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Castle Senior Living

COVID-19 Update 24

By COVID-19No Comments

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

Our Birchrock Castle community is currently experiencing a surge in positive COVID-19 cases. Fortunately, all residents who have tested positive are stable and many of them are asymptomatic. All non-essential visitation has been cancelled at Birchrock Castle as we continue to work with the Waukesha County Health Department to manage the situation.

The following are in effect for the safety of our residents, staff and communities:

  • Non-essential visitation is currently suspended at all locations. The Grand Hills Castle is allowing staffed outside visits only. We will make exceptions for compassionate care at all of our communities. Video calls or virtual visits are still encouraged and available. If you’d like to schedule a virtual visit, please reach out to your community administrator.
  • We are working with state and local depart health departments. We do have access to the rapid COVID-19 test which helps with testing quickly and controlling the spread of the virus.
  • Birchrock Castle, Victorian Castle, Sienna Castle and Emerald Castle are all considered to be under “outbreak status.” You only need one positive case of COVID-19 from either a resident or staff member to be considered under “outbreak status.”

COVID-19 cases remain high locally and across the state, so we ask everyone to be extra careful and remain vigilant. Please respect the safeguards that the CDC and the Department of Health have put in place to protect our residents from COVID-19.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to be in communication with you as the situation evolves. We are working with the Wisconsin Department of Health on the vaccine front. However, we still haven’t received communication on when they will initiate phase 1A Part B and begin to distribute vaccinations to Assisted Living residents and staff. Once phase 1A Part B of the vaccine distribution is initiated, it will be a minimum of two weeks before vaccines will be administered at Assisted Living communities throughout Wisconsin.

We are hopeful that phase 1A Part B will be initiated soon. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19 Update 23

By COVID-19No Comments

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

We are happy to report no additional positive cases since our last update.

We are also happy to report that seven of the eight residents with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have recovered. Castle Senior Living continues to provide additional support to these residents and their families. We also continue to support and pray for one resident who remains in the hospital.

Even with the updates above, the following are still in effect for the safety of our residents, staff and communities:

  • Visitation is currently suspended at all locations with the exception of Birchrock Castle and The Grand Hills Castle. The Grand Hills Castle is allowing staffed outside visits only. Birchrock Castle is still allowing visitation as long as visitors follow the safer-visitation guidelines. We will make exceptions for compassionate care at all of our communities. Video calls or virtual visits are still encouraged and available. If you’d like to schedule a virtual visit, please reach out to your community administrator.
  • We are working with state and local depart health departments to manage the situation. We do have access to the rapid COVID-19 test which helps with testing quickly and controlling the spread of the virus.
  • Victorian Castle, Sienna Castle and Emerald Castle are still considered to be under “outbreak status.” You only need one positive case of COVID-19 from either a resident or staff member to be considered under “outbreak status.”

COVID-19 cases remain high locally and across the state, so we ask everyone to be extra careful and remain vigilant. Please respect the safeguards that the CDC and the Department of Health have put in place to protect our residents from COVID-19.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to be in communication with you as the situation evolves. One area that of good news is the FDA approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine. We continue to monitor the situation and you can find more information on Wisconsin specifics in this BizTimes article. The following is a brief description of the situation:

  • The first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Wisconsin on Monday, December 14.
  • As part of Phase 1A, critical care workers, long-term care staff and residents will receive the vaccine first. However, skilled nursing facilities will be prioritized before Assisted Living Facilities in the State of Wisconsin.
  • This means that Assisted Living communities like Castle Senior Living will likely begin to receive the vaccine in January.
  • There is a partnership with the State of Wisconsin, Walgreens and CVS to effectively administer the vaccine at Assisted Living communities.
  • Castle Senior Living is registered to participate in this program and will share more information on the vaccination clinics when it is made available.

The arrival of the vaccine is good news and we should be receiving the treatments in the next couple months. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Be well and stay safe.

Caregiver marks 10th anniversary with Castle Senior Living

By Senior LivingNo Comments

Congratulations to LaDonna Savage, a third shift caregiver at Emerald Castle, who celebrated her tenth work anniversary with us earlier this year! LaDonna says caring for others is her way of life as she manages two full-time jobs while looking after her family and grandchildren. She recently spent some time with us and shared how her dedication for helping people led her to the Castle Senior Living family.

Tell us about your journey to become a caregiver?

