun time that brings all ages and families together”.

Michael K. Moylan, Vice President at Glenview Bank and Trust said, ‘We are excited to host Coffee, Classics, and Connections again this year!  In addition to the classic cars you come out for a free cup of coffee, get your flu shot, purchase Kiwanis Pretzels or learn about the many services provided to Older Adults in the community”.

Coffee, Classics, and Connections is open to all ages and is free.  For more information click here.

Center of Concern Community Service Day September 2017 logo

Community Service Day - Volunteer on Sept. 16th!

Center of Concern Community Service Day September 2017 logo

Volunteers needed for Community Service Day - Volunteer to help a home bound older Adult on September 16th

The Center of Concern announced the annual fall Community Service Day to help home bound older Adults to be held Saturday, September 16th, 2017 with window washing, yard maintenance, and other tasks to help them maintain their independence.

Individuals, couples, and families, groups of friends, student clubs, service organizations, businesses, companies, and organizations - all are welcome to volunteer. Coffee, Juice, and a Volunteer T-Shirt will be provided with this opportunity to give back to your community!

John McNabola, Executive Director of the Center of Concern said, “Our annual Fall Service Day activity is a great opportunity for everyone in the community to come together and interact with older adults to enable them to feel stronger and more secure in their homes.”

Day:  Saturday, September 16th, 2017

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

For more information or to volunteer online click here, call Carol at 847-823-0453, or email

Center of Concern voucher for Longhorn Steakhouse Aug 1 2017

"Raising the Steaks" for the Center of Concern - August 1

At LongHorn Steakhouse®, we’re proud that fundraising is such a huge part of our community involvement.   Join us 08/01/17, as we partner with The Center of Concern through the Dining for Dollars program. Bring your voucher in between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m and LongHorn Steakhouse® will donate 10% of your check to The Center of Concern.

LongHorn Steakhouse,  470 East Touhy Avenue, Des Plaines, IL 60018

Click here to print your voucher.

dining for dollars center of concern 2

Center of Concern's Spring/Summer Appeal begins

The Center of Concern Spring/Summer Fundraising appeal begins, can you join us?

Click here to support the Center of Concern or click here to read more about the Spring/Summer Appeal.


Center of Concern launches Free Older Adults Lunch Program

Center of Concern launches Free Older Adults Lunch Program

“Lunch with Us” and Activities to be held at the Des Plaines Public Library

 A senior lunch service “Lunch with Us” to promote the health and well-being of older adults with a nutritious meal and informative, educational, and entertaining programs will begin Tuesday, June 13th at the Des Plaines Public Library. The meal is available to persons 60 years of age and older and their spouses regardless of age. The lunch is free but a suggestion donation for the lunch is $2.00.
The lunch will be available every weekday (Monday thru Friday) 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and optional program activities until 1:00 p.m. at the Des Plaines Public Library, 1501 Ellinwood Ave, Des Plaines, IL 60016. Doors open at 11:00 a.m.
According to the Center of Concern's Executive Director John McNabola, "the “Lunch with Us” program will offer older adults the opportunity to socialize and participate in a wide variety of stimulating topics while benefiting from a nutritious meal."
Des Plaines Library Director Holly Sorenson said, “Des Plaines Public Library already serves as the crossroads of the Des Plaines community and is a major destination for social services info and resources. Residents are familiar and comfortable with the library, our friendly staff, and accessible environment. We are pleased to extend those services even further by partnering with the Center of Concern to help bridge the nutrition gap in older adults and support the efforts of other organizations trying to reduce food insecurity in the community”.
To register for the congregate senior nutrition lunch program, contact Barb at  847-823-0453, or email  Walk-ins are also welcome every day.
The program is funded by AgeOptions and in partnership with the Des Plaines Public Library.


