Reflections from Summit

Navigating the holidays in a changing world

Do you remember the Norman Rockwell painting The Picture of Thanksgiving? Its official name is actually Freedom from Want and it is also known as I’ll Be Home for Christmas. Inspired by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech which he delivered Jan. 6, 1941, this iconic painting has come to represent the holidays and family togetherness for many people.

All of the people in the picture were friends and family of Rockwell. But they weren’t all photographed at the Thanksgiving table. They were photographed individually and painted into the scene that he first created in a charcoal sketch. Rockwell, himself, said of his painting which has been widely adapted, parodied and even criticized as an idealized version of America’s rural and agricultural life, “I paint life as I would like it to be.”

That’s actually good advice as the holidays approach.  The world we live in today is not the one where we grew up.  Families don’t eat together, technology interferes with social interaction even among close families which are becoming increasingly non-traditional. Schedules are way too busy to experience the kind of family times that we remember—or at least think we remember.

Whether we are looking forward to the holidays as a joyous time when we will gather to celebrate together with our loved ones just like the group in the Rockwell painting or we’re dreading them as a time when we will navigate uncomfortable family gatherings or parties that turn tense or perhaps even facing the holidays alone, if we are honest with ourselves we have to admit that no matter what our circumstances might be, as a general rule life will become what we make it.

If you start the holiday season expecting it to be as picture-perfect as a Hallmark Christmas card, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Because everyone is dealing with their own expectations of what the holidays will be like, they are an emotional time when everyone’s feelings run high. So an important part of navigating the holidays is managing your expectations.

You might also think about planning specific strategies to deal with situations that you know will likely happen. A little pre-planning can help to make everyone’s holiday happier—including yours. If you are facing the holidays alone, now is the time to consider asking a friend to share the day or volunteering somewhere to make the holiday better for someone less fortunate than you.  That’s actually a powerful way to help anyone put things into perspective.

Finally, in addition to those heartwarming images that we all have of the holidays, they are also a time of incredible stress.  Not only is there the stress of making everything just right, but schedules can also quickly become unmanageable. If you are tired, it’s easy to get irritated more quickly so make sure you take care of yourself by exercising, getting a good night’s sleep and eating right. One last word of advice though—the holidays are probably not the best time to start a diet!

If you are looking for a place to start to paint a new picture of your life, you may want to consider Summit of Uptown as a place where you can begin to sketch out your new future. The completion of our $8 million 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—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 with 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 interest.

To find out more about the programs, activities, services and amenities at Summit of Uptown where we have been providing quality services for services for seniors for more than 30 years, visit or call 847-825-1161.