By no stretch of the imagination am I a spring chicken, I am in my seventies and generally in good health. Now I have been prepping for many years, close to fifty. Years ago, I was much more physically fit and thought that bugging out on foot was the way to go. Today I have had to temper a lot of my plans as I have gotten older and wiser. I have become strong believer in the old saying that old age and treachery can overcome youth and skill. Don’t underestimate older preppers.
Sure, we have different problems and many of us are not as mobile as we once were. But we have knowledge that is invaluable. I was raised by parents that survived the depression and WW2. They had a different perspective on many things. They taught us how to reuse things and make do. We won’t go into withdrawals when cell phones and computers are no longer available. We survived in a very different world, we were not protected and coddled like so much of the youth of today.
Now I have had some people ask why I still prep, wouldn’t it just be easier to die, if things get really bad. Well I am not prepared to throw in the towel just yet. I enjoy life and want to see what will happen. But more importantly I want to be around to help my family. Being older, I have resources that they don’t have, which I plan to share with them.
So what is the solution for older preppers?
- Know your limitations, I don’t hear as well as I used too. My eyesight is still pretty good and my mobility is good. However, I have walking sticks, crutches and walker in my storage. The one dollar reading glasses from the Dollar store are handy.
- Most older people are on some kind of medication, so stock up if at all possible. Study alternative medicines and see if you have other options.
- Keep yourself in the best possible shape. Sometimes just losing weight and getting in shape will let you eliminate medications.
- Choose weapons for self-defense wisely. A friend of mine recently had to downsize the caliber of the firearm that they kept for self-defense because of arthritis. With a small caliber, their accuracy and ability to use the weapon improved greatly.
- If you have a bug out or get home bag, make sure that is not too heavy and meets your needs. Trying to carry too much can be a big mistake.
- Share your knowledge with others, work to train your families. Don’t let your knowledge die with you. Teach people the old ways of cooking, without package goods.
Here are some links that may help you.
- Protecting Your Vision and the Need for Glasses
- How much should your backpack weigh?
- Using Man Powered Vehicles can Make it Easier to Bug Out
Remember the old saying that old age and treachery can overcome youth and skill and use your head. Let people underestimate older preppers, on occasion you may want to appear weak, the element of surprise is always good. Just don’t give up.
20 thoughts on “Some Helpful Tips for Older Preppers”
Howard, this is one of the best totally on-target blog posts you’ve ever done. It hits the nail squarely on the head for those of us who are recently retired and who have begun to face reality.
To many of us are in denial and think of what we used to be able to do, but what we can do now. I am 67 years old, in reasonable shape, but a bit heavy. I walk daily and chop wood. My grab & go ruck is currently 14 lbs 5 ounces (no food, but full water). With freeze dried food for 7 days it runs 21+ pounds. My goal was 21 pounds for 7 days, but I will settle for the 10 kilos for the 10 kilometer evac movement goal. Add my Leatherman or Gerber multitool and sturdy fixed blade such as a 5-inch Mora on the belt, a mirrored orienteering compass, compact fishing kit, ferro rod and tinder in pockets, you are ready for most natural and man-made scenarios.
Making a realistic self-assessment of your physical capabilities and developing honest expectations are vital. Involving family, neighbors and community for mutual comfort, welfare, safety and security are also important. Try a weekend overnight or two in the woods close to home to see how that kit is working for you.
Yep, I’m in my sixties and can still do a hard days work of back breaking, bone crushing labor. Recovery time is a different story however as the years have progressed. Seldom do I do two consecutive heavy days work without a day’s break in between. And I plan accordingly for bugging out or whatever else we will face after shft. thanks
We move slower but we can see more not with our old eye’s but with a young heart. Being old and feebly is just an illusion that we use in place of our lost youthful speed and dexterity.And if we can combine this in a group Ureka!
Excellent Post! I know that my husband and I had thought for years, like you, that we needed to bug out if things get bad. But as we’ve gotten older we’ve realized that everything we have stockpiled is here. I’m not inclined to walk away and hand it over to others who haven’t put that much effort into survival. Nor do I think I can carry two weeks or whatever, of supplies (especially water) until I go who knows where. We are, however, pretty crafty. Thanks for putting into words what we had been thinking.
