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Senior Living

Expansion of Birchrock Castle Completed

By Senior Living

The expansion of Birchrock Castle is completed, pending a final inspection! We hope to have approval for occupancy in September.

Birchrock Castle looks like a brand-new building. We added an additional 20 units to the CBRF. These new units will allow Castle to offer an array of room styles: private suites, efficiency apartments, full one-bedroom apartments, etc. Our residents will be able to choose a newer and larger unit that fits them best.

We also remodeled the current building and added a back element to the building. Previously, it was a horseshoe shaped building, but with the addition it has been converted to a full circle. This allows residents to walk in the hallway, get exercise and makes it more memory-care friendly. Additionally, it is more secure and residents can enjoy an interior courtyard. We will be planting in raised garden beds so residents may enjoy spending more time outdoors.

The Birchrock Community wraps around some wetland preserves, so there are beautiful views almost as if you are living with nature. Nearly every new unit has a private walkout patio to easily access the outdoors and enjoy the nice summer days.

Reach out today to reserve a spot! Contact Executive Director Candy Mings to sign on to our waiting list at or 262-363-9295. You can also schedule a tour here.

Embracing Serenity and Comfort: Castle Hospice Introduces Reiki and Aromatherapy for Patients

By Senior Living

At Castle Hospice, our mission has always been to provide unparalleled care and support to our patients during their end-of-life journey. We take pride in continuously exploring innovative ways to enhance their well-being and bring comfort to their lives. One of the ways we do this is through Reiki and Aromatherapy. As one of the only hospice providers in the area to offer Reiki therapy, we are excited to embrace a holistic approach to help our patients find peace, tranquility, and serenity.

The Power of Reiki Therapy

Reiki is a gentle, non-invasive energy healing technique that has garnered widespread recognition for its profound effects on the mind, body, and spirit. At Castle Hospice, we have carefully integrated Reiki therapy into our care programs to bring forth a sense of calm and healing energy for our patients. Our trained and certified Reiki practitioner works closely with each individual, creating a serene and nurturing environment that encourages healing of the whole person.

Benefits of Reiki Therapy:

  • Pain Relief: Through Reiki, our patients may experience a reduction in pain and discomfort. Reiki may provide them with much-needed relief, especially for those dealing with chronic pain conditions.
  • Stress Reduction: Our Reiki sessions are designed to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and alleviate anxiety, allowing our patients to find solace amidst the challenges they face.
  • Improved Sleep: We understand the importance of restful sleep. Reiki has shown promising results in improving sleep quality, ensuring our patients receive the rest they deserve.
  • Enhanced Emotional Well-being: Reiki assists our patients in processing emotions, offering them a profound sense of emotional support during this vulnerable period.
  • Heightened Spiritual Connection: Many of our patients find solace in the spiritual aspect of Reiki, allowing them to cultivate peace, acceptance, and a deeper connection with their inner selves.

Aromatherapy: A Fragrance of Comfort

At Castle Hospice, we believe in the power of fragrance to evoke emotions and create a nurturing atmosphere. Aromatherapy, which harnesses the essence of natural oils, serves as another pillar of comfort in our care. Through the thoughtful use of essential oils, we aim to provide our patients with an enhanced sense of well-being and tranquility.  The essential oils we have selected have been heavily researched to ensure quality, non-reactivity with medications and terminal diseases and to maximize the benefit for the patient.

Benefits of Aromatherapy:

  • Mood Elevation: Lavender and orange are just two of the essential oils known for their mood-enhancing properties. Our aromatherapy sessions may uplift the spirits of our patients, fostering a positive environment.
  • Alleviating Anxiety and Depression: We understand the emotional challenges our patients may face. Aromatherapy can help reduce feelings of anxiety, agitation, and depression, offering emotional relief.
  • Pain Management: Some essential oils possess analgesic properties, which may supplement effective pain management solutions.
  • Improved Sleep Quality: Lavender, vetiver and cedarwood have been found to improve sleep quality, allowing our patients to find assistance in experiencing restful sleep.

Embracing a Holistic Approach

By introducing Reiki therapy and Aromatherapy, Castle Hospice is fully committed to embracing a holistic approach to end-of-life care. These therapies not only assist with the physical symptoms but also cater to the whole person – the emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs of our patients.

Our goal is to promote comfort and dignity to help our patients live their lives as fully as possible through end-of-life. As we continue to evolve and grow, we remain steadfast in our mission to serve our patients with the utmost care, love, and respect throughout their journey with us.

