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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.

Planning for Hospice Care – Visits with Von

By Senior Living, Visits with Von

My loved one may be eligible for Hospice, now what?

Join us for our September session where we will discuss the steps for electing hospice care. The dialogue will start with how to approach a hospice conversation with your friend, family or a loved one. We will then talk about how to find, evaluate and select a provider; what hospice needs to complete enrollment and the admission process.

Date: September 8, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Virtual (via Zoom Meet)

RSVP: (You will be sent a link)

Yvonne Ward APSW, ACHP-SW

Hospice Executive Director

Yvonne Ward joined the Castle Senior Living family in 2020 and is an integral part of our soon-to-be-launched Hospice program. Yvonne (or Von as we like to call her) has over 11 years of professional experience in hospice, social work, and the healthcare industry. She is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker – certified in 2017 from the National Association of Social Workers. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Welfare with a Criminal Justice Certificate and her Master’s in Social Work with a Mental Health emphasis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her goal is to help people with their physical, mental, emotional and healthcare needs by providing resources, support, advocacy and education. Von is so passionate about the individuals and families under her care, that she once arranged for a hospice patient to fulfill a last wish to go skydiving and then proceeded to jump out of the plane with him for support!

2021 Castle Senior Living Golf Outing

By Senior Living

Sold out!


Please join us for the 1st Annual Golf Outing presented by Castle Senior Living! Join us for a fun packed day in support of the Castle Cares Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit charitable organization providing scholarships for high schoolers going into healthcare or anyone furthering their education in healthcare, grants for emergency funds to frontline healthcare workers, and wish celebrations to celebrate seniors throughout our community.

Event Highlights
  • Catered Lunch & Dinner
  • Auction Items
  • Thousands of Dollars in Raffle Prizes
  • Putting Contest
  • 50/50 Raffle
  • Hole Events


Pricing and Golf Options:

    1. Golf Foursome* with Mulligan pack** and hole sponsor*** – $580
    2. Golf Foursome* with Mulligan pack** – $480
    3. Golf Foursome* – $400
    4. Single Golfer with Mulligan pack** and hole sponsor*** – $230
    5. Single Golfer with Mulligan pack** – $130
    6. Single Golfer – $110
    7. Hole Sponsor*** – $100
    8. Dinner only – $40

*When checking out please provide names of foursome in the “notes” section
**Mulligan Package (two mulligans, two raffle tickets, one ticket to the putting contest)
***Hole Sponsorship comes with sign with your name at the hole and opportunity for a rep and table to be present. We will contact you for sign information.

  • Date: Thursday, September 30, 2021
  • Location: New Berlin Hills Golf Course, 13775 W.Graham St., New Berlin, WI 53151
  • Schedule:
    • 8:30am – Check-In and Putting Contest until Shotgun Start
    • 10:00am – Shotgun Start
    • Lunch: Boxed lunch provided while out on the course
    • 4:00pm: Dinner, Raffles, Auction and Prizes!
  • Questions or interested in being a Sponsor/Providing Donations? Please call (262) 977-7781

All proceeds benefit the Castle Cares Foundation

Meet the Team Member: A Q & A with Nicole Kunze

By Senior Living

Nicole Kunze joined the Castle Senior Living team in 2021 as the Hospice Director of Nursing. Nicole received her Associate Degree in Nursing from Gateway Technical College and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Chamberlain University. She has close to 20 years of experience working with the geriatric population, including more than 10 years working in assisted living facilities, and an additional seven years of experience within the hospice setting.

We recently sat down with her to learn more.

What do you enjoy most about being the Hospice Director of Nursing at Castle Senior Living?

I enjoy being a leader where I can nurture a warm and welcoming culture amongst my team. Currently, there are only a few of us, but we are looking forward to expanding our team as our hospice program continues to grow.

I also enjoy my patients and learning more about their lives with each visit. They have such great stories! It is important to me to provide quality end-of-life care for all. I had always dreamed of being a nurse. I spent many days with my grandmother, who worked in a senior living community, and I’d spend time helping the patients and hearing their life stories. I think I was only 8 at the time, but I’d volunteer, help prepare meals, run activities and even bring my grandma’s dog around to visit residents. I really enjoyed it and volunteered there throughout high school.

 You have close to 20 years of experience working with the geriatric population, what told you that this was the right fit for you?

It is hard to put into words. I grew up with it through my grandmother and then as my grandparents aged, I assisted with their care and was with each of them through end of life. I love to see my residents and patients smile and just enjoy taking care of them. It is always a special moment when you can see that memory being brought back to life. It warms the heart. I enjoy serving them and making sure that their needs are met – especially in hospice. They deserve that comfort and peace as they live out the rest of their life.