Carol: Most people that have supplies stocked cannot bug out as there is too much to move at short notice. Many cannot because they have no land or relatives int he coutnry near them to go to. We will stand our ground where we are now and go down fighting if necessary. Few retirees are prepared or motivating their families in my area.
Great info! I am rapidly approaching 70 and just starting prepping 10 years ago. I now hunt and eat the “wild weeds” I use to try to eradicate in my flower garden. I am still very active and retired to a mountain heaven with little resemblance to my suburban life. I can still carry 50lb bags of feed for the chickens and horses but, not with the same enthusiasm. I’ve learned to can, make fire and shoot. My daughter and grandson think I’m a little crazy but love my new words of wisdom. So any words of wisdom you can pass on to us old fogies will be greatly appreciated. We may be old but not going down without a fight.
I’m a 72 yr old woman, retired cop and parole officer. So, I have 3 revolvers, speed loaders and a .410/.22 gun. I’ve always thought like a prepper but didn’t really start ‘prepping’ until I recently read an article in Concealed Carry’ magazine called “Are you ready?” That woke me up to EMP, etc. I live about 30 miles from Ferguson MO and understand rioting and burning in the streets, but still found it all hard to believe. But, it made me think. I will definitely ‘hunker down’ as I have a sturdy house on 2 acres and outside of town, relatively secluded. A large creek is nearby, but won’t flood up to my house. So yes, lots of people have educated me and I appreciate them. I’m on Pinerest and collect articles on prepping. I have a large cache of food and water and other necessary items. Am planning to grow medicinal herbs this year along with my regular vegs and fruit. Need to brush off the canning skills and try to grow ” an edible carrot” ,So thanks to all the preppers who are sharing ideas.
Finally an article addressing our generation! I’m 70, take no medicines but move a little slower. My hearing isn’t as good either but I have a yappy little terrier that hears (and reports) everything out of the ordinary. You’re right about using our age as distraction. I can play the ditzy little old lady while the boys are reloading. I’ll fight til I can no longer stand; I’m just too damned mean to lie down & die. Again, great article.
I was a very fit older (60’s) prepper, capable of working all day and coming home and keeping our 3 acre place in good shape. Gardening, preserving, all that good stuff. Hubby’s health prohibited him from doing much. We had to move to a smaller place in a small town to be nearer to our daughter and medical care for the hubby. I still had unbounded energy and started a garden, fruit trees, etc, in our new place.
Then – wham! I got hit with two (!!) cancers! Literally overnight I went to being unable to do anything but keep myself clean and fed. I am so glad we moved to a more manageable place while we were still physically able to make the move. We sure couldn’t now. I had to pretty much ignore the garden from last June until this March. God was so good and the garden produced at least as much as normal.
So I was always relying on my strength and then all of a sudden it was gone! I’m back to doing the garden, but can’t do near as much. The chemo has left me with a non functioning ankle and foot. And probably 1/10th the energy as before! I thought sickness and old age was just for someone else. Now I feel like the old lady – with a limp, a scarf to cover the bald head, and stumbling. I do have the hope of getting back to normal, but that may not happen. I’m not complaining, as many of my friends have not been so fortunate to beat cancer.
Anyways, just trying to say, if you are old (or young) try to set up your life, your place, to be easy care too. Situations can change in a heartbeat.
Janie, I’m so sorry for your troubles & yes, it’s scary how quickly things can turn our world upside down. Thank goodness you have family close. I will be thinking of you & hope things get better.
Thank you for your encouragement. I am turning 72 in a few months. Moved a half a yard of sand day before yesterday, still recovering. I’m fighting everyday to get in the best shape I am able. Just retired from a desk job. My wife and I have been preparing for some years now. I’m walking daily, working the garden, building a shed for my fire wood, going to the range tomorrow. My eye sight is still good in my right eye. I close the left to aim anyway. My wife will be canning figs again soon. I am going to hunker down and hold my ground with God’s help and my neighbors. I believe in the survival of the fittest but good old fashioned mental toughness can trump youthful exuberance.
We old codgers seem to share many of the same qualities. No quitters here, a positive “can do” attitude but tempered with a dose of reality.
