The story of the company now known as Windward Life Care really began over 37 years ago in 1982 when geriatric expert B.J. Curry Spitler started one of the first care management companies, Age Concerns, here in San Diego. Age Concerns had an “integrated model” of care in which geriatric care managers directly supervised in-home caregivers to create great client outcomes. Amy Abrams and I worked together at Age Concerns, along with Susan (Soest) Valoff, and were trained in the model of care that Dr. Spitler developed.
Later, when Age Concerns was sold in 2003, Amy and I felt we could continue the lessons learned from Dr. Spitler and extend the care management/home care integrated model in San Diego. We formed our company in 2004 which was first known as Elder Care Guides. Susan joined our team in 2009, later becoming a partner in the business. In 2016 we changed the name to Windward Life Care. We started our business with a handful of employees in 2004 and now employ over 150 office and caregiving staff. We are proud to have on our team so many people who are passionate about caring for older and disabled people.
Much has changed since 2004 and much remains the same. The home care and health care landscapes has gone through many changes, including the advent of Home Care Organization licensure in California in 2016. New technologies are a big factor in how we navigate out in the world and communicate with families. Geriatric care managers are now known as Aging Life Care Professionals. But, for the most part, the challenges of aging remain the same: families are still spread out over long distances; dementia still poses tremendous challenges to those who live with the symptoms as well as those caring for them; and clients and families continue to need help navigating the complex health care and long-term care systems.
Fostering the growth of Windward Life Care has meant we have been able to extend our reach to many more clients and families in San Diego County, allowing many people to reach their goal of aging in place in their own homes. We remain dedicated to helping our clients age well, honoring their individual goals, and supporting loved ones and involved professionals in making decisions that enhance the client’s quality of life. We appreciate the chance to work with you. — Norman Hannay, MPS, CMC, President
The early years of bringing the vision of Elder Care Guides to life were so exciting. Norman and I knew we could deliver care management services in a distinctly professional and personalized way, if we could get our message in front of the right people. And I’ll never forget the first time the phone rang with our first opportunity to be of service. The client was a frail older gentleman living alone with dementia, whose only family lived thousands of miles away and was growing concerned about his safety, repeated episodes of wandering, and encounters with law enforcement. I felt a deep honor that his health system case manager had entrusted us with her referral, and that his family entrusted us with his care. We built a support system that centered around his personal habits and preferences, matched him with just the right companion, and slowly gained his trust, while ensuring that an appropriate safety net was in place. Elder Care Guides was built on the social work principles of starting where your client is and focusing on their strengths rather than their deficits, and it all came together for that client, who continued to live life on his own terms throughout the progression of his disease. Our reputation as a company that could – and would – handle the most challenging and delicate of situations grew from there, and I’m happy to see that it continues today. ~ Amy Abrams, MSW, MPH
A brief history of Windward Life Care:
May 12, 2004 – opened for business in La Jolla and hired the first employee, Amy Abrams, MSW/MPH
January 2008 – office moved to Liberty Station in Pt. Loma
March 2009 – Susan (Soest) Valoff joined the team as Director of Clinical Services
March 2013 – Office moved to 1st Avenue in Banker’s Hill
March 2014 – Acquired Senior Care Management
April 2016 – Changed company name to Windward Life Care
June 2016 – Obtained California Home Care Organization license
August 2017 – Acquired Lifeline Care at Home
August 2018 – Opened North County recruiting office