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.”