Reflections from Summit

Young and old together—the right partners for life’s journey

Are you old enough to remember when multiple generations shared life together?   When grandma came to live with the younger generation, when she could no longer live on her own, no one had yet heard of senior centers or assisted living. Grandma likely spent her days minding the kids who weren’t in school yet because daycare centers were also still years in the future. Maybe she peeled potatoes or dried the dishes after dinner because eating out was something reserved for special occasions. Maybe she darned socks or helped with the ironing.  You get the idea.  For better or worse, life has certainly changed since the days when intergenerational living was the norm.

According to the, the definition of intergenerational living is a situation where multiple generations of people intermingle or come together. An example of intergenerational living is a household where a great-grandmother, grandmother, parents, and child all live together.

But although the way we live may have changed, according to Dr. Margaret Paul, a psychologist, and best-selling author, research indicates that loving, healthy relationships are vital to health and longevity. Yet many people in our society live alone with little love, caring, and support. Loneliness is a major cause of illness.

From John Donne, the English poet who wrote No Man is An Island in 1624, to American singer-songwriter Bill Withers who penned Lean on Me after moving to Los Angeles where he found himself missing the strong community of his hometown in Slab Fork, West Virginia, people seem to instinctively know that we are not meant to live alone. It is only in caring communities where there are others to turn to for help when it is needed, that people can thrive no matter where they are on their life journey.

The U.S. Administration on Aging says that by 2030, one in every five people will be 65 or older. While some people focus on the costs to society related to health care and retirement costs, others look at the positive side of this equation noting the positive interactions that are possible between the young and old. Nothing is better for the people who call Summit home than intergenerational interaction.

There’s a verse in Ecclesiastes that says, “Two are better than one because they can help each other succeed.” Nowhere does that precept find a better application than when generations bond as they work and play together. The young learn to step outside of themselves and serve others and those who are older are energized by the enthusiasm of youth.

A premier retirement destination, Summit of Uptown, a senior living community in Park Ridge—which is already well-known throughout the area for offering the best of Independent Living and personalized Assisted Living—Summit’s Memory Care Neighborhood also provides care for those with Alzheimer’s and other memory impairments. With this widened scope, Summit has a continuum of care available to meet the needs of our seniors at all levels of care.

As you continue on your life journey wherever it may take you, Summit invites you to visit in person, click on 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.