Reflections from Summit

Follow your nose down memory lane

There are lots of ways to remember. Flipping through a photo album is one way. Socializing with old friends is another. But one of the best ways to remember is as plain as the nose on your face. Because an odor travels through just two synapses on its way to the seat of memory in the brain’s limbic system, your sense of smell provides one of the most powerful keys to unlocking your own personal archives. Helen Keller, who perhaps appreciated her sense of smell more than the rest of us do, once said, “Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across a thousand miles and all the years we have lived.”

Scientists have found roughly a thousand genes responsible for the human ability to detect about 10,000 odors. Without this formidable ally, a turkey dinner or apple pie would lose their appeal and you wouldn’t know the milk was sour until the foul taste hit your tongue. If you had no sense of smell, the house might burn down or blow up from a gas leak before you even knew you were in danger.

You can take your own sensory pilgrimage by recalling some common scents that can transport you back to earlier times and places in your life.  Just think of mowing the grass, weeding a vegetable garden, honeysuckle, or lilacs, or roses.  Relive a trip to a big city or the seashore or riding in a car with the windows open through farm country. That last one actually might not be so pleasant if you traveled on country roads, but it will be pungent.

Remember burning leaves in the autumn, the way the air smells just after a summer thunderstorm, the first whiff of topsoil as it begins to warm in spring or the piney fragrance of a forest in the winter. Recollect popping popcorn, grilling hamburgers, and simmering soup or spaghetti sauce, or chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter.

Recall crispy ironed tablecloths, the school cafeteria or a chlorinated swimming pool.  As you sniff your way back to long ago days, just follow your nose where it takes you.

While you’re remembering the past, you may want to think about your future or the future of someone you love and consider Summit of Uptown as a place to continue to create memories and add to that personal archive. The completion of our $8,000,000 renovation project promises to provide a host of new amenities that will help folks who call the Summit home to live life to the fullest. They include a movie room, fitness center, salon, an independent living wellness center and an assisted living and memory care wellness center, meeting rooms, newly remodeled and furnished main dining room, a 24/7 self-serve bistro, an art room, a game room, a library, and two outdoor gardens—one for independent living and assisted living and a secure garden for memory care. Massage services and physical therapy will also be available. Ideally located in Park Ridge close to shops, banks, churches and medical facilities, we remain committed to the kind of signature services that people have come to expect. They can continue to count on the care, friendship and concern which is the bedrock of who we are.

Well-known throughout the area for offering the best of Independent Living and personalized Assisted Living, Summit seeks to build on that reputation its Memory Care Neighborhood that specializes in caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other memory impairments. We look forward to this new chapter in its history where we now provide a continuum of care that will meet the needs of our seniors at all levels of care no matter what their interests.

Visit our website at 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 30 years.