Personal Best: There’s free fun to be had

Pat Black takes a look at the myriad activities available at no charge to seniors in the North Okanagan

Summer is definitely on the way out, though doing a glorious departure with bright sunny days, cool breezes and just the hint of autumn in the air. However, it is pouring rain as I write this and the blessed stuff means fewer fires and less plant and lawn watering and more water for the valley, a bonus. I don’t know about you but this time of year always evokes feelings that I should be starting new things or finishing old ones, perhaps it is nostalgia for the many years of returning to school at this time that produces these feelings of excitement and anticipation. And we seniors here are so lucky to be able to participate in many activities, no matter our finances or our abilities.

Our two senior centres, the Halina Centre and Schubert Centre, offer programs ranging from card games to line dancing as well as exercise classes and Tai Chi, with bus trips and parties thrown in. You can play card or board games for as little as $1 and you can choose to be busy every day of the week if you wish. Call the Halina Centre at 250-542-2877 and the Schubert Centre at 250-549-4201 for more information

There are many other things to do, just check out the local paper to see all the listings there, which range from medieval clubs to regular discussion and learning groups, a plethora of subjects to suit your interest and increase your health. Costs vary but are usually low and sometimes by donation. Yoga in a Chair is one that is by donation and classes are held on Monday and Friday, 1 p.m. and noon respectively, at People Place for people with disabilities and are especially beneficial for those with breathing problems. There truly is something for everyone, so have a look.

Another great opportunity to get involved in, especially throughout the long cold days of winter, is entirely free and available if you have a computer. It is the fantastic language learning courses available through our library. Did you know that as a library member you can learn a language such as Spanish, French, and German etc. online through their e-language site? Even if you don’t have a computer you can use those at the library to do this. As seniors we need to keep our minds occupied and agile and what better way to do this than to get involved in finally learning a language you have always wanted to be able to speak.

For those of us concerned about seniors’ issues and the many problems that need to be resolved, the Seniors Action Network resumes and the next meeting is Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Schubert Centre. This is an opportunity for seniors to join with many different sectors in this community to discuss and resolve issues important for all of us. For more information, contact the Seniors Bureau at 250-545-8572.

Thanks also to Pat Burnip, social worker at Polson Extended Care, for her offer of that elusive government document “The Voice – Expressing My Wishes for Future Health Care Treatment” which Don Rollins and I have been searching for around Vernon, also to Ruth Edwards of Hospice House who has some copies available, and finally our MLA, Eric Foster, for procuring many copies for the Seniors Information & Resrouce Bureau, where you can pick it up. Working together sure gets it done. Also the North Okanagan Hospice Society is hosting a free session at the Schubert Centre on Oct. 1, entitled, “Advance Care Planning: How to start the difficult conversations that can make life (and death) easier.” More on this in the future.

If you have any comments or questions, call 250-542-7928 or e-mail

Pat Black writes about issues of concern to seniors in the North Okanagan, appearing every other Sunday.