My mom got sick in 2000, so I started looking into how to be a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or caregiver. I quit my job managing a fast-food restaurant and went into caregiving with no experience. I always served people and my community in a different way. Helping the disabled and the sick is my way of giving back.

I’m always taking care of someone. I have a husband, nine grandchildren with the nine children I had growing up in our home. I’ve also work full-time, second shift for residents at a developmentally disabled facility for 15 years along with my Castle Senior Living position. These are the people I see and serve every day.

What do you enjoy most about working for Castle Senior living at the Emerald Castle community?

I’d have to say it’s the one-on-one time and the care for residents. I look forward to seeing them each day, especially the ones that stay up when I start my shift at 11:00 pm. They call me the ‘third shift cleaning lady.’ I cook, clean, do the laundry and prep for the next day. Some residents want food, a cup of coffee or some just like to talk to me. The residents know you. You have to be sincere, have patience and compassion. It comes from the heart.

I’m glad to be a part of the team and a great company. It’s not just a job here. There’s incredible support and compassion for employees. During the time I’ve worked for Castle Senior Living, I had two house fires and our family lost everything. They were there with donations and time off until I was ready to come back. When you lose everything, it’s nice to know you have family. When my mom died in 2015, their support was beautiful. No one ever knows how far the love goes outside your family. When I returned to work, the support and love from co-workers was there.

What’s the most important thing that you’ve learned on the job in the past year?

With the pandemic, we learned to be safer and it’s important to continue to do so. As workers, we are going outside of the building. We don’t want this crisis coming into our doors.

I have a lot of patience – more than I ever thought. I learned it is my destiny to help others, to love and support them.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I like having my hair done. That’s my downtime and own time. Just for me.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that other people might not know.

The people here say I’m funny, amazing, and honest. I don’t hold back. My supervisor says I tell it like it is. Honesty is the best way. Anyone that knows me understands that no matter what I say, I never mean any harm.

What to look for when checking in on elderly relatives during the holidays

By Senior LivingNo Comments

Christmas and the New Year are those major family occasions where you may be spending more time with your elderly parents and relatives. This year is quite different with in-person visits discouraged and stay-at-home pleas from government officials to help curb the spread of COVID-19, especially as we head into the winter season.

If you are in contact with older adults these days, whether virtually or in-person, pay close attention to how they are doing and what they could be revealing to you. There are subtle signs to watch for that could indicate a possible decline in their abilities:

  • Withdrawing from normal activities – When a person is no longer showing interest in hobbies or tasks such as housecleaning and paying bills on time.
  • Unsteady on their feet and overall slowing down – A loved one’s movements are becoming delayed, which is unlike their usual pace, and they admit to falling at home.
  • Appetite and weight loss – For someone who once loved to cook and eat, little to no appetite and a visual weight loss are concerns that should be addressed.
  • Sleep – A change in routine where someone is sleeping more during the day and awake at night.

Investigate by asking questions of your loved one to possibly learn why this may be happening. If this does not generate much of a response or lead to any significant conclusions, a doctor’s visit is the next recommended step.

Discussing these issues is never an easy task for children of elderly parents. If you find yourself in this situation, consider the guidelines from a blog we posted this time last year, Approaching Difficult Conversations with Mom and Dad. And know that the team here at Castle Senior Living is always open to provide insight and resources if you have questions or concerns.

COVID-19 Update 22

By COVID-19No Comments

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

As we reported during our last update, we have had eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in three of our Castle communities. We’re doing all we can to bring added care to these residents and their families. However, we are happy to report that we have not had another resident test positive since that time. We have had two additional staff members test positive for COVID-19, but our thorough contact tracing shows that they had contact only with those who already had COVID-19 and thus there was minimal exposure in the two-week infectious period.

For the safety of our residents, staff and communities, the following are still in effect:

  • Visitation is currently suspended at all locations with the exception of Birchrock Castle and The Grand Hills Castle. The Grand Hills Castle is allowing staffed outside visits only. Birchrock Castle is still allowing visitation as long as visitors follow the safer-visitation guidelines. We will make exceptions for compassionate care at all of our communities. Video calls or virtual visits are still encouraged and available. If you’d like to schedule a virtual visit, please reach out to your community administrator.
  • We are working with state and local depart health departments to manage the isolation and quarantine of infected and exposed individuals at each location. We do have access to the rapid COVID-19 test which helps with testing quickly and controlling the spread.
  • Victorian Castle, Sienna Castle and Emerald Castle are considered to be under “outbreak status.” You only need one positive case of COVID-19 from either a resident or staff member to be considered under “outbreak status.”
  • All of the residents at The Grand Hills Castle that had potential exposure have tested negative for COVID-19. The previous “outbreak status” for The Grand Hills Castle has ended.

