Doug and Linda Smith could locate The Grand Hills Castle on West Cleveland Avenue in New Berlin long before they ever moved into the place that they now call home.
“We lived three miles from here and used to go by all the time while it was under construction,” recalls Linda. “We didn’t know what it was going to be at the time. I asked my daughter about it and she just happened to live next door to Kevin Kiefer, (President and Owner of Castle Senior Living). Later on, when Doug and I started talking about moving and investigating communities in the area, this seemed like the right place to be.”
Doug, who was diagnosed with polio when he was 14, started becoming weaker about 10 years ago. He has no strength in his legs, so a Hoyer lift moves him from the bed to a wheelchair or recliner.
“His health issues and us both getting older made us realize that we needed more help than what we could handle at home.”
It’s why Doug was the first of them to make the move to The Grand Hills Castle in January of 2019. Linda joined him in May of that year. Since that time, the Smith’s have come to recognize and highly value how the community supports their different needs through “person-centered care”.
“It’s a lot like Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood here,” she says. “The people are friendly and really look out for us. I saw one of the gals in the kitchen go out of her way to help someone having difficulties maneuvering around and got the resident back to their room.”
Soon after COVID-19 began in March of 2020, Linda and Doug safely sheltered in place for two weeks without seeing anyone but staff. One day, a caregiver brought her three skeins of yarn, some crochet hooks and patterns to embroider to help her pass the time. So far, Linda has made a throw blanket for their sofa.
“Doug and I are both big readers and we love crossword puzzles,” says Linda. “A few of the games they play here are similar to Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. We’ll play games on the Wii and put together jigsaw puzzles. Just like at home, we run out of space to lay them out.”
“I like to watch TV,” adds Doug. “Mostly old westerns and comedies. I’ll watch almost anything. I also enjoy country & western music.”
Doug and Linda moved to Milwaukee when they were children. Both of them attended the West Allis School District. Doug graduated from Marquette University with a business degree. He was an accountant at a diesel engine company for 33 years and then a business manager for 10 years at Wisconsin State Fair Park until he retired. Linda worked for Northwestern Mutual until they began a family. They have three daughters, Connie, Paige Marie and Denise, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren with one on the way.
“We’re both proud of what nice people our three daughters became,” Linda says. “They visit us regularly.”
The Smith’s say their accommodations at The Grand Hills Castle suit them well whether it’s just the two of them or for family visits.
“We have an apartment with a patio door. I can walk outside and our car is parked here, available for when I need to drive somewhere. There’s a kitchenette and living room with a washer and dryer. It’s disabled accessible with a walk-in bathroom and shower. We get three meals a day, but I still like to use the stove once in a while. When family comes, it’s available for a gathering.
“The Grand Hills Castle is a nice place to live. I like the people who work here and live here. There’s a variety of people and that’s great.”