Skip to main content

Senior Living

Now Taking Reservations at Birchrock Castle: Interview with Candy Mings

By Senior Living

With the expansion of Birchrock Castle finishing up soon and the Grand Opening likely occurring at the end of August, we are thrilled to be able to start accepting reservations. We sat down with Castle Senior Living’s Candy Mings to find out more. Candy is the Executive Director at Birchrock Castle.

What are you most excited about with this expansion at the Birchrock Castle Community?
We now have the opportunity to offer care to more seniors. There’s such an incredible atmosphere here at Birchrock Castle. It’s the most special place I’ve ever worked. Our team is dedicated to bringing joy and excellent care to our residents. Now we can share that compassion and care with more people.

There is so much to love and appreciate about a new building – where do you start? Some of the apartments have kitchenettes and fabulous one-bedroom spaces. A wonderful amenity is the addition of patio doors so residents can access the outside and enjoy their own personal retreat.

When can those who are interested in Birchrock Castle begin applying for and reserving rooms?
Right now. People are already calling us about available spaces and asking questions about our waiting list and amenities. They’re visiting our website, where you’ll find an easy way to learn more about Birchrock Castle and paying a visit. If you reach out to us online it will circle back to me and I will contact you.

I spend a lot of time at Birchrock Castle. This place is a part of who I am, so I love picking up the phone and talking to people about their loved ones and their needs. A conversation also gives you the opportunity to know more about me. I was 19-years-old when I started working in this field as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), then as a nurse and now executive director with 30 years of experience in senior healthcare. I want people to understand that my skills and expertise can guide them on the journey to determine their loved ones’ needs and how we can meet them at Birchrock Castle. I will provide all of the ways we can help.

Why do you enjoy working at Castle Senior Living?
I remain dedicated to Castle Senior Living because I love working for a family-owned company. Kevin and Kris Kiefer’s vision is to deliver the best care possible to our residents. But they also focus on making caregivers feel important and cared for; that we are accomplishing great things together and are part of the team. I’ve never encountered that dual focus on the job before. Of course, the residents come first, but if you maintain a great staff, you will have great care.

We’ve grown into a family at Birchrock Castle – with a mutual love and respect between the care staff and residents. It may sound corny, but we enjoy each other. Healthcare can be a difficult field to work in every day and especially over a length of years. My staff laughs with the residents. We support one another and we get through the day. There’s a teamwork atmosphere. If someone is sick or running late, I have people willing to fill in or stay on shift longer. Someone has your back and supports you here. I don’t take that for granted. I have an open-door policy and believe in communicating with my team. There are no bad questions in my book. I love to teach and listen. My employees are my eyes and ears in this place. I am happy to hear their ideas and incorporate what we can do to improve.

What is it about Mukwonago that led Castle to expand there?
I’ve been with Birchrock Castle for almost four years now and in that time the Village of Mukwonago has grown exponentially – everything from hospital expansions, apartment complexes and subdivisions under construction. With that growth comes the need for us to add to our space and meet the demands of this thriving community.

What do you enjoy most about the Mukwonago area?
We are located in a neighborhood, which supports a homelike feel in the surroundings. The wetlands are right behind Birchrock Castle, with a great view of nature. When people take tours here, many choose us for their next home because they like how we make them feel. This community is filled with hard-working, everyday people. There’s a lot of pride in being able to experience compassionate care in their hometown.

How are the current residents feeling about the major changes to their home?
We’ve been in the throes of construction for many months, of course, but the overall vibe here is excitement. Our residents watch the construction process, keeping tabs on where the workers are digging, building and the various machines that make it all possible. It’s especially entertaining for the men, though some of the women have shared their thoughts on how the project should be carried out. It’s incredibly fun to watch the expansion unfold and we’re all looking forward to the grand opening.

Deficiency Free State Survey at Birchrock Castle

By Senior Living

We would like to announce and celebrate that Birchrock 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 Birchrock 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.

Progress on Expansion of Birchrock Castle: Interview with Kris Kiefer

By Senior Living

With the exciting expansion of Birchrock Castle scheduled to be finished in mid-July and residents being accepted in early to mid-August, we thought we’d sit down with Castle Senior Living owner and vice president, Kris Kiefer, and ask him a few questions.


What does this expansion at the Birchrock Castle Community include?
We’re really excited about it! Construction is going well. There have been a few hiccups with the supply chain, but ultimately everything is on schedule and on track for a mid-July completion. We are adding an additional 20 units to the CBRF. These new units will allow us to offer an array of room styles: private suites, efficiency apartments, full one-bedroom apartments, etc. This allows our residents to choose a newer and larger unit that fits them best.

We are also remodeling the current building and adding on a back element to the building. Right now, it is a horseshoe shaped building, but with the addition it will be converted to a full circle. This allows residents to walk in the hallway, get exercise and makes it more memory care friendly. Additionally, it will be more secure so residents can enjoy an interior courtyard. We will be planting in raised garden beds so residents can 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. Just about every new unit has a private walkout patio to easily access the outdoors and enjoy the nice summer days.


What are some new amenities that will be offered due to this expansion?
Many of the trends are similar to what you’d see in a new home. These elements include a large sunroom with big windows, high ceilings and natural light, a TV/theater lounge, library area, a salon with private beautician services, an activity area and a fireplace lounge. There are many areas for residents to interact, hang out and participate in activities. We’ll also have a farmhouse style kitchen with a coffee/juice bar.

Additionally, we’ll be providing chef-inspired meals with a larger culinary team, have a dedicated housekeeping staff to provide a clean environment and a larger team to focus on the health, well-being and activities for the residents.

This brochure covers many of the amenities.


When can those who are interested in Birchrock Castle begin applying for and reserving rooms?
You can start contacting us right now by reaching out to our executive director Candy Mings to get on our wait list. Interest is definitely out there and some have already signed up. We will give “hard hat” tours to families interested in the community so that they can take a look. We’ll wait a few more weeks to schedule those, probably mid-June, when things are closer to wrapping up inside.


What is it about Mukwonago that led Castle to expand there?
Birchrock has been active in Mukwonago for over 20 years now. We like the area. It has that small-town vibe and the people are just terrific. You combine that with a location that is close to everything, but still surrounded by 17 acres of nature and it’s a great fit.

The goal is to increase our level of service at the Birchrock Castle Community. With this addition, we can create a larger team to provide more support for residents. When residents need more advanced care, they can age in place longer and stay where they are comfortable longer. We will now have the capability of two-person transfers, mechanical lift transfers, insulin injections and other higher level medical needs if they would ever need it.


There seems to be a lot of construction on senior living communities. How much is the Milwaukee-metro market lacking in senior housing? Is there a shortage of living space similar to the current housing market?
COVID-19 delayed many projects and now you’re seeing them coming to fruition. Demand is only going to grow with everyone aging so that’s why we’re seeing more supply. Some senior living communities out there have aged and need updating. New providers are also coming into the market, providing nicer newer spaces and amenities, just like we’re doing here.


Are you hiring for positions at the Birchrock Castle due to the expansion? If so, when?
We already have some candidates in mind and will be hiring in the next few months. We are currently accepting applications through Indeed and on our website.

We have an outstanding team already at Birchrock and it’s incredible to see the longevity we’ve had with our people. It’s an amazing community because of the employees who are here. We want to keep building on that caring culture. Some of our care staff have been here for more than 15 years. Company culture matters to us.

Offering Hospice Care to Southeastern Wisconsin

By Senior Living

We are extremely proud to announce that on January 6th, 2022 Castle Senior Living’s hospice program was awarded its Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP) deemed status and is officially recognized and accepted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CHAP accreditation demonstrates that our hospice meets and exceeds the industry’s highest nationally recognized standards for hospice care. We have undergone rigorous evaluation by CHAP which focuses on structure and function, quality of services and products, human and financial resources, and long-term viability.

Now that we have an excellent foundation for our hospice program and services, we are ready to offer our hospice care and services not only to support our Castle Senior Living residents and their families, but also to anyone who needs quality, compassionate, hospice care in southeastern Wisconsin.

We would like express our gratitude for the overwhelming excitement and support we have received from everyone as we began this journey to bring our hospice program into our continuum of care. Our team considers it an absolute privilege to walk alongside others in life’s incredible journey, and we are honored to serve our patients, caregivers and their families.

