Lifelong Health

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ChooseHome members: Walt & Ginny Doran

Walt and Ginny Doran have lived all over the world during their 48-year marriage. Their travelogue of Navy stops spans Okinawa Island, Italy, India, Panama, Japan and six separate stints in Metropolitan Washington, D.C. They spent six more years in Singapore before looking for a place to retire.

Williamsburg offered plenty to do minus the congestion of living along the 495 corridor in the DMV area.

Walt and Ginny needed just a weekend to find a house they adore in Ford’s Colony. It’s a gorgeous home that includes a kitchen nook overlooking the water on the 18th green. Their treasured Asian collectibles are arranged tastefully underneath the charming cathedral ceilings that accentuate light in every room. 

When the pandemic sidelined them from additional traveling, the Dorans realized just how good it felt to be home, among the many reasons why Riverside’s ChooseHome program makes such good sense to both of them.

As a retired 4-star Admiral and Navy family, Walt and Ginny had excellent medical care, but Ginny was unable to obtain long-term care coverage.

“We married what I already had with the ChooseHome plan so Ginny could get help if she needed it and it has all worked,” Walt says. “Our financial planner loved the idea. ChooseHome allowed us to do what we wanted to do, and that’s stay in our home as long as it’s viable.”

Neither Walt nor Ginny is close to slowing down. They are new parents to a rescue Lab mix named Darlene, who gives them motivation to gear up for long morning walks. Walt is a model train buff with a railroad in progress in an upstairs room. Ginny golfs and is progressing on a 1,000-piece puzzle spread out in her home office. The Dorans are avid readers. 

Both understood that being proactive while they are healthy is critical.

“We thought about it hard, and we knew we couldn’t put it off,” Walt says. “If you wait too long, it can be too late.”

If a health crisis emerges, the Dorans have the peace of mind of knowing they can contact their Personal Services Coordinator Susan Lewton, who they’ve gotten to know well since they enrolled in the program three years ago. Susan feels like a family member, and they both look forward to her monthly check-in calls.

“In the early days of the pandemic, she helped to get our groceries delivered,” Walt says. “She arranged for our COVID shots and even met us there and sat with us for the 15 minutes afterward.”

“She’s that extra reassurance for us,” Ginny says. 

“If something were to happen in that moment of panic and confusion, I know I can call Susan,” Walt adds. “I have confidence in knowing she’ll take care of it.”

Having that kind of security means the Dorans won’t have to burden their two sons, Mike and Terry, should a health need arise. Mike lives in Amelia Island, Florida, with his family and Terry resides in Manassas.

As many as 30 years ago, the Dorans assessed their life plan and compared it to building a brick wall that represents their financial independence. Brick by brick, they paved the way, taking care of family, themselves and preparing for whatever the future brings.

That’s given them the freedom to enjoy spending the rest of their lives savoring the people and places they love. One of those places is their home, full of old memories and open to making new ones.

“You don’t always want to think about things when you’re healthy,” Ginny says. “But you need to. We wanted to stay in our home. We’re so happy to have it. We know that someday we may have to leave our home, but ChooseHome goes with us. That is a comfort. We can count on that care when we need it.”