COVID-19 cases remain high locally and across the state, so we ask everyone to be extra careful and remain vigilant. Please respect the safeguards that the CDC and the Department of Health have put in place to protect our residents from COVID-19.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to be in communication with you as the situation evolves. One area that we hope to be able to communicate with you soon is the topic of a COVID-19 vaccine. We don’t have any information at this time, but are monitoring the situation closely and will keep you informed.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19 Update 21

By COVID-19No Comments

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

We have eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in three of our Castle communities. One resident of Victorian Castle, six residents at Sienna Castle and one resident at Emerald Castle have tested positive for the virus. In addition, we have had several staff members test positive for COVID-19.

The following are still in effect:

  • Visitation is currently suspended at all locations with the exception of Birchrock Castle and The Grand Hills Castle. The Grand Hills Castle is allowing staffed outside visits only. We will make exceptions for compassionate care (end of life situations). Video calls or virtual visits are still encouraged and available. If you’d like to schedule a virtual visit, please reach out to your community administrator.
  • We are working with state and local depart health departments to manage the isolation and quarantine of infected and exposed individuals at each location. We do have access to the rapid COVID-19 test which helps with testing quickly and controlling the spread.
  • Victorian Castle, Sienna Castle and Emerald Castle are considered to be under “outbreak status.” You only need one positive case of COVID-19 from either a resident or staff member to be considered under “outbreak status.”
  • All of the residents at The Grand Hills Castle that had potential exposure have tested negative for COVID-19. The previous “outbreak status” for The Grand Hills Castle has ended.

COVID-19 cases remain high locally and across the state, so we ask everyone to be extra careful and remain vigilant. Please respect the safeguards that the CDC and the Department of Health have put in place to protect our residents from COVID-19.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to be in communication with you as the situation evolves.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19 Update 20

By COVID-19

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

We have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in one of our Castle communities. A resident of Victorian Castle has tested positive for the virus. In addition, we have had several staff members test positive for COVID-19

The following are key changes in effect immediately:

  • Visitation is currently suspended at all locations with the exception of Birchrock Castle. We will make exceptions for compassionate care (end of life situations). Video calls or virtual visits are still encouraged and available. If you’d like to schedule a virtual visit, please reach out to your community administrator.
  • We are working with state and local depart health departments to manage the isolation and quarantine of infected and exposed individuals at each location.
  • Both Grand Hills Castle and Victorian Castle are considered to be under “outbreak status.” You only need one positive case of COVID-19 from either a resident or staff member to be considered under “outbreak status.”
  • All of the residents at The Grand Hills Castle that had potential exposure have tested negative for COVID-19. We are still waiting on the test results for our residents at Victorian Castle.

COVID-19 cases remain high locally and across the state, so we ask everyone to be extra careful and remain vigilant. Please respect the safeguards that the CDC and the Department of Health have put in place to protect our residents from COVID-19.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to be in communication with you as the situation evolves.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Be well and stay safe.

Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness advances research and a patient’s quality of life

By Senior LivingNo Comments

In August, results of a groundbreaking study led by a team of scientists at Vanderbilt University Medical Center was released that may provide genetic clues into the cognitive resilience of the human brain – that’s the organ’s ability to protect itself against disease and improve the chances of recovering from injury. Experts say this medical research could now help scientists discover new ways of developing treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia and a leading cause of death among older Americans in the U.S. We’ve noted more than one thousand November days of “National Alzheimer’s Disease Month” in our country since President Ronald Reagan – himself later a victim of the disease – signed a proclamation declaring it so in 1986.

Taking the time to recognize the signs of Alzheimer’s is important on so many levels:

  • It’s a progressive disease where patients become worse over time, falling away from routines.
  • When the disease is fully developed, patients aren’t sure where they are or may be unable to talk.
  • Based on overall health, some may live as little as eight years, while others can survive up to 20 years with the disease.

At Castle Senior Living, our memory care program is a top objective. This year, we launched an enhanced approach called, “A Smile to Remember.”

We recognize that a smile is the universal sign for happiness. Studies show that patients with advanced dementia can reciprocate the feeling of a genuine smile, which helps lower their blood pressure, feelings of anxiety, and improve their mood. Our Dementia Care Practitioner and team of medical experts designed this program to transform the way people think about dementia. It allows our team to build happy, healthy relationships with residents, develop person-centered approaches that are custom to them, including proper nutrition, therapy and involvement in an engaging and continuous learning environment.

