The beautiful Palouse heartland, home to a large part of America’s grain growers, attracts many of America’s mature citizens because of its rural atmosphere and affordable living. Although Pullman and Moscow, two of the area’s central towns, do cater in a large part to the students of the two universities, there are also many opportunities for the area’s older residents to explore the region and get involved in social life.
For seniors seeking local activities and community involvement in or near the Pullman-Moscow area, a good place to start is the Senior Center, at the following address:
325 SE Paradise St
Pullman, WA 99163
Membership at the Senior Center includes a newsletter listing events, activities, and trips for seniors, some free, some for a small fee, and numerous other benefits, such as volunteer activities for seniors wanting to be involved in the community by giving their time, free exercise classes like gentle aerobics, walking, stretching, etc, and the opportunity to teach or join free classes to learn or impart new skills. Historical tours are offered from time to time, as are overnight excursions, day trips, luncheons, parties, brunches, etc. Seniors can also come to the center to play games, use the computer in the Senior Activity Room, or join the senior band. A final benefit is a parking permit for the spaces near the City Hall, where the Center is located, for members who wish to attend activities at the Center.
Related activities include the meals provided Monday and Friday at noon at the Senior Center by the Council on Aging, a potluck for seniors every second Tuesday of the month, also at noon, birthday parties open to all with live piano music by Lloyd Carstens. For both of the latter events, seniors should bring a potluck dish to share.
Seniors can also sign up to ride in a van over to the Palouse Empire Mall to shop and walk. Dates vary but are listed regularly in the senior newsletter. Time of day is 11:00am – 3:00pm, and the cost is $2 per person.
Then there is the trading library, a great way for seniors to get fresh reading materials without having to worry about due dates as with a conventional library. Simply bring a book and trade it for the book you’d like to take.
The senior band, called the Silver Tones, is open to all, the only requirement is a desire to make music with others. They meet the first Friday of the month at 10:15am to rehearse, and on the third Friday of each month, they play for the seniors before lunch, at 11:15am.
The cost to become a member of the Senior Center is negligible, at just $10 per year.
For seniors looking specifically for social activities or a fun and colorful way to stay in shape, the area’s square and round dance clubs offer easy lessons at around $2 per lesson. No partner is required for the square dance lessons, and after just a few lessons, participants will be able to dance well enough to attend dances locally in Albion, Moscow, and Pullman. After a few more lessons, or if local dances are getting too slow, many intermediate dancers then head to Spokane for larger, faster dances with up to hundreds of attendees. Many dancers get so involved they travel in RV’s coast-to-coast for square and round dance gatherings, where large numbers of dancers congregate for food, fun, and dancing. The Palouse Promenaders and the Frolickers, the latter named for well-known European folk dance groups of the same name, are the two largest local groups, and their information can be found at the following web addresses:
A fun and involving club for mature women is the Red Hat Ladies’ Society, a nationwide phenomenon that has a thriving chapter in Pullman. Activities include cruises, dinners, historical visits to regional places of interest, and teas.
Moscow and Pullman both host a university, respectively the University of Idaho and Washington State University. Both frequently provide concerts, plays, musicals, etc, which are usually free or steeply discounted for seniors. Transportation to and from these events is available from a number of sources, the best of which are listed below:
Phone: (509) 332-5471
TDD RELAY# (800) 833-6388 (WSTRS), or dial “711.”
Council On Aging Specialized Transit (COAST)
Washington: Local (509)397-2935
Toll Free (800)873-9996
Disability Resource Center
WSU campus-to-campus ridership
The Senior Gazette, at PO Box 3460, Post Falls, ID, 83877, serves a wide area across the Inland Northwest and is an excellent resource for seniors anywhere in the general area. This well-organized and attractive paper offers ads for all sorts of establishments that offer senior discounts and benefits, free want ads, memorials, and personal ads for senior subscribers, health related articles, crosswords, editorials, articles by seniors about seniors, and local news items, as well as ads and advice for caregivers and caregiver service ads for seniors needing help. The cost is reasonable, as well, at $24 per year for 12 issues.
Finally, some general services available to seniors in the Palouse area are provided by the following two organizations:
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Service to Seniors: WSU Student Volunteer Program helping with respite, yard work, house work, chores, transportation and grocery shopping 509-335-7708
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Whitman County Council on Aging & Human Services at 509-397-4305
With the many options available to seniors in the beautiful and culture-rich region, there is no reason any mature resident of the area need feel isolated or cut off from the community. Choose which options best fit your schedule and needs, and start exploring new horizons today!