Mick and Nancy McAuliffe

Keeping Active, Choosing Home

ChooseHome members: Sue And Bob Dickler

Listening to the sweet, sweet sound of laughing children running through the neighborhood. Watching young families grow. Welcoming trick-or-treaters every Halloween, marveling at their costumes and handing out candy to each and every one.

Those are the things that keep you young at heart, Sue Dickler will tell you. At ages when some couples are looking to move into retirement communities –the Dicklers are in their early 70s –Sue and her husband, Bob, realized that "yes, we are older people, but we don't want to live with older people. We want to be with young people. We're busy and active and want to run up and down the stairs of our home. Someday we may be ready for a retirement community, but not today.

"So today, after 49 years of being married and living together in a house, they chose to stay in their home. They chose ChooseHome. "Everybody has different needs. We have reasonable long-term care insurance and looked at communities to move into, but at this point in our lives they weren't for us," Bob said. "We have no relatives in Williamsburg, but ChooseHome gave us the opportunity to live in Williamsburg and have the safety net of services and support."

Sue hails originally from New York City and Bob from Chicago. They met in Cleveland and spent their lifetime together traveling and living in cities all around the country, while also raising their family. Bob worked in health care administration and Sue, following her early career days in psychology and counseling, made a life as a professional volunteer and homemaker, working in national parks and museums and with her daughter's classroom and extracurricular activities.

Nearly a decade ago the Dicklers retired close to Colonial Williamsburg because, as Sue will tell you, "we are huge history nerds." Originally they bought a little townhouse and were going to downsize and put many things in storage. "Then we realized we wanted all our stuff so we upsized," Sue said. 

ChooseHome's access to long-term care facilities "if and when we need them," Bob said, provided the safety net they wanted and "ChooseHome, combined with the plan we adopted in our original long-term care insurance, gave us a well-rounded package and flexibility to do what we wanted to do."

What do they want to do? Work out twice a week in a nearby gym. Read voraciously. Volunteer at the Kimball Theatre taking tickets and with Colonial Williamsburg at the Visitor Center. ChooseHome also allowed Bob and Sue to keep their own physicians they'd had for years. "Having spent a career in health care, I assumed ChooseHome structured itself that they required you to use Riverside physicians," Bob said.

"To Riverside's credit, they didn't require us to switch. And that was very important to us." Bob and Sue's daughter, who lives in Charlottesville, would very much like for them to move closer to her. "And perhaps one day they will," Sue said. For now, they are choosing to stay put, in their home.