I sometimes see one of my patients smile or just enjoy life and think to myself, “I hope that’s me some day.” They have such enthusiasm for life and I just love dancing with them at our little get togethers. It is the little things that make it worth it.

 Castle Senior Living provides independent living, assisted living and memory care services and has recently added hospice. Can you tell us more about why you’re excited about this new service offering?

I’m so excited! I was in hospice for about seven years before going into assisted living and I’m so glad to be back in hospice. I truly missed it. My heart belongs here. We have a great team and I’m looking forward to providing continuity of care for our patients.

I’m passionate about serving our terminally ill population and providing quality care during hospice. I see caring for an individual throughout the end of life as a privilege and take great pride in this work. It’s exciting to get this program up and going so that we can provide this service to our Castle Senior Living communities as well as the greater Milwaukee area.

 What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally?

Professionally, I’d say I’m most passionate about caring for others. I’m also always willing to learn and love trying new things. Learning is vital as it ensures that we provide the best care for our patients that is anchored in evidence-based practices.

Personally, I’m passionate about my family. My husband and I have five children with the oldest being 16 and youngest is 8. We enjoy going to the ocean, camping, vacationing and spending time outdoors. One of our favorite vacations was spending a week and a half in Maine, where we could go to the beach and enjoyed hiking the trails at Acadia National Park.

We also enjoy watching movies together. We just watched Black Widow and recently finished up watching all the Marvel movies in chronological order. That took some time!

  Do you have any secret talents?

 I don’t think I have any secret talents – unless multitasking counts? As a mother to five kids, I’ve learned to excel at it. I can hear several conversations happening at the same time and remember what was said. I can be typing a message and be talking on the phone at the same time. Maybe not a secret talent, but certainly a useful one!

Hospice Eligibility Guidelines – Visits with Von

By Senior Living, Visits with Von

When is the right time to navigate toward the hospice route?

In some of our previous discussions we have mentioned that many who have received hospice services have wished they would have enrolled sooner, and that hospice is not a service reserved for just those in their final days or weeks of life. For this upcoming presentation, we will discuss when the right time is for hospice, hospice eligibility, review the process of how someone can learn more about hospice services, and how to determine if you, a loved one, or client may be eligible for this incredible benefit. Join us for our August 11th discussion in which we will be diving into the different eligibility guidelines for hospice.

Download the Flyer

Date: August 11, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Virtual (via Zoom Meet)

RSVP: (You will be sent a link)

Yvonne Ward APSW, ACHP-SW

Hospice Executive Director

Yvonne Ward joined the Castle Senior Living family in 2020 and is an integral part of our soon-to-be-launched Hospice program. Yvonne (or Von as we like to call her) has over 11 years of professional experience in hospice, social work, and the healthcare industry. She is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker – certified in 2017 from the National Association of Social Workers. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Welfare with a Criminal Justice Certificate and her Master’s in Social Work with a Mental Health emphasis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her goal is to help people with their physical, mental, emotional and healthcare needs by providing resources, support, advocacy and education. Von is so passionate about the individuals and families under her care, that she once arranged for a hospice patient to fulfill a last wish to go skydiving and then proceeded to jump out of the plane with him for support!

Senior nutrition is essential for good health and quality of life

By Senior Living

At Castle Senior Living, providing compassionate care in a loving environment includes well-balanced nutrition for our residents’ overall health.

The key to person-centered care is staying aligned with our residents’ changing care needs – and nutritional needs are no exception.  In fact, one of the most common health risks that seniors face is malnutrition. This happens for several reasons:

  • Decreased metabolism
  • Smaller calorie intake
  • Reduced appetite
  • Diminished nutrient absorption
  • Psychological and physiological changes

Below you will find some of the key nutrients our senior population should focus on:

  • Fiber-rich foods like whole grains are key for supporting good heart and digestive health.
  • Protein helps with muscle strength as muscle mass decreases. This is essential for mobility.
  • Vitamin B12 helps with the body’s central nervous system and blood flow – alleviating fatigue, episodes of confusion and more.
  • Vitamin D works with Calcium and Magnesium for strong bones and muscles as they become more fragile with age.
  • Potassium supports several body systems such as the cardiovascular system, nervous system and muscle health.
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids are crucial for brain and heart health. Low levels are known to cause memory loss and decreased immunity for physical and emotional health.

Quality, well-balanced, home-cooked meals for our residents ensure that both their nutritional needs and appetites are satisfied. Contact us today to learn more about the nutritional value we offer in our dining services.