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Rowena: Enriching Lives, One Resident at a Time

enriching lives, Sequoia Living staff member playing cards with resident

“Life is full of ups and downs, but the important thing is that we’re happy with what we’re doing.”
– Rowena Castro- Aragon

Life is a transformative journey that has the power to enrich lives. When challenges arise, remember you have the power to overcome them. In those moments, your strength and resilience are being tested.

A goal can give you a sense of purpose and direction. You might desire to write a book, learn a new skill, or travel abroad. These dreams provide you with something to work toward and look forward to.

Rowena Castro-Aragon’s story is an inspiring example of career evolution and determination in pursuit of better opportunities, demonstrating that with passion and perseverance, dreams do come true. 

The American Dream

For Rowena, leaving the Philippines for America was challenging. She left behind her loving parents and a successful career. Once a manager in a publishing company, Rowena had to start from scratch when she relocated to the United States. Landing her first job in the U.S. was difficult, and adjusting to a new way of life was an even greater challenge. She went from being an accomplished professional to cleaning bathtubs. “I called my dad crying: ‘I’ve never done this work before,'” remembers Rowena.

Despite the challenges that Rowena faced as an emigrant, she did not give up. Instead, she pushed forward and eventually gained a professional role with Charles Schwab in the financial sector for over two decades.

Rowena is incredibly proud of her accomplishments in a male-dominated industry. She recalls attending a regional conference. “I was the only woman in the room,” said Rowena. Fortunately, she found comfort in the wise words of a friend. “Nobody knows your job like you know your job, so you have the edge… and you are the best person for this job,” reassured her friend.

A Calling Leads to Purpose

Upon arriving in America, Rowena moved in with her grandmother and aunt. She observed her grandmother closely, who woke up early every morning to exercise, read, and attend the local senior center. She was different from other Filipino grandparents who were less active and independent.

When Rowena turned 50, she began exploring new career options. A relative suggested she become a caregiver, but Rowena aspired for more than physically caring for older adults. Inspired by her grandmother’s independent lifestyle, Rowena explored the senior living industry. She began a new chapter with a goal to help people maintain their well-being as they age.

After gaining experience at a small senior living community, she set her sights on Sequoia Living. “Working with The Sequoias, the number one retirement community in San Francisco, is an amazing opportunity,” said Rowena. She aced her interview and gained a role as an activities assistant. Her dream of helping seniors became a reality. In this role, she engaged with and added joy to the lives of residents.

Rowena has found her calling in senior living. At the end of 2022, she became a Star Award winner, an award ceremony for staff who model Sequoia Living’s core values of service, integrity, stewardship, teamwork, excellence, and respect. The annual awards are one of the many ways Sequoia Living recognizes employees.

A New Horizon 

Early into 2023, Rowena was promoted to Directory of Life Enrichment. In this new role, she implements programs that impact people’s lives.

“It’s not only playing balloon toss, blackjack, or bingo,” says Rowena. “My job, my goal is to make residents happy.” Rowena learned new skills to care for people with dementia and other cognitive difficulties.

Now in the driver’s seat, she can create unforgettable experiences. Bringing the Lion Dance to the Chinese New Year celebration delighted residents and staff. Rowena is planning more exciting experiential activities for The Sequoias San Francisco residents. 

Life’s a journey, and Rowena reminds us that there are highs and lows. “The important thing is that we’re happy with what we’re doing,” Rowena said. Being part of The Sequoias is a dream come true for her. 

Why Work in Senior Living

If you have a passion for seniors, have just stumbled across the industry, or are looking to pivot your career like Rowena did. You’ll find many benefits to working in senior living. From impacting older adults to gaining priceless knowledge and insight from residents, you’ll quickly feel the fulfillment this industry provides, creating excitement to head to work each day.

Job opportunities in senior living communities can consist of the following:

  • Caregiving
  • Nursing
  • Hospitality 
  • Services
  • Culinary arts
  • Dining services
  • Management
  • Housekeeping
  • Maintenance
  • Marketing
  • Sales 
  • Office support

Working at Sequoia Living is an incredible way to positively impact the lives of hundreds of people every day: the residents, their families, and your coworkers. As Rowena discovered, senior living opens up doors to your future that you may have never considered. 

See your future at Sequoia Living, where you will Never Stop Growing. View current job openings

Suppose you or someone you know is looking for a senior living community where team members have passion, commitment, and longevity. In that case, we invite you to visit a Sequoia Living retirement community.  Like many of her co-workers, Rowena is driven by a common purpose – enriching lives.