Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy. The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.
Many of the same reasons that make the Yakima Valley an ideal location to raise a family create a haven for life in later years. Along with the strong sense of community that comes from living in a smaller town, the Valley delivers the type of first-class healthcare and thriving arts community you’d expect to find in a larger city. Add 300 days of sunshine, year-round recreation and a host of amenities and special services for seniors and you have a rich, fulfilling lifestyle for Yakima’s retirees.
Yakima Valley Senior Centers As in any community, senior centers throughout the Valley create the cornerstone of Yakima’s senior scene. Aside from simply providing a place for older adults to engage with one another and with their communities, senior centers foster independence and provide resources and opportunities for life enrichment. From hosting social events and activities such as dances and potlucks to providing meeting places to share special interests through participation in clubs and groups, local senior centers provide abundant opportunities for community connection. Local senior centers also offer tools for living, such as fitness classes designed specifically to meet the health needs of older adults, classes for computer and other life skills, art and craft classes, health workshops and screenings and other resources. While most senior centers offer similar services, some are equipped to provide a broader range of activities and assistance. The Harman Center, Yakima’s newest addition to senior living, features amenities such as a lounge, classrooms, a computer room, a billiards room, a television room, library and a healthcare suite. In addition to the usual offerings, they offer extensive programming for Valley residents, including a wider range of art classes and a full calendar of club meetings, special activities and outings.
The Grandview Senior Center also offers a particularly well-rounded array of services and leisure activities, including a Senior Club, dances and potlucks. If you don’t find a senior center in your neighborhood, check out local civic and community centers for senior services. For instance, the newly remodeled Selah Civic Center offers senior fitness classes, yoga and ballroom dancing and hosts the Senior Silver Set (509-697-8171), an opportunity for seniors to connect with others. You can also participate in water aerobics through Selah Parks and Recreation. The Harman Center in Yakima — 509-575-6166 Grandview Senior Center — 509-882-9230 Union Gap Senior Center — 509-248-2668 Sunnyside Senior Center — 509-839-4220 Wapato Community Center 509-985-7500 Selah Parks and Recreation — 509-698-7300
Additional Resources Looking beyond the wealth of services provided by Yakima’s senior centers, you can find a range of enrichment activities throughout the Valley. Make the most of Yakima’s climate and outdoor amenities, such as extensive trails for walking, bird watching and photography. Play a round at a local golf course or hit the river for an evening of fly fishing. Join one of Yakima’s many clubs, such as the Quilters Guild, Vintiques car clubs, bridge and dance clubs and prospecting, rockhounding and gardening clubs. Visit Allied Arts for additional art, craft and theater classes and check out the YWCA and the Yakima Athletic Club for more senior fitness classes. Enrich life in the later years with programs that celebrate lifelong learning in many forms. Connect with others who share your interests by enrolling in continuing education and other college courses offered to Yakima’s 60+ population at greatly reduced rates or at no cost. Audit college courses at Central Washington University in Ellensburg (509-963-1111) or at the Deccio Higher Education Center in Yakima (574-6894). Through the Gold Card Program at Yakima Valley Community College, take classes for a minimal fee or participate in community service classes covering a wide range of topics (Grandview Campus, 882-7000 and Yakima Campus, 574-4600).
Yakima’s healthcare organizations also offer a wide range of resources for Yakima’s seniors. In addition to fitness and health education classes, the Third Age program offered by Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital provides a wealth of information through their Third Age Alive newsletter, discounts and special programs such as grown-up driver’s ed. Yakima Regional Cardiac & Medical Center, along with other local healthcare providers, provides Valley residents with Innovaging, A Guide for Seniors. This comprehensive publication offers contact information for local services and resources. In it, find topics related to healthcare, finance, and living life fully in later years
. Among other information, the publication provides listings for clubs and service providers.