Yoga is a gentle way to care for both body and mind. In fact, the word “yoga” comes from Sanskrit “yuji” which means to unify the mind and body. People often think of yoga in terms of wellness and meditation. What people don’t always realize is how effective yoga can be as a whole-body workout that can be done by anyone.

Safety First

The practice of yoga is an excellent way for older adults to gain or maintain their fitness without putting undue stress and strain on the body. It is a low impact activity that involves flexibility, stretching, balance, strength-building, mindfulness, and more. However, yoga is not absolute in any movements. Rather, individuals are encouraged to respect their body and customize their yoga practice to the level that is right for them. It can be as rigorous or mild as you want it to be.

How to Get Involved

Older participants that are interested in trying yoga may look for a class geared for beginners. In particular, they may want to attend a Seniors Yoga or a Gentle Yoga class. The instructors who teach these classes are certified in yoga therapy. Their training requires at least 200 hours of practice and coursework. Good instructors will provide individualized advice, teaching correct form for the various poses. The best instructors will be attentive and interested in helping their class participants to improve.

Benefits of Yoga

Any exercise is better than none, provided it does not cause injury. Therein lies one of the great benefits of yoga. It provides a gentle way to move your body, but without the physical strain and stress that some exercise programs do. Done regularly, yoga as exercise lowers the risk of chronic disease and premature death by 30-40%. It increases flexibility, promotes healthy bones, sharpens the mind through meditation, and can even help to ease symptoms of menopause.

At Windward Life Care, our priority is to help individuals find local resources to improve the quality of their lives. Call our team of supportive professionals today for a conversation about your needs.

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10, an opportunity to highlight the ways in which older adults are at risk for self-harm.  Suicide is a more common problem among older adults than you might realize. Figures recently released from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control show that the highest rate of suicides in America is among people age 45 to 64. Knowing this, how can we identify and provide the support to aging adults who may be at risk?

Suicide Risk Factors for Older Adults

First, we need to understand what motivates suicide among older adults. If family members, friends and care providers are more aware of the risk factors, they can more effectively intervene to save lives. The precursors of suicide tend to aggregate around one or more risk factors, including:

  • Physical pain or illness
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Depression or poor mental health
  • Substance abuse
  • Financial or legal Issues
  • Social dependency
  • Isolation
  • Family conflict
  • Relationship problems
  • Prior attempts at suicide

If a person is suffering from one or more of these conditions, they are more likely to consider ending their life. Older adults are more likely to die from a suicide attempt than people in other age groups. This is due to their overall frailty, as well as being socially isolated and less likely to be rescued. Older adults may have more access to lethal methods than others. Men are more likely to die from suicide than women.

Protecting Against Suicide Risk

If you are a caregiver for an aging parent, or a friend of an adult who is experiencing any of the above risk factors, you can help that person build up their strengths or “protective factors.” While some protective factors like resiliency are thought of as more innate, there are others that you can take action to address such as cultivating a sense of purpose, and connecting with others. Older adults who are engaged in social, educational, religious and volunteer activities may feel more connected to others and that their lives are more meaningful.

Depression is one of the most important issues to confront. If you see signs of depression in your loved one, seek the support of a qualified care professional to mitigate this risk factor. Other physical or mental health concerns such as chronic pain and anxiety should also be evaluated and treated.

It is a common misconception that talking to someone about their suicide risk may lead them to consider the idea. In fact, talking to someone you care about and asking them about their mood is one of the best things you can do to support someone. You may experience hesitation when encouraging an older adult to seek outside help. Try to be understanding and look for supportive resources and activities that are of interest to the individual. At Windward Life Care, our experienced team is here to assist you in finding these local resources to support your health and well-being. For more information about available services, call us today.

It is common to feel overwhelmed after you or a family member are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Not only do you need to work through the emotions that come with this news, but it is also important to put together a care plan. Due to the progressive nature of Alzheimer’s and many other dementias, you will need to factor in the cost of care and determine who will provide care over the long-term.

Even though it is a difficult time, you can empower your family starting the planning process. Given that there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, many people choose to live life to the fullest after receiving a diagnosis such as taking long-desired vacations and checking off other “bucket list” items, while also planning for future care needs.