I’ll hit 70 by year’s end and until last year was blessed with extraordinary good health and strength. During a 6 month span last year, I underwent 3 major surgeries which took the starch out of me. I’m recovering well and hope to regain my lost strength and stamina in the not too distant future. This ordeal has caused me to rethink my preps and readjust my plans. Bugging out was never my first choice but until now was still an option. I’m in a good, rural, sparsely populated location with plentiful natural resources. I raise some livestock and poultry and keep a decent size vegetable garden. I’m still relying on family and friends for labor I’m not yet able to do. In return I’m sharing my knowledge of primitive skills and survival techniques. I’ve never viewed adversity as debilitating but rather as a challenge to be met head on. That’s how I was raised and how I raised my kids. Hopefully, this new generation adopts that attitude, too.
I’m a fat, out of shape 83 year old on 15 different meds. My wife has MS. I don’t think there is much chance that we could bug out anywhere so if hunkering down in place doesn’t work, we’re screwed. In the hope that we will still have a house standing to hunker down in, I’ve been doing some accumulation of food, trying to make arrangements for water (not so easy, we are not near a source), keeping the firearms oiled and so forth. But at our age and with our medical conditions, I doubt we’d be able to hang on for long. but we do what we can.
I have greatly enjoyed reading others posts here and am gratified to see that so many of us are “mature” and in the same boat, so to speak. Please, some of you do write your own guest posts describing your experiences re prepping in retirement.
Most of the blogs out there are written by younger people whose perception of the world differs from reality. I imagine those who have commented on this thread all have knowledge and lessons learned to share which would benefit our larger group of readers. It is reassuring to know there are so many kindred spirits out there.
Please contribute and carry on. What makes this blog so wonderful is that the comments are as valuable as the original posts which promoted them. How refreshing!!
Hi great article , I am a 72 yr old Lady still working 3days a week and still prepping. I move a mite slower and take more breaks in-between gardening and canning. It is nice to hear others have not given up , we do what we can. I will stand where I am with the Lord’s blessing
I’m a 68 yr old widow of 3-1/2 yrs. I’ve been prepping more since my husband passed. Also purchased a handgun and took lessons, not great yet, but working on it. Have his rifles and shotgun but need to learn how to use them. Been gardening for over 38 yrs with a nice veggie/herb garden. Just planted a blueberry bush and am thinking about getting a dwarf peach tree. Used to have peach trees years ago and they were great. I live in the suburbs of a big city and have been getting supplies in to last at least 6 months for myself and some family who don’t prep. I stay very active and am able to keep my weight at a good level. I’m retired but have a small on-line business sewing baby items, so I’m a good seamstress. I’ll be staying here because there are too many supplies to be able to move, even though I still have my husband’s truck. Guess I’m just optimistic in that I’m hoping our country can turn around.
LB. Well, we’re in our 80’s. Some of our kids think we’re crazy, but I can and we prep in as many ways as possible. We will have to stay home, but maybe the fact that I can sew, quanity cook, take care of chicks, etc, will help keep things going. Those who want to take what we have with violence are a worry, be they “legal” or not. We camped for years with children. Perhaps those skills will be useful. Our world is surely going to H in a handcart.
from a middle ager– bless all you Warriers of Wisdom!
My husband and I are in our 70’s. We started prepping for Y2k and loved the lifestyle. A few years before that, we gave up our professional jobs, moved out of state and brought a farm. We tried scaling down to a coastal town in S.C. While we had many wonderful neighbors, our hearts were not in it. Now, we are living in Ga. on thirteen acres. We have the food thing down with canning, drying, dry canning and growing. We now have a well and the hens are laying. Our next purchase will be a chicken plucker. I am tender hearted, but do enjoy knowing what I am eating. My biggest challenge right now is lonliness. Much more difficult to meet like minded people at our age and form a support group. I don’t want to run around saying “Hi, I am a prepper, know where I can find some others?”. Anyone out there have any ideas on how to meet like minded people without tipping your hand?
I recommend looking for classes and groups that attract people with your same interests. Even MeetUp.com has groups for gardening, homesteading, chickens, beekeeping, etc. There’s no need to tell anyone that you’re a prepper. Just become friends and build up mutual trust.