The term “incomparable” is bandied about the world of retirement communities with many contenders having little to set them apart. Milwaukee’s Eastcastle Place however, is the quintessence of unrivaled senior living, from its spectacular historical dwelling, superb location, vibrant independent living, aquatic and fitness center, and top-rated rehabilitation and health center.
Eastcastle Place is set in Milwaukee’s lively Eastside neighborhood. Its Historic Building was designed in 1892 by renowned Milwaukee architects Henry Koch and Herman Esser. The Victorian Gothic edifice maintains many of its original features including a staircase with Cyril Colnik metalwork and Tiffany memorial stained glass windows. Each of the apartment homes is unique, many with distinctive features including lead glass bookcases, fireplaces and more. Eastcastle Place’s modern building also boasts spacious apartments, beautiful amenities, and upscale finishes.
Dick “Hux” Huxtable, an independent living resident of Eastcastle Place, is well known and much beloved for his long, prestigious career at Nicolet High School in Glendale, where he was a math teacher and a coach of track and field and baseball.
In retirement, Hux has had a brief cameo appearance in the film Major League, published children’s books, worked at Mequon Golf course, taught a math class at UWM and played on a national championship senior baseball league.
Five years ago, Hux and his wife heard a woman talking about not wanting her kids ever to have to take care of her as she aged. “That stuck. We decided that maybe we really should think about moving to a retirement community,” Hux said adding that Eastcastle Place was an easy decision.
As a Life Plan Community, in addition to independent living, Eastcastle offers assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation, and skilled care, all under the same roof. This was very important to Hux in the event that his or his wife’s health needs change.
Furthermore, he said, “The location is great; the people here are wonderful. It’s warm and beautiful and very personal. It’s been a really good move. We’ve loved it. There’s always something to do, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
COMING FULL CIRCLE
Agnes SanFelippo came full circle in a very intentional way. As a charge nurse at Eastcastle Place Health and Rehabilitation Center for 23 years, she knew the care and commitment to the residents’ well-being was top-notch. “We were absolutely the best. We took care of our people. We passed inspections flawlessly. I thought if anything ever happens to me, I want to be taken care of there,” she said.
SanFelippo retired from working at Eastcastle Place in 1996. Approximately two years ago, she moved from her three-bedroom home into her independent living apartment at Eastcastle and has enjoyed the lifestyle and amenities. Recently recovering from an illness, she completed her rehabilitation at Eastcastle Place Rehabilitation and Health Center and gave the therapy program rave reviews. “The staff here is so sweet and giving. They’re always asking if there’s anything else they can do. It’s beautiful. That’s the way it is now, and the way it was when I was working here too,” she said, adding that it was ideal for her to be under the same roof as her friends and neighbors of her independent living apartment.
RECEIVING THE BEST OF CARE
Under less than ideal circumstances, Patricia Spannraft received extraordinary care…twice! Two years ago, the then 73-year old suffered a stroke which left her unable to communicate. After a hospitalization, she was moved to a local rehabilitation center but wasn’t getting any better. “Therapy was critical at that stage in my recovery, and it just wasn’t any good there,” Spannraft recalled. “My daughter said, ‘you can’t stay there!’ She called some friends who highly recommended Eastcastle Place, so she quickly moved me to the Rehabilitation and Health Center there.”
After intensive rehabilitation at Eastcastle Place, the long-time Milwaukee resident said she recovered completely. Consequently, when she recently found herself needing rehabilitation again, there was no doubt that she’d return enthusiastically to Eastcastle Place. “I knew that Eastcastle Place was my best bet for the most complete recovery. There was no question whatsoever in my mind, because of the experience I had before.”
Spannraft said that again, she received outstanding care, “Everything I can possibly say about Eastcastle Place Rehabilitation and Health Center is positive. The care, the people, the therapists, everyone is wonderful. I am so happy with the way that they ‘ve treated me and the care they’ve given me, both times I’ve been here.”
THE BEST IN REHAB AND HEALTHCARE
Lindsey Viegut, who became the administrator at Eastcastle Place Rehabilitation and Health Center earlier this year, said her very first moments on the job confirmed she’d made a great career decision. “Five minutes into my first day, the State walked in for its annual survey,” she said. This can be extremely stressful. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services comes unannounced to observe procedures and care, check compliance to regulations, quality of service, and more. “It’s a snapshot of the entire year lumped into a few days,” Viegut said. “I saw how the team responded. Everyone was calm and responsible. It showed that they were in control and prepared. Every day the team should be survey-ready, and that mindset was already here, ingrained in the system.”
Eastcastle Place Rehabilitation and Health Center subsequently received its third consecutive deficiency-free survey. “This was nice confirmation that I’d made the right decision to come here,” Viegut said. “It’s proof that there’s a strong commitment to consistently providing the best quality of care.”
Viegut’s first months on the job have exceeded her lofty expectations. “I look forward to coming into work every day. The mentality here with the team is that we have the opportunity to improve peoples’ lives here.”
As the story appears in Modern Health and Living Magazine, Milwaukee.