webpage banner Golf 2017

Luau and Mini Golf, Tuesday, June 6th

webpage banner Golf 2017
Pull out the Hawaiian shirt, or a grass skirt if you dare and join us for the Annual Mini-Golf LuauTournament and Picnic.
Join us for a Luau themed party with music, food, and fun!  The evening includes Miniature Golf, Picnic Dinner with a Chocolate Volcano for Desert, 
Beverages, Balloon Artist, Raffle Prizes, Top Golfer Jacket, Best Hawaiian attire prize, Deep Ocean Treasure Split the Pot - (50/50), Aloha Raffle, Hawaiian Rubber Duck Game, Aloha
Shower Cap/Cheetos game and more.....
Palm trees, tiki torches, and golf balls await...we're having a luau, please don't be late!  All the fun will be happening at: 
Mountain View Adventure Center 
510 E. Algonquin Road
Des Plaines, IL
June 6th, 2017
(Rain date June 7th)
5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
To purchase online tickets click here!

Or download the registration
form here.

aging workshop senior transitions

Successful Aging Workshop - May 18

Senior Workshop Thursday


We're Moving



Help Wanted: CHORE Program Aides

Senior Citizens and the disabled living in Maine, Niles, New Trier, Evanston, or Northfield Townships are eligible for free services to help them maintain their independence. Currently, we have openings for responsible persons seeking additional income while assisting older seniors who find it more difficult to manage day-to-day living in their own residence.

Chore Aides are paid hourly to provide any of the following: light housekeeping duties, grocery shopping
assistance with light meal preparation, laundry and yard work. It's also a way to be a
friend and companion to help overcome isolation and an advocate to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
The CHORE program is offered through the Center of Concern to further its mission to "provide
housing assistance, support services and counseling for seniors, disabled and others in need,
enabling them to live with dignity and independence."

CHORE workers improve the daily lives of seniors who have made great contributions in
their lifetime and now require added assistance to safely remain in their homes. Hourly rate as of
5/1/2017 is $12.00.

To apply or inquire call our CHORE coordinator, Belinda at (847) 823-0453, email
or click here to apply online.

Thank you

Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast

As a valued Center of Concern volunteer, please join us for our Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast.  As we acknowledge National Volunteer week, we would be honored to thank you personally for all your time and good work!
Time and Place:
Thursday, April 27, 2017
8:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Paula Hassell O'Connor Community Building
733 N. Prospect, Park Ridge
Your help in serving our local community deserves special recognition and our staff looks forward to honoring your contributions of time, talent, and energy.
Please email your RSVP to Carol or call her directly at 847-224-8009.
Thank you again for all you do!  See you on April 27th!
John McNabola                                         Carol Gonzalez
Executive Director                                     Volunteer Coordinator

Center of Concern Community Service Day April 2017 logo

Community Service Day - April 29th

Center of Concern Community Service Day April 2017 logo

The Center of Concern announced plans to celebrate National Volunteer Week, a time dedicated to demonstrating to the nation that by working together we can meet challenges and accomplish goals.  The Center of Concern is planning to help homebound seniors on Saturday, April 29th with a Community Service Day by window washing, yard maintenance, and other tasks to help them maintain their independence.

Individuals, couples, families, groups of friends, student clubs, service organizations, businesses, companies, and organizations - all are welcome to volunteer. A continental breakfast, lunch, and volunteer t-shirt will be provided as well as the opportunity to give back to your community!

John McNabola, Executive Director of the Center of Concern said, “Our annual Service Day activity is a great opportunity to everyone in the community to come together and make the lives of our oldest generation stronger and more secure.”

 Day:  Saturday, April 29th, 2017

Time: 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, 2017, is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and demonstrating their collective power to make a difference.  National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week.

Click here to RSVP


Senior Companion Program Informational Sessions to be held in Park Ridge, Des Plaines, and Skokie

Senior Companion Program Informational Sessions to be held in Park Ridge Des Plaines, and Skokie

Adults 55 and older residing in suburban Cook County can improve the lives of isolated seniors in their nearby communities and earn an income stipend. Senior Companion volunteers provide support and companionship to senior clients that may require additional assistance to continue living independently in their own homes. Senior Companion volunteers are matched with clients within their own communities who offer their assistance, companionship, and friendship.