Call us today at 414-930-4432 to find out more.

Castle Senior Living Sells 8-Bed Communities to Bright Faith Senior Living

By Senior Living

Castle Senior Living sold their small home communities to Bright Faith Senior Living on June 8, 2023.

Bright Faith Senior Living is another family-owned business, whose owner, Brendt Johannsen, has experience with family members in need of assisted living support.

Kris Kiefer, owner and vice president of Castle Senior Living, states, “We are excited for Brendt and Bright Faith Senior Living. We align on so many levels and believe the transition will be smooth for employees and residents alike. We would not have sold these homes if we didn’t think the high level of care we’ve established wouldn’t be met.”

Communities impacted by the sale include:

  • Cambridge Castle
  • Camelot Castle
  • Emerald Castle
  • Castle Gardens
  • Castle Ridge
  • Ruby Castle
  • Sienna Castle
  • Victorian Castle

“This transition allows Castle Senior Living to continue to grow and serve the needs of our Castle Hospice patients and our residents at The Grand Hills Castle and Birchrock Castle Community. We are excited for the future and happy to have sold to another family business that genuinely cares for its residents,” adds Kevin Kiefer, owner and president of Castle Senior Living.

If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us or to reach out to Bright Faith Senior Living.

Caregiver Showcase: High School Students

By Senior Living

Here at Castle Senior Living, we have hired several fabulous Mukwonago-area high school students to work as caregivers at Birchrock Castle. These young people bring positive attitudes and smiles to work each day, and residents have embraced them as welcome additions to our team. The five teens recently shared about themselves and their roles with us.

Hailey Graul, 17, hopes for a career in nursing someday. She enjoys her position particularly because she loves making a positive impact and “being able to put a smile on residents’ faces.” Sage Kaiser, 18, aims for smiling residents as well: “It is important to me that each and every one of our residents feels important and loved every time I am working.” After high school, Sage plans to pursue a degree in occupational therapy, specializing in work with the geriatric population and/or stroke victims.

Rylee Radtke, 18, has been touched by the impact she’s been able to make, on both the residents and their families. When a resident passed away, Rylee found out that she had talked to her family regularly about Rylee. Says Rylee, “Seeing the family so grateful and appreciative of the love I had for the resident filled my heart. I want to keep making that impact where others can feel happy, loved, and appreciated.” Rylee is on track to achieve this goal in her desire to become a nurse anesthetist who works on army medical bases.

For aspiring forensic nurse Emily Graber, 16, the residents at Birchrock Castle make her job enjoyable. She says, “The residents always make me laugh, and they are genuinely the best. Each and every story that the residents tell me is amazing and hilarious.” Sage echoes the connections with residents as her favorite part of the position. She believes “they are so wise, and we can learn a lot from them and their experiences.” Future nurse Rylee Georgenson, 17, describes the residents as very kind and cheerful, saying, “I am always excited to come in to see my residents.”

If other young people are considering careers in caregiving, Hailey recommends having “patience and a want to help people.” Emily encourages individuals to especially consider work in memory care, saying, “Working at Castle Senior Living has taught me that caring for dementia patients is hard but totally worth it.” Sage shares that “the field is so rewarding, and you know that you are making a difference with your work.”

Rylee R. has discovered that a caregiving position can help build confidence and teach how to better engage with people—but most importantly, in such work, you can “fulfill a desire to help by meeting unique, amazing people” and make “a wonderful change” in someone’s life. And finally, Rylee G. offers some inspiring advice: “It is worth it! … I don’t feel like I am working. I feel like I am spending time with family. If you are doubting, make the jump and try it. You won’t regret it.”

Castle Hospice Pet Therapy

By Senior Living

Castle Hospice recognizes the benefit of emotional support that therapy pets can provide for our patients at end of life, and how that contributes to overall quality of life. Although many types of animals can be trained for therapy work, dogs are the most common in most settings. Unlike a service dog, who is not to be pet while working, a therapy dog’s main job is to be pet and enjoyed by those around them in a safe and trained way.

Liza Falk, our Hospice Spiritual Counselor and Bereavement Coordinator, and her dog Poe have completed their training and testing requirements to become a registered pet therapy team.  We are very excited to announce that Castle Hospice is now able to offer animal assisted therapy for Castle Hospice patients! Liza and Poe have already started bringing joy and comfort to those we serve.

