Envisioned by the Mr. Robert L. West Family as a retirement home for missionaries and pastors, Atascadero Christian Home incorporated in 1957 as a nonprofit organization. Recognizing a need to care for the elderly in general, the focus shifted to a dual-purpose program of congregate living and independent cottages. Today, Atascadero Christian Home remains open to any senior desiring to retire in our foundational Christian environment.
Wendell Inman, Mr. West’s son-in-law, began immediately by residing in our existing historical farmhouse, along with a few residents awaiting completion of the first rooms. In our beginning days, the administrator’s duties included bookkeeping, public relations, construction, cooking, bottle washing, and a multitude of chores.
In January, 1959, a group of ministers from Southern California heard about ACH and planned a visit. Wendell, along with a coworker, were in the process of framing the first building. An unusual storm hit suddenly with forceful winds that lifted the roof and knocked down the walls. Undeterred, Wendell began salvaging all materials possible, starting anew. The pastors believed such a spirit would drive success and were inspired to provide financial support.
ACH officially opened its doors late in 1959. Memorial Cottage, now Unit C1 hosted our first residents, all who were ambulatory and quite self-sufficient. Wheelchairs and walkers were not allowed until regulations were relaxed several years later.
Wendell was an innovative man. He faithfully visited local churches with ideas to promote ACH. Back when a dime was worth a dime, he provided collection containers to local churches, challenging a donation to ACH in lieu of purchasing a cup of coffee. Over the years, numerous fund-raising campaigns have provided support to our seniors. Now, our Aging Angels Program supplies funding to some of our residents who have outlived their retirement nest egg.
Continued demand for growth led to the acquisition of Country Care, our skilled nursing facility, in addition to expanding our license to host 60 assisted living units, and 17 independent cottages. In 2015 with Dementia and Alzheimer’s on the rise, ACH responded by procuring our memory care unit, Bethesda House.
Anticipating the mass retirement movement expected from the Baby Boomer population, ACH has proactively established Pacific Christian Senior Services, aiming to provide our Christ-centered model of care to communities across America. The foundation of our history, pioneered by the Christian Church, has stood the test of time, allowing us to build a better future.