If you are 55 years of age or older, enjoy working with seniors, and can commit to serving at least 15 hours per week in your community, please join us in learning more about this opportunity. Income-eligible volunteers receive an hourly, non-taxed stipend. All Senior Companion volunteers receive mileage reimbursement, pre-service and ongoing training sessions, and other benefits as funding allow.

The Center of Concern is hosting three informational sessions:

Tuesday, March 14, 2017, from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM at the Park Ridge Library

Tuesday, March 21, 2017, from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM at the Des Plaines Public library

Tuesday, March 28, 2017, from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM at the Skokie Public Library

To RSVP or learn more about the Center of Concern Senior Companion Program Informational Sessions please contact Mary O’Reilly at 847-242-8010 or

The program is funded by the Corporation for National and Community service. The Center of Concern is a non-profit social service agency providing services and housing solutions to seniors, the disabled and others in need, enabling them to live safely and independently.

Blarney Bash to kick off St. Patrick’s Celebrations- March 11

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On Saturday, March 11, 2017, the Center of Concern will host the annual Blarney Bash to kick off St. Patrick’s week festivities. The annual Bash will be held from 6:30 to 11:00 p.m., at Fountain Blue at 2300 Mannheim Road in Des Plaines. A light heart lives longest (so the Irish say), and so we're having a party to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and support the Center of Concern Concern.

This year's event features the finest in Irish traditional music from America's heartland - Chicago Reel and the famous Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band. Traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage, Dublin Freshly whipped Potatoes,  Dingle Green Garden Salad, Cork Assorted Rolls, and delicious Cheesecake will be served, as well as a cash bar featuring some great Irish Beers, wine, and cocktails (soda and water are free).  The popular "Shamrocks and Clovers" game, Pot O' Gold - Split the Pot, Green Raffle, Live Painting, Live and Silent Auctions that include some great vacation destinations and more.....

If you “Table Up” you can "Ride in Style".  With a table purchase, your name will be automatically entered into the Blarney Bash "Ride in Style" pick up and drop off drawing.  A limousine will drive you and your guests to and from your residence in Blarney Bash style.   All table purchase names (everyone in your party) will be added into the Blarney Bash "Ride in Style" draw and one name will be drawn on March 1st and you will be contacted so you can plan to attend Blarney Bash in style.

“We are looking forward to wearing our green on March 11th to celebrate the luck of the Irish – Center of Concern style”, said John McNabola, Executive Director of the Center of Concern.

For more information, purchase tickets click here.


Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption renewal applications deadline extended to March 1, 2017

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios announced today that his office has extended the deadline for the Senior Citizen Exemption and Senior Freeze Exemption renewal applications for Tax Year 2016. Savings from these exemptions will appear as deductions on the 2017 Second Installment Property Tax Bills mailed this summer.  The extended application deadline is March 1, 2017.

The office of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios has mailed Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption renewal applications for Tax Year 2016. Savings from these exemptions will appear as deductions on the 2017 Second Installment Property Tax Bills mailed this summer.

The Senior Exemption application is part of a booklet sent to eligible seniors. The booklet also contains the separate, income-based Senior Freeze Exemption application.

“Seniors must remember that, under Illinois law, they must reapply annually for both the Senior and Senior Freeze Exemptions in order to continue to receive the deductions on their Second Installment Property Tax Bills,” Berrios said.