In the hospice setting, individuals are often no longer able to respond as they once did to verbal stimulus, and having the tactile engagement with a properly trained animal can allow them to engage in another way. Liza has witnessed that petting Poe has calmed restless individuals. We’ve also seen individuals who were mostly non-verbal begin to engage in conversation with him. Others may miss their own dogs and pet therapy serves as a way to connect back to their memories and stories. For individuals who are hesitant to greet a dog, he will perform tricks, and often makes people laugh.

A therapy animal is an animal who has been found to be medically fit, and then certified through an oversite agency (such as Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Therapy Dogs International, or Pet Partners etc.).  The animals are trained in a variety of settings in order to react appropriately to differently abled individuals who reside in a variety of settings and may have a variety of needed medical equipment or mobility needs. Once trained they are tested extensively prior to being allowed to perform therapy visits.

If any registered pet therapy teams are interested in volunteering with us as we are hoping to continue expanding our Pet Therapy Program, please contact Liza at or Yvonne at 

Deficiency Free State Survey at The Grand Hills Castle

By Senior Living

We would like to announce and celebrate that The Grand Hills Castle had a deficiency free state survey!

This survey was conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and specifically the Division of Quality Assurance. This division conducts both announced and unannounced surveys of assisted living facilities in Wisconsin to ensure that state licensure/certification and home and community-based services (HCBS) requirements are met.

The surveyor evaluated The Grand Hills Castle’s performance and compliance with applicable laws and standards in the areas of resident rights, program services, nutrition and food service, physical environment and safety, medication, and staff training.

To find out more information about these surveys please visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.

Annual Resident Satisfaction Survey

By Senior Living

Castle Senior Living will initiate our annual resident satisfaction survey from March 1 to April 15.  The satisfaction survey is an important part of Castle Senior Living’s participation in the Wisconsin Coalition for Collaborative Excellence in Assisted Living (WCCEAL), and we use the feedback from these surveys to design wellness programs and customer service initiatives. This satisfaction survey is also vital to a statewide initiative to continuously improve the quality of service provided by participating assisted living provider organizations. WCCEAL is an unprecedented collaboration between:

  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Board on Aging and Long Term Care
  • Disability Service Provider Network (DSPN)
  • LeadingAge Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Assisted Living Association (WALA)
  • Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living (WHCA/WiCAL)

Satisfaction surveys will be delivered to all residents and mailed to resident guardians or responsible party (if applicable). Completed surveys can be returned via the self-addressed stamped envelope directly to WCCEAL or dropped off at any Castle Senior Living community. All survey responses are confidential unless participants choose to disclose feedback. Surveys must be post-marked by April 15, 2023.  Residents who can respond to surveys, but need some assistance completing the form, will receive help from a social worker if they choose to participate.

We truly appreciate the confidence you have placed in our organization throughout the years. We hope you find comfort in knowing we are constantly improving processes to deliver quality care and participate in our 2023 satisfaction survey.

Meet Phyllis, Resident of Birchrock Castle

By Senior Living

Phyllis joined the Birchrock Castle family in August of 2022. While downsizing from her Mukwonago home was not easy, she says people can take better care of her here, which she could not do on her own.

“I am very independent,” Phyllis says. “I do most things myself. I always try to make my bed. I do the best I can.”

“Here, you can go around and do you own thing. Nobody bothers you about it. I love to exercise, so I work on my arms and legs mostly. I try to go several days a week.”

At 97 years old, Phyllis is the only one in her family who has lived this long other than a grandma who made it to her early 90s. She’s discovered how residing at Birchrock Castle has helped her live a better life.

“I have asthma so I have to get medicine for a breathing treatment. They come in and help me and are all very nice.”

Phyllis, who was lovingly known as “Phil the Pill” growing up with her three brothers, was born in Big Bend, but was raised in Mukwonago in a home on Grand Avenue that her father built.

“My dad was a carpenter and he had a shop in town with my Grandpa Frank,” she recalls. “I used to stop there after grade school and my grandma Maggie would always have cookies for us. At that time, it was during the war so it was hard to get things for baking.

“When I was older, I had to come home and help my mother with the house. I didn’t particularly care about that. I wanted to go out with my friends. We took long walks for fun and looked for wild asparagus along the railroad tracks.”

The second of four children, Phyllis was especially close to her brother Harvey, whom she lost at a young age.

