Summertime and the Living is Easy

Caregiving for a loved one has its ups and downs, but it is definitely easier to get out and about in the summer. With long evenings, and the lure of gardening and golfing, I can easily overextend myself. I try to plan some time alone on my sunny deck where I can do a little painting, journalling, ukulele strumming, or maybe even a nap. Getting outside and enjoying the summer sunshine can be a positive boost to promote better sleep and mental health, while decreasing anxiety and depression.

Here is a list of mobility friendly activities you might want to try out with your care recipient when you need some fresh ideas. Don’t forget to slap on some sunscreen, slip on your favourite sun hat and your sunglasses, and bring along plenty of water.

Cycling Without Age is a wonderful free service that offers safe rides for you and your loved one. They will pick up at a care facility or at your home and you can even request a drive by for ice cream at the Happy Cow.

Tourism Fernie has a great site with lots of info, maps and ideas.

Download the Iconic Fernie app for more guided walking tours and info. 

Take the easy and informative Miner’s Walk in front of City Hall, then cross the street for coffee or lunch at Mugshots or the Fernie Senior Citizens Center. Check out their weekly activities at the front door.

The Bridge Bistro has daily lunch specials and a lovely, shaded deck beside the river. Then go for a stroll on the newly paved path that winds through the Annex Park or any of the other beautiful parks in the city. 

The Mountain Market at Rotary Park on Sundays 10am-2pm and is a great place to have a snack, check out local artisans, and pick up fresh produce. The market is on grass, so it’s harder to push a wheelchair, but is flat and easily walkable. 

Grab a coffee and park behind Eldo’s Independent store to see what birds you can spot at Maiden Lake. Ospreys, mergansers, great blue herons and a variety of ducks frequent the area. 

Or go to the Fernie Dog Park, even if you don’t have a dog! It has a paved path with lots of shady benches to sit and enjoy the puppy parade. 

Check out the local music scene with regular live music at the Park Place Pub, Bramasole, the Fernie Taphouse and the Wednesday Socials downtown.  

If you can’t get outside, take a virtual tour with local host, Sadie Rosgen. She shares highlights and special stories in the This is Fernie series for Tourism Fernie.

Trying to stay out of the sun? 

The Fernie Museum is open daily 11am-4pm and has maps for a guided accessible walking tour. Then cross the street for a coffee or a snack at Rooftop Roasters or Big Bang Bagels

The Fernie Heritage Library offers an air-conditioned space to curl up with a good book, play a board game, or hop onto Wi-Fi. They are open Tues-Sat after 11am. 

Drive out to the Fernie Garden Center to smell the roses and savour the colorful blooms. Then hit the shady deck at the Fernie Brewing Company if a cold beer is appealing. Enjoy a flight of beers to support Cheers for Charity for local non-profits. 

Another air-conditioned place to explore is the Fernie Visitors’ Centre, open daily 9-5. They have maps and brochures, WiFi, and a picnic area outside.

Summer is a time when our senses are alive and can bring back memories. Slow down and enjoy the smell of freshly cut grass, BBQed hotdogs, campfires and toasted marshmallows. Listen to the sound of lawnmowers, kids playing down the street, neighbours talking over the fence, wind chimes and leaves rustling in the breeze. Find a shady spot to sit and admire some of the iconic Fernie views and feel how lucky we are to live in the Elk Valley. 

The Elk Valley Caregiver Support Group meets at CBAL (402 Hwy 3, unit 1A) on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 2pm. (July 24, 2024). No meeting in August.