We invite you to meet our dedicated hospice team and celebrate our CHAP accreditation on Wednesday, May 4th from 3:00-7:00 pm at Mo’s Irish Pub at 10842 W. Bluemound Rd, Wauwatosa, WI 53226. Download the event flyer.

Celebrating 30 Years of Compassionate Care for Seniors

By Senior Living

Castle Senior Living is excited to be celebrating our 30th Anniversary this year. While we have certainly grown and changed throughout the years, our mission remains the same: to provide compassionate care to seniors in a home-like environment that encourages independence and focuses on improving physical and emotional well-being.

The Castle story is one of family and of love. In 1992, the Kiefer family began to take care of frail elderly and those with disabilities in a few extra rooms they had in their home. They quickly became state licensed and then in 1995, they opened a small care home in the New Berlin area. Current owners, Kris and Kevin, were quite young at the time, but they were involved and learned what it took to be great caregivers and managers. The mission of improving the quality of life for seniors in their local community became their passion. Throughout the years, Kevin and Kris continued to work with their parents to help build and grow Castle Senior Living. In 2008, Kevin and Kris followed their passion and purchased the company.

Today, Castle Senior Living has ten locations and offers Independent Living, Assisting Living, Memory Care and Hospice. Hospice is our most recent service line and we recently received our official certification from the state of Wisconsin and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)! We are also excited about our current expansion project at our Birchrock Castle location.

Kris states, “30 years in business is a monumental achievement. Only about half of small businesses survive pass five years, and only about one in three small businesses get to the 10-year mark. We are so thankful for our employees, residents and their families who’ve made this possible.”

Kevin adds, “The senior living business is a tough one, but one that comes with many wonderful moments – especially when you have a passion for it like we do. Our employees are amazing. These last couple of years with COVID-19 have not been easy for anyone. We’re glad that we have such a strong team, but are also always looking for other great people to add to the team.”

Castle Senior Living is proud of the past 30 years and looks forward to many more as we strive to continue to provide the most satisfying living experience for the residents we serve.

Birchrock Expansion

Birchrock Castle Expansion

By Senior Living

We are very excited to announce that we are expanding Birchrock Castle in Mukwonago. This hidden gem has been providing outstanding care to seniors for over 20 years. The longevity and quality of our staff have been the key to success in helping provide outstanding services. Now, with the new addition and remodel, we can provide new services and amenities to the community.

Exceptional Services

  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Care
  • Advanced Care

Modern Amenities:

  • Choose from an array of private studios, efficiency apartments, one- bedroom apartments or deluxe one-bedroom apartments.
  • Upgraded rooms include: private patio, private full-bath, in-unit kitchen, double closet, cable TV, individual heat/AC.
  • Common areas include: fireplace, TV lounge, library, salon, coffee/juice bar, outdoor patio spaces.
  • Memory Care includes: outdoor courtyard, interior circle “racetrack” walking hallways, secure environment, large windows overlooking a nature preserve

2021: Year in Review

By Senior Living

It is hard to believe that we have seen another year come and go in the midst of a pandemic. With so much growth, the team at Castle Senior Living wants to take a moment to share with our residents, families, friends and care partners a bit about our year in review and what we hope to accomplish in the coming new year.


It goes without saying, COVID-19 continues to bring about new and challenging experiences for everyone. It is surreal to think that in a few short months, we will be reaching the two-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this time, Castle Senior Living has led the charge against COVID-19 with top-tier infection control practices, vaccination support, staff retention programs, and a leadership team with the tenacity to protect our residents and staff, while simultaneously adapting to the ever-evolving challenges presented by this pandemic.