To qualify for the Senior Citizen Exemption for Tax Year 2016, the property owner must have:

  • been born prior to or in the year 1951
  • owned the property during 2016 or have a lease or contract for 2016 which makes them responsible for the real estate taxes
  • used the property as a principal place of residence in 2016

To qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption for Tax Year 2016, taxpayers must have:

  • been born prior to or in the year 1951
  • a total household income of $55,000 or less for [income]Tax Year 2015
  • owned the property or had a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016
  • used the property as a principal place of residence as of January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016
  • been liable for the payment of 2015 and 2016 property taxes

“If you don't qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption because you exceed the income level, this does not mean you will not be eligible for the Senior Exemption,” Berrios explained. “The Senior Exemption has no income restrictions and I'm concerned that seniors might discard the entire booklet and not receive the Senior Exemption savings to which they are entitled.”

Seniors receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption automatically receive the Homeowner Exemption. Seniors receiving the Senior Freeze Exemption automatically receive both the Homeowner and Senior Citizen Exemptions.

Eligible seniors who have never applied for the Senior and/or Senior Freeze Exemptions in the past may visit the Assessor's web site at and download an application or contact the Assessor's Office at 312-443-7550 and request a form be mailed to them. Applications for the Homeowner Exemption are also available online. Applications for additional exemptions administered by the Assessor's Office will be available within the next few weeks.

"Our office continues to reach out to Cook County seniors, hosting local community seminars to make them aware of the available exemptions and also help with the application process," Berrios said. "We held a record number of outreaches in 2016 and will work this year to provide local services to an even greater number of seniors in order to ensure they are receiving as much exemption savings as possible."



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Imagine your parents or grandparents without family nearby to care for them. Imagine your parents or grandparents waking up every day, lonely and confused. Imagine having to give up your home of many years without the support and guidance needed to address challenges related to aging.
"Barbara used to go to bed every night knowing that tomorrow will be the same as the day before. Her struggles of isolation and depression only deepened with the coming of every new day. She sensed a deep feeling of hopelessness with the loss of friends and family". 
 "After his wife passed away and without children living nearby, Robert had difficulties keeping his home in order after exhausting his life savings with expensive nursing care bills.  As months passed, he dreaded waking up each day knowing he could not manage to live on his own at home".

For hundreds of seniors like Barbara and Robert, the Center of Concern’s staff and volunteers bring confidence, hope and companionship to residents by offering housing solutions, counseling, and supportive services to help residents overcome hardships and remain in their homes with dignity and independence.  The Center of Concern imagines a brighter, stronger future for home-bound and lonely seniors by building stronger communities. But we can only continue our valuable programs through the generosity of people like you, who have been an integral part of our mission for nearly 40 years. Can I count on you? As a citizen of our community, you can provide the leadership and commitment necessary to help our most at-risk seniors remain in their homes and find expert help to overcome challenges related to aging. Tonight, when you close your eyes, imagine the love and concern you can provide seniors by giving during this holiday season.
With warm wishes for a blessed holiday season, 
John McNabola
Executive Director
Click here to support the Center of Concern's 2016 Holiday Appeal.

Your Guide to All Things Electronics!

The Digital Connection – Your Guide to All Things Electronic!


Personal one-on-one interaction in variety of technology topics such as computer, mobile device, and internet help answer your questions. If you have questions about settings up, or how to use your Electronic device come to “Your Guide to All Things Electronic”. The digital Connection will spark excitement and enthusiasm over an activity so beneficial for keeping pace with technology and maintaining a stronger connection with family and friends.


The Digital Connection is a partnership with the Park Ridge Rotary Club, the “Connecting for Good” program which helps students build leadership and communication skills as they introduce computer and social media technology to adults served by the Center of Concern. Maine township students and Boy Scouts pursuing Eagle Scout merit awards are active participants in this exciting intergenerational program.


The Digital Connection – “Your Guide to All Things Electronic” will be held at the Park Ridge library on December 27th from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm and January 8th from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm. You can make reservations by calling Center: 847-823-0453, and walk-ins are also welcome.

The Center of Concern’s “Connecting for Good” program is funded in part by NobleCause and the Park Ridge Rotary Foundation.