“He was killed in a car accident when he was 17 and it broke my heart,” she says. “He was so smart and spent a lot of time building model airplanes in our basement. I still miss him.”

Her other brothers, Foster and Bill, served in the Army and Air Force. And Phyllis also did her part during World War II right out of high school.

“I went to Milwaukee and took a typing test to work for the government,” she says. “I earned a high mark so then they put me in a big room with other female typists. As the guys came home from the war, they asked if I wanted to be the head of the claims department. We had to file claims to see if a soldier was eligible for a pension.”

Phyllis met her husband, Dudley on a blind date at her friend’s New Year’s Eve party. With her independent streak and love for her work, Phyllis wasn’t thinking about settling down.

“We dated a while and he asked me to marry him. I said I wasn’t ready to be married yet or tie myself down. We just kept going out. I was 28 when I finally got married.”

Phyllis and Dudley married on April 30, 1949 at her church in Mukwonago. They had four children, three boys and a girl, and lived in Fox Point, Menomonee Falls and Mukwonago.

“I have three retired kids who live close by, so they can come to visit me. I have so many grandchildren that I cannot keep track.”

When Phyllis is not exercising, you can find her reading a good book, (a favorite is Gone with the Wind), or watching the birds feeding outside her window. She credits Robert Sheets, the Activities Director at Birchrock, for always keeping the feeders full so she can enjoy her feathered visitors.

When asked about her proudest accomplishment in life, Phyllis has this to say.

“I just kept on going. I made the best I could of it.”

What We are Thankful for at Castle Senior Living

By Senior Living

The Thanksgiving holiday holds many memories for Castle Senior Living and is among our favorite time of year for reflection and thanks. Looking back, we count our blessings as a family company with 30 years in business, and are grateful to offer independent living, assisted living, memory care and hospice services throughout southeast Wisconsin.

We are fortunate to have dependable, trusting and loving employees who care for our residents with dedication and purpose. They embody our mission of providing compassionate care in a loving home environment.

“Our employees come from different backgrounds and experiences,” says Kevin Kiefer, “but everyone has a story on what inspires them to care for others. We embrace their stories to reflect our mission and encourage a positive experience.”

Castle Senior Living is grateful to help people. We are thankful for our residents who make our livelihoods possible and our communities a home.

“I know we can and do help our residents improve physically and emotionally, which is so encouraging,” says Kris Kiefer.

Our residents’ families – those who often help make the difficult decision to remove their parent from a long-time home – face an incredible burden. We appreciate their choosing us for a loved one’s care.

“We are able to relieve the pressure felt by our residents’ children and families as they transition here, and ensure their parent will receive all the help, love and support they need,” Kevin says. “Families approach us and thank us for the difference we make.”

On the business side, we are pleased to have grown our 30-year-old company organically – staying focused on quality and customer service as the priority. Our growth and progress stems from the new construction at Grand Hills Castle in New Berlin a few years ago to our current expansion project at Birchrock Castle in Mukwonago.

“I’m thankful we can share our compassionate care with more seniors, as we welcome additional employees and increase our service levels in a larger, improved space,” says Candy Mings, Executive Director of Birchrock Castle. “We are accomplishing great things together as part of the team.”

So, as we take our seats around the holiday table in late November, we recognize and appreciate the trust our employees, residents and their families place in us every day. “Thanks-for-giving” us the opportunity to serve you. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

(Delayed) Grand Opening for Birchrock Castle Expansion!

By Senior Living

This event has been delayed due to construction delays to a TBD date/time.

Castle Senior Living is excited to announce the grand opening of our Birchrock Castle Expansion on September 15, 2022.

The community now includes an additional 20 units for the CBRF in an array of room styles from private suites to efficiency and one-bedroom apartments. Residents can choose a new, larger unit that fits them best. The original building continues to be remodeled to specialize in Memory Care and designed to showcase the beautiful wetland preserve surrounding Birchrock Castle.

When: Thursday, September 15th from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.*

Where: 210 McDivitt Lane, Mukwonago, WI 53149

Who:  All are welcome to join us for the celebration

Details: A ribbon cutting ceremony with the Village of Mukwonago will take place at 2:30 p.m. An open house will follow with drinks, appetizers and tours of the building and grounds until 7:30 p.m.

*The event date is subject to change based upon possible construction delays that may occur in the coming days. Any updates will be posted on our website and on our Facebook page.