We enter 2022 with a new tool to support our communities and the Greater Milwaukee/Waukesha County areas in this area. Castle Senior Living has partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and our local health departments to operate as a community outbreak testing resource for COVID-19. This enables us not only to conduct PCR testing for our own senior living environments, but also for other local organizations in need of outbreak testing resources. For more information on COVID-19 testing opportunities through Castle Senior Living, please feel free to reach out to


At the beginning of 2021, Castle Senior Living was excited to announce that the foundation was being built for a Medicare-Certified home health hospice program as a part of the Castle Senior Living line of services. This was no small undertaking by any means. Our hospice team, led by Yvonne Ward, APSW, ACHP-SW, has worked tirelessly since August of 2020 to bring this program to fruition. In July of 2021 we accepted our first patient under our provisional license and began preparation for accreditation. As of December 15, 2021, our hospice program has completed its accreditation survey and is awaiting final certification by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The introduction of hospice services into our portfolio significantly expands our continuum of care at Castle Senior Living. With the ability to oversee and manage this independently, should a resident or loved one elect to use our services, we can streamline communication between the hospice and community clinicians, thus providing more effective, efficient, and engaged care to our residents and families. Furthermore, offering hospice services allows us to reach and support local individuals wherever they call home.

Birchrock Castle Community Expansion

Anytime an organization grows, it must be for a purpose. At Castle Senior Living, our purpose is always to better serve our residents, loved ones, and staff. In November of 2021, the plans for an expansion at the Birchrock Castle Community in Mukwonago were finalized, and construction of an additional 20 suites next to the existing Assisted Living community broke ground. This project is scheduled for completion within the next 6-7 months and encompasses multiple updates to the existing assisted living and independent living communities.

At the completion of this project, we will see a restructuring of services offered at the Birchrock Castle Community and a renewed purpose for the 17-acre site. Our independent living community, known as the Birchrock Apartments, will offer refreshed and vibrant amenities. The existing Birchrock Castle will be upgraded to create a safer environment for our “A Smile to Remember” Memory Care program. The new construction will boast beautiful views of nature, spacious studio and 1-bedroom apartments, and will feature inviting communal areas, designed to bring people together.

Castle Senior Living Training Academy

One of the key differentiators within Castle Senior Living is our staff and their longevity. This starts with supportive training and continuing education that sets our team up for success. The result of an investment in training is better staff retention and quality care for our residents. Through the collaboration of our internal team of healthcare experts, including nurses, social workers, dementia care practitioners, and human resources specialists, we completely redesigned our orientation and continuing education program at the start of 2021. In May of 2021, we introduced Samantha Brenner-Carr, EMT-B, an experienced clinical partner and CBRF leader, as our Lead Instructor for the Training Academy.

This is where things got fun, and FAST! In just a few short months, we not only had our redesigned internal training program, but also began offering CBRF, Dementia Care, and Basic Life Support training to individuals outside our organization. This is such an awesome service to be able to provide to our own staff, other healthcare professionals, and the community at large. We know we are making a difference by enhancing clinical skillsets in healthcare settings throughout our community and offering life-saving skills to the general public.

As we move forward into 2022, we will continue to offer opportunities for learning and growth and plan to develop a Wisconsin State Certified CNA training program.

A Message of Gratitude

As a home grown, family-owned healthcare organization, we recognize that our accomplishments in 2021 and plans for the future would be nothing without the love and support of others. This starts with our residents, patients, and their loved ones. With the trust that is placed in us to provide care and support for all we serve, we are given the opportunity to demonstrate our passion as health care professionals. A final thank you goes to the staff of Castle Senior Living. It is with their combined years of education, experience and expertise, that we are stronger than ever and are moving into the new year full steam ahead!

Everything comes back to our Mission: To provide compassionate care to seniors in a home-like environment that encourages independence and focuses on improving physical and emotional well-being.

Wishing you and yours the warmest of holiday seasons,

The Team at Castle Senior Living

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

By Senior Living

This November, we join many others across the nation in building awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia and a leading cause of death among older adults in the U.S. It is a degenerative brain disease that attacks every part of our functioning, manifesting in both cognitive and physiological symptoms. President Ronald Reagan – himself later a victim of the disease – signed a proclamation declaring November Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in 1986.

Castle Senior Living is proud to offer top tier care and support to those who are living with Alzheimer’s Disease through our “A Smile to Remember” memory care program. In addition to supporting our residents, we also extend our support their families and friends who are on this journey with them. Our Dementia Care Practitioner and team of clinical experts designed our memory care program and educational offerings to transform the way people think about Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.

Awareness is the first step in changing peoples’ outlook of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, which is why Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is so important.

Looking for ways to get involved or learn more? Here are some resources to get you started!


