Lifelong Health

ChooseHome Members: Mick and Nancy McAuliffe

Mick and Nancy McAuliffe know a thing or two about making a house a home. Actually, they know about 22 things about it.

Originally from Kansas, Mick made his career in the U.S. Air Force, re-tiring in 1994 as a brigadier general. During his 30 years in uniform, he and Nancy, his wife of 55 years (high school sweethearts who married in college), moved 22 times.

They likely racked up more moving boxes than they could count, but loved it all the same. They saw the world, raised their two children and made great friends and memories along the way.

But when it came time to pick their forever home, their retirement home, Nancy had her heart set on Williamsburg.

"Our second to last move was to Langley Air Force Base," Nancy said. "I discovered Williamsburg and loved it." And even though both remain active in their 70s, when it came time to think about how they wanted to live as they aged, Mick had his mind set on ChooseHome.

Choosing ChooseHome

Mick and Nancy were among the first members to join ChooseHome when it became an available program to enroll in last year.

As a board member at Patriots Colony at Williamsburg who also chairs the Admissions Commit-tee, Mick said he watched time and time again as families agonized over what to do after a devastating event in their lives that required utilizing nursing home or similar levels of long-term care.

Mick wanted to have a plan. "We love our home and want to age in place," Mick said. That was number one. But if something were to change their ability to do that, Mick wanted to make "darn sure" he and Nancy knew what they would do and had access to long-term care facilities if and when they needed them.

"It's the old adage that you can't buy fire insurance once your house is on fire," Mick said.

Nancy agrees. Six years ago, Nancy was diagnosed with colon cancer. Her medical team caught it early and today she's in remission and very happy. "Cancer is something that can happen to anyone and overnight," Nancy said. "You just don't know. That's another reason we enrolled in ChooseHome. We both realized how fragile life is and that we have to prepare ourselves."

Benefits of Choosing Your Home

Lifestyle also had a lot to do with the McAuliffe's choosing ChooseHome, Mick said. "Nancy has a very, very robust quilting hobby," Mick said. "She has a girl cave that is beautifully set up to do that. She's prolific and does wonderful work —everything from bedspreads to wall art."

Mick wanted her to be able to continue to have that creative space. Plus, "I have a very robust stained glass hobby," he added. Big pieces are built in and adorn literally every wall of their home.

"We built this home," Mick said, explaining that his profession in the Air Force was as an engineer. He designed their house, hired a builder to construct it and together they decorated it with their stained glass, quilts and treasures from a life of travels.

In the meantime, there's a lot of life left to live, according to Mick. "We are a young 75," he said. "We travel a lot –just got back from two weeks on the Maine coast where we tried to empty the state of Maine of lobster and failed miserably!"

They spend three weeks nearly every year visiting friends in Europe and remain extremely involved in the community. All of that combined, Mick said, led them to "think that ChooseHome is the way to go".

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