Checklist for Future Planning

At first, things might not seem much different compared to the life that was lived before the dementia diagnosis. But the person will require more care as the disease progresses. Here are a few things that should be considered:

  • Housing and Services: Discuss options for care at home or in a facility. If in-home care is chosen, consider using services available through reputable home care providers or adult day care programs. There are many Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) that offer “memory care” which is specific to the needs of people with dementia. The costs of these options must be weighed carefully.
  • Paperwork and Legal Details: It can be helpful to hire an estate planning attorney to arrange for a comprehensive estate plan. If they retain decisional capacity, the person who is diagnosed with dementia can appoint a power of attorney for property and for healthcare. Ensuring that legal documents are up-to-date means that the family isn’t left without legal authority to handle the affairs of the person with dementia while they are living but lack capacity. It also helps to ensure a smooth handling of that person’s estate once they die.
  • Income and Benefits: A dementia diagnosis can be a financial stressor on the family. Look at potential sources of income, budget goals for care services, and possible access to long-term care insurance benefits. Some people work with a financial planner to project future costs of care and budget accordingly.
  • End-of-Life Care: As hard as it is to have this conversation, you should discuss end-of-life care wishes. The Conversation Project offers useful advice about how to address this topic. Determining final arrangements can provide the person with dementia and the family with peace of mind. Many funeral homes provide pre-planning services that can be catered based on the desires of the person and the customs of the family.

Support for Accessing the Best Care and Services

This kind of planning can be hard to begin when the family is emotionally distraught upon receiving a diagnosis. If needed, allow a little bit of time before attending to these tasks.

Also, don’t overlook the benefits that come from working with Aging Life Care Managers and other professionals who can guide these important decisions. If you need support with future planning for dementia or other progressive conditions, Windward Life Care is here to help. We assist families in finding the right resources in the area.

The population in San Diego County is aging, with many people exploring their options for housing and lifestyle in retirement. One option that is attractive to many older adults is the possibility of moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)?

CCRCs are sometimes called “life plan communities,” offering the support and resources older adults need as they move through the stages of aging. This support encompasses daily living assistance, such as dining options, housekeeping, transportation, recreational events,  and more. Additionally, wellness, fitness, and healthcare providers are provided as needed.  A robust activities calendar and resort-like amenities are other features of CCRCs that are attractive to many.

A full range of care options is available at most CCRCs, including everything from independent living to assisted living to memory care to skilled nursing care. The goal is to create a “one-stop” solution so that residents can age in place, even as their needs change.

Moving into a CCRC involves a significant investment of resources, so it is important for potential residents to make an informed decision. According to the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), “The decision to move into a Continuing Care Retirement Community or not represents one of the most important decisions a person can make in their lifetime. The relationship between a CCRC and a resident is expensive, lengthy, highly personal, and complex.”

Types of CCRC Contracts

When choosing a CCRC, a contract will be established with a promise of care for at least a year or more. The cost and services provided vary depending on the CCRC that is selected and the specific services offered through the contract. Basic contract types include:

  • Life Care: Structured with an annual monthly rate and includes a guaranteed promise of care for life. Services typically include both primary and acute care, as well as nursing home and assisted living care on-site when needed.
  • Modified: The contract is designed with entrance fees and monthly fees, as well as a promise of reduced rates for higher care for a specific period. This option tends to be less expensive compared to a Life Care contract, but the resident bears more of the risk of future care costs. The provider also shares the risk of future costs.
  • Fee-for-Service: Like the modified contract, this option includes entrance fees and monthly fees. Guaranteed access is promised for higher levels of care, but the services are offered at the current market rate, and the resident bears the full risk of these costs.
  • Rental: The rental contract is designed with a monthly fee determined by the level of care that is received.

Is a CCRC Right for You?

Are you shopping for a CCRC? It is essential to understand the pricing structure as well as the level of services that will be provided. Education about your options is the best solution to find the community that is a good fit for your needs. Many consumers also choose to work with an attorney to review CCRC contracts. Our team at Windward Life Care is here to help you find the right solutions for care and housing. Contact us to learn about the available services.

San Diego, CA – May 15, 2019 – This month Windward Life Care® reached a milestone, celebrating 15 years of business. Since 2004, Windward Life Care has grown to be one of San Diego County’s premier aging services firms, evolving alongside the rapidly transforming elder care landscape. Starting out with a handful of employees, Windward now employs over 150 office and caregiving staff, following its 2017 acquisition of Lifeline Care, and has served over 2,000 older and disabled adults.