“A Smile to Remember” is our unique program for memory care, where our goal is to inspire those with dementia to live an active and meaningful lifestyle in our communities. Please contact us if you have questions or would like more information about our program.

COVID-19 Update 19

By COVID-19No Comments

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

We are happy to continue to report that none of the residents at any of our Castle Senior Living communities have tested positive for COVID-19. However, COVID-19 cases are rising locally and across the state so we urge everyone to be extra careful and remain vigilant.

We are now allowing scheduled outdoor visitations. Please contact your community administrator to schedule these outdoor visits. We are also looking to update our visitation policy to allow controlled, safer indoor visits. This will vary dependent on the community since each location’s set up is unique. Residents and families will be notified when your community is ready for controlled indoor visits.

Video calls or virtual visits are still encouraged and available! If you’d like to schedule a virtual visit, please reach out to your community administrator.

We are also working with the CDC and the Department of Health to get all of our communities registered for COVID-19 vaccination delivery once a vaccine is approved. When we know more, we will share that with you.

We continue to ask everyone to please respect the safeguards that the CDC and the Department of Health have put in place to protect our residents from COVID-19. If residents have to make essential visits out into the community, please continue to sign out of the community and inform staff. We strongly encourage all residents and families to review the CDC recommendations on ”Deciding to Go-Out” before residents make essential trips outside of their assisted living community.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Meet the Residents – Curtis and Claire Semmler

By Senior LivingNo Comments

When husband and wife, Curtis and Claire Semmler, moved into Birchrock Castle two years ago this November, the experience was not what they expected.

“When we first found out about this place, they told us there were only two rooms open,” recalls Curtis. “We had to move quickly and moved in two weeks to get here. I thought it (Birchrock Castle) was like nursing homes (of the past), but it wasn’t.”

The retired couple – Curtis is 68 and Claire is 66 – had been living in a nice apartment in Waukesha at the time, but recognized they needed more support in their daily lives. Birchrock Castle’s Assisted Living was the best choice for them.

“We had a meeting with Candy Mings, Birchrock’s administrator, and others from Castle, including my sister, Karen,” Claire remembers. “In the apartment, Curtis and I didn’t get much help. We always asked visiting agents, but they would say they couldn’t make it. Our case manager recommended Birchrock Castle, so here we are.”

“I wanted a place with people our own age,” says Curtis. “Here, we can go outside and walk around the house on the patio. We put on our sunglasses and enjoy the outdoor flowers and Dale Dent’s tomatoes.

Claire chimed in, “Dale is our neighbor across the hall and has a great sense of humor.” Read our blog about Dale in Castle’s Meet the Resident.

“We do as much as we can on our own here. If we need help, we ask. I can get dressed, but I need help with the shower. We have a lot of nice friends, terrific caregivers and Jolene is a wonderful cook.”

The Semmler’s also had medical concerns to consider when looking for a new home. Claire is on oxygen because of a bad bout with pneumonia a couple of years ago. Curtis recovered from a throat cancer diagnosis in April 2017 and remains cancer free. The two married thirty years ago in May. Theirs is a sweet love story.

“I worked at the training center in Waukesha,” Claire recalls. “I saw Curtis and he saw me, right Curt? And we saw each other and that was it. I said that’s the guy for me.

“We don’t have kids, but we’re still like kids. I love my honey,” she says.

The two also worked in retail, most notably at the Pick ‘n Save in Waukesha. It’s a place Birchrock Castle Administrator Candy Mings recalls frequenting as a young woman.

“I grew up in Waukesha and I used to shop there with my mom in high school,” says Candy. “Thirty years later, I went to Curtis’ apartment and I still remembered him working there. His hair was darker at that time,” she quips.

Since coming to Birchrock Castle, Curtis and Claire heap heavy praise on the activity team for their many fun games, projects and exercise sessions to keep them active. Claire says she and Curtis both eat healthier now and have lost weight. They both agree that Castle Senior Living is helping them live a better life.

“My room is nice and comfortable,” says Claire. “If I want it peaceful for a while, I go there. We just got a new refrigerator. I wanted a purple one, so Candy found it for me online. Curtis also got a new recliner and a TV.

“We love Candy and all the caregivers here. They work hard. If you need them, they’re right there for you. This place is big, so you can get around better.”