What Seniors Have Taught Us About Aging Well

Professional caregivers don’t just serve clients—they also learn a great deal from them and their families. As we observe our 18th anniversary in May, we’ve been recalling the wisdom we’ve picked up from those we’ve served.

Norman Hannay and Amy Abrams started Elder Care Guides in May 2004. We had just a handful of employees, including Venoria Sykes (pictured below), who is still with us and still serving the same client family that she started with. In 2016 we changed the company name to Windward Life Care, to align with the new name of our professional organization, the Aging Life Care Association® (previously the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers).

So, what have we learned about aging well in these 18 years? These are just the beginning:

“Aging well, in my view, means being able to do the things you enjoy each day and feeling happy. The clients who view life positively do much better as they age. They are more on the side of: ‘Life is a box of chocolates.’
—Heather Arsenault, CMC, Aging Life Care Manager

“Our clients who age well continue to engage in activities that are meaningful to them. Whether it be a weekly walk with a friend, a virtual book club, maintaining a collection or baking family recipes, it’s so important to stay engaged with the hobbies and activities that bring you joy!”
—Chelsea Kennedy, Area Manager – North County and Administrator of Windward Home Health

“Our home care aides help our clients age well by encouraging safe independence and integrating healthy routines.”
—Danielle Neal, Recruiting and Retention Manager

“Clients who think about the end of life, plan for it, and talk to their families about their wishes have a more positive experience as they age. Aging well doesn’t mean denying death. It means facing the reality that our journey will come to an end at some point, and putting our thoughts and preferences about the dying process into writing in a healthcare advance directive. This gives us peace of mind, and helps our family member or decision-maker feel confident that they have handled things the way we wanted them to.”
—Susan Valoff, LCSW, C-ASWCM, CDP, Vice President

Picture of Venoria, who is celebrating her 18-year anniversary with Windward.

“Our home care aides help our clients age well by encouraging them to engage in memorable activities each day, walking by the beach, working in the garden, going to lunch, visiting with their families.”
—Heather Arsenault, CMC, Aging Life Care Manager

“Our clients who age well are surrounded by strong social supports. Social supports can range from friends, family, and also can include caregivers and care managers. What is important is that the individual doesn’t feel lonely, as loneliness can have a negative impact on the aging process.”
—Sarah Nudel, LCSW, Director of Clinical Services

“Aging well not only benefits our clients, but also family and friends that look forward to more meaningful memories to be made with the client. I’ve also learned that aging well means honoring a dying client’s wishes and dying with dignity.”
—Kimberly Torrence, Director of Operations

“Aging well, in my view, means clients are able to safely participate in the activities that bring them joy while promoting the highest levels of health and well-being. Some examples of aging well with our clients include playing rock ‘n roll music to encourage showering, getting a client who loves animals tickets to the zoo, and looking through old photos with a client and listening to their proudest achievements and memories.”
—Shelby Sweeney, RN, BSN, CDP, Aging Life Care Manager and RN Case Manager

“Our clients who age well are physically active, playing pickleball, doing yoga, and going on daily walks. I have a 93-year-man who walks daily around the YMCA track at Encinitas. The home care aide drives him there and then he walks with his buddies. He loves this time to socialize with his friends.
—Heather Arsenault, CMC, Aging Life Care Manager

“Aging well provides peace of mind. It reminds a person and family that they are doing everything that is within their control, and can worry less about the rest. Aging well isn’t a guarantee that there won’t be unhappy events, just that the events are probably outside of your control and that you are in the best shape possible to deal with them.
—Norman Hannay, MPS, CMC, President

From all of our team, thank you for letting us serve our community for 18 years!