The story of the company began 37 years ago in 1982 when Windward Life Care founder, Norman Hannay, MPS, CMC, first learned about the “integrated model of care” while working with geriatric care management expert B.J. Curry Spitler. In the integrated model, geriatric care managers directly supervise in-home caregivers to create optimal client outcomes. Hannay sought to expand the integrated model of care throughout the county and formed his own company in May 2004, first known as Elder Care Guides. To reflect changes within the geriatric care management profession, the name was changed to Windward Life Care in 2016. Today, Hannay continues to serve as president of the company, which employs a team of social workers, registered nurses, certified care managers, and professional caregivers who work together to care for older and disabled adults throughout the county.

“Norman and I are proud to work with so many people who are as passionate as we are about caring for older and disabled people. I enjoy my daily interactions with our dedicated team of Aging Life Care Managers® and home care aides, who continually strive to be the most compassionate and effective advocates they can be for our clients,” stated Susan Valoff, LCSW, C-ASWCM, current vice president and part owner, with over 20 years of geriatric care expertise. “It brings me great pride to celebrate 15 years in business with our devoted employees, valued clients, and trusted business partners.”

The home care and health care landscapes have transformed since 2004, particularly with the advent of California’s Home Care Organization licensure in 2016. New technologies have become a big factor in how in-home care providers coordinate their efforts 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.

More and more U.S. families are learning the benefits of working with an Aging Life Care Professional who can help long-distance family caregivers have peace of mind and assist older or disabled adults with practical support in the location where they want to live. As members of the Aging Life Care Association, Windward Life Care’s care managers specialize in dementia care, complex family situations, mental health issues, and helping clients age well with a sense of purpose and quality of life.

“Fostering the growth of Windward Life Care has enabled us to serve many more clients and families throughout the county, allowing many people to reach their goal of aging in place in their own homes,” said Hannay. “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.”

Windward Life Care continues to evolve as a local leader in elder care. The company plans to open a licensed home health agency to serve more medically complex clients and is embracing new technologies that elevate the quality of personalized care services.

Contact Info:

Julie Moore, Director of Business Development

[email protected]


2045 1st Avenue, San Diego CA 92101


About Windward Life Care

Windward Life Care is San Diego County’s premier aging services firm providing Aging Life Care™ Management and expert in-home care. Windward’s clinical staff are members of the Aging Life Care Association® and are experts in the eight Aging Life Care knowledge areas: health & disability; financial; housing; family; local resources; advocacy; legal; and crisis intervention. Windward’s discerning recruitment and rigorous training sets it apart from other home care providers. Each individual client has a personalized plan for aging well. The interdisciplinary professional team at Windward is comprised of leaders in the Aging Life Care Association, including registered nurses and master’s level social workers. Their areas of expertise include dementia care, complex family situations, mental health issues, and helping clients age well with a sense of purpose and quality of life. The company’s office is located at 2045 1st Avenue San Diego, CA 92101. Connect with the company on social:;; or on LinkedIn/Windward Life Care.

AGING LIFE CARE™ is a trademark of the Aging Life Care Association®. Only ALCA Members are authorized to use this term to identify their services. AGING LIFE CARE PROFESSIONAL® is a trademark of the Aging Life Care Association. It is an indication of membership in ALCA, and only ALCA Members are authorized to use this term.


Windward Life Care is proud of its dedicated staff, who give back to the San Diego County community in many impactful ways. Windward Life Care also sponsors the important work of various nonprofit organizations that support San Diego’s aging population and adults with disabilities.

In that spirit, Windward is pleased to announce that our vice president, Susan Valoff, LCSW, C-ASWCM, has been elected to serve on the Board of Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR). Windward Life Care and Susan have been fans of CARR for several years due to the amazing work they have done at the state level to make assisted living facilities safer and more accountable to consumers and their families. CARR actively collects and archives public records for research and analysis purposes and to inform their outreach and reform efforts. CARR also obtained the contract from the County of San Diego to develop the Choose Well website, a website with a rating system for Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE). This is an unbiased site that helps families to make educated decisions about care for their loved ones. Windward Life Care’s clinical team frequently calls the CARR staff for the “inside scoop” on facilities in which our clients have interest.

Congratulations to Susan! To view the full press release, click here.

You can also learn more about Windward’s community involvement by visiting our Windward in the Community page.