A question from a reader prompted me to write about this subject. So often we forget that other age groups besides the 25-45 age range are preppers. One reader posed this question:
“What are we older folks on very limited incomes to do? We can’t afford to go whole-hog on our preps, nor are we able – physically or financially – to have a bug-out location or to outfit our homes with elaborate security-enhancing systems. All I am able to do is add to my stash of food and water a little bit at a time: a few extra cans of food here, a few rolls of toilet paper there, one or two freeze-dried meals and gallons of water a month are about all I can afford. Please help with your advice on the most imperative preps to make now, and then what to add as I can manage it. Thanks so much for your outstanding and inspiring website.”
Firstly, I want applaud this reader for their wherewithal to do what it takes to prepare as much as their finances can allow. We all know how hard it is to make ends meet, and I do not believe that anyone can purchase all preparedness items at once – it’s just too much of an investment at once. Stockpiling food and items for your basic survival needs a little at a time is the first step to getting prepared and the best way stay within your financial budget. I want to encourage this reader to continue on stockpiling a little at a time. Trust me, you will have more than the average, unprepared citizen if you stay on the preparedness course. As for suggesting any further preps, it is difficult to do as I do not know how long you are planning on preparing and what items you have. If you haven’t already purchased these items, consider investing in the following:
- A good water purification system
- Good seasonal clothing
- A good pair of shoes with good tread
- Long-term food sources, such as easy to grow seeds and edible perennials
- Jars and items for canning
I also wanted to mention that you can view the 52-Weeks to Preparedness series to view in-depth prep lists, preparedness advice on a number of different disaster situations.
The “greatest generation” is now at an age where their bodies have weakened and they may not be able to do as much as they are used to. As we age, one of the things we face is that our body just isn’t what it used to be. We may have sustained injuries or wear and tear, we may have a health condition, weakened joints, or we may have simply slowed down. This certainly doesn’t mean that the senior prepper is a burden, or that they shouldn’t even bother prepping. It just means that they need to prep differently.
Joints may ache, knees may creak, and backs may not be as strong as they once were, but by identifying your limitations now, you can take steps to make accommodations for them that will make life much more tolerable in the event of a disaster. Levers and pulleys, wheelbarrows and dolley carts are just a few examples of tools that can make life much easier – remember – work smarter, not harder.
So how can we get older generations or even those with special needs to take special precautions to be better prepared and ready for emergencies? The first step is to be aware of the special circumstances that can affect a senior prepper.
Some seniors have chronic health conditions with special requirements. Medication should be stockpiled for things like high blood pressure, heart conditions, cholesterol issues, or diabetes, to name a few conditions. As well, food supplies should be purchased with dietary limitations in mind. You would not want to rely on high carbohydrate pasta meals for a diabetic or on high sodium MREs for someone with high blood pressure.
A senior prepper, despite potential physical limitations, is far more of an asset to any group than a detriment. People who have lived through the depression know more than a thing or two about stretching food. Our aging population is the key that unlocks the secret knowledge of yesterday that has been all but lost. A woman who learned to sew on a treadle machine, for example, will be the only one in the know if the power goes out long-term. A man who grew up farming without diesel tractors will have the knowledge of how to get those old pieces of non-motorized equipment up and running. The senior prepper comes from a generation who repaired rather than replaced.
If you happen to be a senior citizen who is preparing for the worst, begin now to align yourself with a group – consider reaching out to co-workers, congregation members and extended family. Keep in mind that younger preppers may have the strong back to get things done but you have the knowledge to teach them how to do it!