The 3 Biggest Advantages of Senior Living Communities

By Senior Living

Castle Senior Living Owner and Vice President, Kris Kiefer, was recently featured on Keil Financial Partners’ podcast “Retirement Revealed with Jeremy Keil.” While on the show Kris discusses “The 3 Biggest Advantages of Senior Living Communities” and how different types of communities fall on the continuum of care.

They also discuss how to find the best facility within your community, tips to take better care of your loved ones, and what senior living looks like post COVID-19.

Kris discusses:

  • What Medicare does (and does not) cover when it comes to senior living
  • The 3 C’s you must keep in mind when touring potential long-term care facilities
  • How community living instantly rekindles your social life
  • Why moving to care facilities can often be much safer than in-home care
  • Educational resources to help you become better at taking care of your loved ones
  • And more

Listen to the full podcast!

Staying Connected with your Loved One in an Assisted Living Community

By Senior Living

Staying connected with your loved one who lives in an assisted living community can sometimes feel like a daunting task. As much as you’d like to always be there, busy lives, distance and other factors often prevent families and friends from spending as much time together. The COVID-19 pandemic threw another big curve ball when it started preventing and restricting in-person visitation. With the dynamics of our everyday life changing so much recently, it is important to have different ways to stay in touch and check in with one another.

There are so many ways to show your loved ones they are on your mind. Here are some of the most successful strategies we use at our Castle Senior Living communities:

Schedule Regular In-Person Visits: If you’re lucky enough to live nearby, a weekly or biweekly visit is a great way to check in and spend time together. These could be Sunday dinners or maybe a game night. Most communities have a recreational area where a family can gather together for some sort of activity. If you live a little further away, perhaps it is monthly visit instead. No matter what, it is important to have it scheduled and be a regular occurrence.

Whether it’s due to distance or restrictions on in-person visitation, remember virtual visits are always an option. Having these scheduled visits on a calendar gives your loved one (and you) something to look forward to. This provides comfort on days when you miss one another and helps add structure to a resident’s life.

Virtual Visits: Ever since COVID-19 began to make an impact, most of us were forced to become familiar with virtual visits. The good news is that the technology is there to make this so much easier. Whether you use Zoom, Facetime or something else, you can interact with real-time communication even if you are 1,000 miles apart.

Treat virtual visits like in-person visits and schedule them. Choose a platform that most are comfortable with or perhaps the community already has in place for virtual visits. Staff and caretakers can even help out if needed. While you can’t hug through Zoom, seeing faces and hearing voices help keep everyone feel more connected.

Photo Sharing Apps: Google Photos or Flickr are good ways for your loved one to feel like they aren’t missing out, especially if they can’t attend certain events due to health reasons. It is so special to our loved ones for them to still be able to “see” their grandkids’ soccer games and dance recitals. These apps can be paired with a frame/stand and then the photos will automatically appear when different family members upload photos to the app.

Care Packages: Who doesn’t love to receive a package? You can always drop off a care package at the community or send it via the mail. This helps ensure that your loved one has all the essentials including their favorite music, favorite snacks, puzzles, books, etc.

Call Them More Often: You can always call more often. The calls don’t have to be long, but frequent phone conversations will remind them that you are thinking of them. Simply chatting about what your dog did that day or a new book you’re enjoying helps connect them with your everyday life. It also presents your loved one the opportunity to fill you in on their daily activities and life in their community.

Interact on Social Media: This one may seem odd, but we promise you, many seniors use social media with ease and often post photos of their family and even memes. Facebook is particularly popular, with 41% of seniors aged 65 and older using the platform. Whatever the social media platform is, it is a great way for your loved ones to see photos of family events, see grandkids reach milestones or just have some fun conversations.

Write a letter: This is an oldie, but a goodie! Everyone likes to receive a letter or a note in the mail – there is just something more authentic to it. Writing letters can be a great way to stay connected, especially if your loved one is not comfortable with technology. Taking the time to write a letter will be sure to make them smile.

One of the more difficult things about having a loved one in a senior living community is that you might not spend as much time with them as you’d like. Keeping in touch is important because it helps to prevent depression and loneliness and reminds them that you care and think about them. It doesn’t matter what form (or combination) of communication you select, your loved one will appreciate it and it will surely make their day brighter.