A 40 Year Legacy of Caring for Pullman Seniors
The Pullman Community Council on Aging (PCCoA) was founded in 1973 with the primary mission of enhancing the quality of life of our community’s seniors.
Since that time the Council has created and coordinated many programs, including Meals on Wheels, Respite Care (1983 – 2000), Caregiver Support Group (20 years), publishing Guide to Senior Services (1999), McQuarrie Fund Foot Care Clinics (2008 - 2015), and Senior Chore Service (2013).
These vital programs have been successful due to the outstanding response, involvement, and financial support of Pullman community organizations, including churches, businesses, professional and service clubs, and MANY individuals. The council is very grateful for this continuing support.
Some of the Council’s initial concerns were * greater use of the Pullman Senior Center, * meals to be delivered to seniors’ homes, * supporting state legislation benefitting the elderly (there were few state-level programs at the time), *advocating for senior housing, included promoting improvements at the local nursing care facility. Care offered was limited to providing meals and basic nursing care to residents who lived three to a room, with no social or rehabilitation programs.
* Helped create
the Whitman County Council on Aging (which
later became Council on Aging and Human Services, a non-profit agency serving
Whitman County) to receive federal and state monies for seniors.
* Started Pullman Meals on Wheels, working first
with the Pullman public school system and the FISH organization. Meal providers have included Pullman
Convalescent Center (aka Palouse Hills Nursing Center, and currently Avalon
Care Center), Whitman Senior Living, and our current provider Bishop Place.
* Helped sponsor
HUD housing for seniors, leading to the dedication of Pioneer Square and Kenwood
Square in 1979. (Kenwood Square later was purchased by Community Action
Center and is currently not limited to senior residents.) Pioneer Square has been managed for many
years by Catholic Charities of the Spokane Diocese.
* Worked with
Kiwanis Club to landscape the grounds at Pullman
Convalescent Center (now called Avalon Care Center).
* Sponsored the
creation of Home Health & Hospice
in Pullman in 1983 (now operated privately as Home Care and Hospice).
* Helped sponsor
the Respite Care program in 1983 (discontinued
in 2000). The opening of assisted care
facilities greatly reduced the need for this type of program. PCCoA continues to support the need for
respite programs, especially for family caregivers.
* Advocated for
a full-time director for the Senior
Center, as well as for dedicated city-owned space for the Center.
* Advocated to bring
a retirement community facility to Pullman, with studies and surveys over an
eight-year period. Ridge Pointe Retirement Community was one of the results of this
committee’s work, as well as movement towards the development of Pullman’s
first assisted living center (Bishop
Place). PCCoA continues to advocate
for the building of a new nursing care facility on Pullman Regional Hospital’s
campus, to replace Avalon Care Center’s aging facility.
* Advocated for
more senior-oriented classes at WSU.
Supported early WSU efforts to provide community service opportunities
to students (1995 - Pullman Volunteer Corp Pipeline). After the initial funding grant for PVC
Pipeline ran out in 1997, PCCoA provided two years of financial support for the
initial Service to Seniors program
through WSU’s Center for Civic
Engagement, made possible by a generous bequest from Ruth Warnke. PCCoA continues as a community partner for
student volunteer placement.
advocated for full-time Senior Center
Coordinator position through City of Pullman.
* At the urging and funding of long-time PCCoA member Ray Scott, created Guide
to Senior Services in 1999, covering social services, residential options,
and health care/pharmacy facilities in Whitman County. Council continues to publish updated
editions, distributed free throughout the community. j&h Printing continues as an
instrumental partner in this project, even donating the initial typesetting
financial support and project management for major remodeling of Senior Center kitchen in 2001, from
which twice-weekly CoA&HS nutrition lunches are prepared.
* With the receipt of a generous bequest from long-time member Agnes
McQuarrie, in 2008 created foot care clinics to offer
regular opportunities and funding support for seniors to receive this vital and
often-neglected aspect of health care. This bequest has also supported on-going
support of senior programs, as well as meeting individual needs.
* After the
existing handicap-accessible ramp on Kamiaken Street was deemed unsafe, PCCoA
funded access improvements to Pioneer
Square between 2008 and 2010. These included the stairway to and handrails
along Kamiaken Street, as well as a wheelchair-accessible path between Pioneer
Square’s parking lot and Paradise Street (named “Swindal Way” in recognition of
Rita Swindal’s tireless efforts for Pioneer Square).
* After the discontinuation of WSU’s Service to Seniors program, an ad-hoc PCCoA committee was formed to find a way to replace and even expand these services. After three years of hard work, the Senior Chore Service was established in January 2013. A part-time coordinator provides consistent administrative support, but the rest is entirely volunteer-driven. Volunteers from both the community and universities serve Pullman’s seniors by providing extra help in whatever ways will allow seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible.