WEST ALLIS — “I liked to joke with my residents at my last community that I never knew life began at 80," said West Allis native Nina Birschbach who is the new Shorehaven Campus lifestyles coordinator in Oconomowoc.
Shorehaven is a retirement village that offers seniors the options of living independently and receiving increasing levels of care as they grow older.
"They have taught me so much and I deeply appreciate the generosity of spirit they have modeled for me," Birschbach said of seniors she has served at other facilities for the last 10 years.
She grew up in West Allis and pays tribute to the hardworking city and to her parents for her strong work ethic.
When a field trip took her seniors through West Allis, she always pointed out, "This is my old stomping ground. This is where I got my values."
Loves West Allis
Although she lives elsewhere now she said, "I love West Allis."
She has happy memories of the state fair and of skating when the fair had an outdoor ice rink. Birschbach also remembers West Allis as a city of neighborhoods.
"I could walk to school," she said.
Although she attended Wisconsin Lutheran High School where her father was athletic director and a math teacher, and went on to Carroll University, she was back in West Allis as a student teacher. She taught at West Allis Central and at an elementary school on her way to obtaining a degree in art education
She served as a high school art teacher in Waukesha and taught in the interior design program at the Waukesha County Technical College for many years.
Birschbach then made a career change. She became an activities director for a senior retirement community. That's when she found her true calling, she said.
“I really enjoy enhancing the lives of seniors,” she said. "This new opportunity at Shorehaven allows me to use my creative background, along with the insight and knowledge I’ve gained working with seniors over the past 10 years.” Birschbach and her husband, Mark, have two children, Matt and Kelsie.