In the fall of 2015, Scott Rohr’s parents passed away 70 days apart – in the same room and the same bed.
During the final stages of their lives, Scott saw something in the caregivers who provided critical support to his parents. He was moved by how every day they treated them with kindness and love.
It was in those quiet, caring moments that he found a new calling.
“The hospice staff told me it was an honor to serve people in the last leg of their journey,” Scott says. “I thought I would like to do that too.”
After 30 years teaching history at Eagan High School, Scott embarked on his next life’s journey, caring for seniors. For the past two and a half years, Scott has worked as a dietary aid at The Rosemount: Senior Living at Steeple Center, a senior living community in the Twin Cities suburb of Rosemount.
During his job interview, Scott was told to serve the residents in whatever way he could and not be limited by his role within the kitchen and dining room.
Scott, who is 56, wasted no time finding different ways to engage residents. He put on several dances for the residents (fully equipped with lighting and a sound system) and sing-a-longs where he plays his guitar. And his popular “topic talks” on Thursdays allowed him to continue his passion as an educator.
“I teach them about a current issue, and the goal is to go back in their minds to what they remember similarly in their pasts,” Scott says. “It’s fun to see them remember and watch that lightbulb go on.”
Scott has lived in Rosemount since 1969, and his work place is just one mile from where he grew up. In fact, he remembers when the center was being built over the course of a couple years, and he enjoys personal connections with many residents that pre-date his employment there.
“Some of them are my former teachers, parents of my high school classmates, and I went to church with many of them,” Scott says.
Scott’s dedication and generosity towards the residents did not go unnoticed. This past August, he was the 2018 recipient of the Excellence in Customer Service Award from Augustana-Elim Care Service.
When speaking about his award, Scott said it represents the entire staff and the philosophy of providing the best experience possible for all residents.
“Everything we focus on is tied to the resident’s well-being,” Scott says. “The question we always ask is, ‘What we can do to make their lives better and form a community?’”
When speaking about volunteering, Scott says he is a believer that everyone has something to contribute and he emphasizes the rewarding feeling he gets from serving seniors. Scott has seen many moments that he says he will cherish for the rest of his life.
One of those moments came during a resident dance when he witnessed a married couple dance together.
“I remember the man bowing to his wife and asking her for a dance,” Scott says. “To see them in love, dancing like they had done many years ago, was the greatest thing.”
Scott looks forward to wearing his many hats at the Rosemount and continuing to find new ways to engage its residents.
“These people have had a lifetime of experience and knowledge, and it’s important that we tap into that as a society.” Scott says. “They have so much to offer and so much to give and I go to work every day because of it.”
Find out more about The Rosemount: Senior Living at Steeple Center by visiting its website at therosemount.com
Aaron J. Roundtree is a regular contributor to Face Aging MN. If you want to reach him or have any questions, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have your own story to share? We’d love to hear from you.