INSPIRING PEOPLE: Rosie Eagle

In all my life, I’ve met maybe ten or twelve people who cheer me up simply by being present – Rosie Eagle is one of them. Rosie is the Activities Director at Bayley, a well-run retirement commuity on Cincinnati’s west side. Rosie is one of its best gifts to residents and their families.

I pass her office on the way to my mother’s room. Even when Rosie is frantically busy, her office crammed with Christmas ornaments or Easter decorations or whatever she is using for the next event – she always stops, smiles and says something upbeat.

She doesn’t just organize terrific parties – Rosie is the life of each party – singing, dancing, hugging people, dragging all the able bodied into conga lines when bands visit. She’s just fun.

I recall walking into Bayley’s foyer once, and hearing a rich, velvety voice singing at full volume. I followed it down the hall and around the corner to the chapel, wondering who the visiting singer was. It was Rosie – in a former life she was trained in opera!

Not only is she fun, but wonderfully empathetic. One of the first times I met her she took my hand and said, “Your family has been through so much.” Her sincerity melted me to tears.

Since the pandemic, Rosie has strategized every way possible to keep families in contact without risking residents’ safety. She commandeered tablets and trained her staff to facilitate zoom calls so residents could see family members, she coordinated outside family visits, she held a drive-by parade where families in decorated cars wound through all the independent living streets and around the nursing home, waving to the residents who sat outside in spaced-apart chairs.

Recently I got a packet in the mail – a fake passport , a post-card from mom, and pictures of her posed in front of exotic destinations. I can’t imagine all the coordination that activity took, but it did make me smile to see my mother in her ubiquitous gray cardigan, sporting a Hawaain lei under a palm tree on a beach!

I knew that my mother would receive good care at Bayley, but I did not know there would be so many delightful activities to enrich her days and lighten her loneliness. Many people work to make this so, but Bayley would simply not be the same without Rosie’s warmth, vitality and spectacular heart.

10 thoughts on “INSPIRING PEOPLE: Rosie Eagle

  1. Rosie’s alter-ego must be the activities director at the nursing home where my dad lived. I wish her name would pop back into my head! Let’s call her Elena. One time as my brother and I arrived for a visit, Elena was getting out of a van with a bunch of helium balloons while another worker was pulling a big sheet cake out of the back. Elena had planned a Very Happy Unbirthday Party. Another time residents were playing balloon volleyball in the atrium–from their wheelchairs. She too was always bubbly and cheerful, always interacting with the residents, always decorating for the next party or undecorating from the one that just occurred. Praise God for people like Rosie and Elena who throw their hearts and souls into creating happiness for others!

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  2. I am in awe of your writing. You are eloquent and delightful. Thank you for the way you wrote about me and my calling to Bayley life. What a way to live; truly live until God calls us home. God bless you and your family; you, Carolyn and Dan are in my heart always.

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  3. This is lovely and so very true. Rosie is the heart of all activities at Bayley. We are so lucky to have a compassionate, high energy, fun person keeping things happening in the absence of family. Thank you Rosie for being you, and thank you Colleen for shining the light on her. This is beautifully written. 🙏❤️

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  4. Rosie is an ABSOLUTE gift to anyone who knows her. She has a heart that is naturally giving and blesses everyone with her beautiful presence. She is always thinking of how to make others happy and never seems to think about her own needs. Oh that voice, she can make you melt with any jazz or musical theater tune or really anything she sings. The world is a better place because of Rosie Eagle💜

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  5. Colleen,
    I am Rosie’s older brother and you have described my talented little sister perfectly! The youngest of 8 children, Rosie found ways to stand out. She has always been a performer and has used her voice to bring joy to our family and countless others. Our Mom, Dorothy worked at the Mount taking care of retired Nuns at Mother Margaret Hall and she loved to sing and make people laugh. Mom and Rosie are kindred spirits who will forever be connected through laughter, song and taking care of others at Bayley Place. I am happy to read your heartfelt message and happy that my baby sister has an extended family to share her talents with every day. God bless your family!

    Liked by 1 person

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