Seven Problems Older Preppers Face

The older I get the more I see problems that older preppers face. Since prepping hit the mainstream back in 2008-09, we all have a good 8-9 years under our belts. My own kids were just 8 and 6 when my wife and I started prepping, and now our oldest is making college plans. Time flies.

I know you all plan to be that rare exception that is still able to walk long distances in your 90’s and not taking any medication. If that happens, then good for you! You were blessed with some amazing genes. Unfortunately, that will likely not be the case for most people, even the most devout prepper. Most of us end up facing some type of serious limiting medical problems. Many are dependent on medications, have mobility problems or cognitive problems, even after living a healthy lifestyle for decades. You may be the rare exception but you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

So what are some of the problems older preppers face?

  1. Medications — this is a big one. Extra prescription medications are hard to get already. I know people who are on medication that keeps them alive. Without those drugs, they would be dead within a few days. Here are some ideas that may help you stock up on important medications.  15 Over the Counter Medications Preppers need to Stock
problems that older preppers face
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  1. Mobility — While I have not had any mobility problems yet, it seems like many of the people around me are. Last year we discovered that my fairly young wife had degenerative arthritis in her hip joint and required a total hip replacement. Suddenly, she was having to use a walker to get around the house, and I realized the importance of having access to things like walkers, crutches, canes, and wheelchairs. They are often in garage sales, very cheap, and can be stored in the attic or an outbuilding as they don’t necessarily need to be protected from the elements.
  2. Cognitive Challenges — Aging results in normal changes in cognition. Three specific changes occur: reduced processing speed, greater tendency to be distracted and reduced capacity to process and remember new information (working memory). Many of us have seen this happen with grandparents and older parents. You may have to write notes to remind them of things and just, in general, be more patient.
  3. Visual Challenges — Many older adults have problems with vision. About 2/3 of adults with vision problems are older than 65. Make sure you keep your eyeglasses up to date and have extra pairs. You have cataracts, get them fixed at your first opportunity as the surgery will be covered by insurance and Medicare. My wife depends on reading glasses and she has stocked up on at least a dozen extra pairs.
  4. Hearing Challenges – Hearing loss is common in older adults, affecting 1 in 3 people older than 60 and half of those older than 85. This is a hard one to prepare for, long-term, as hearing aids will be useless without batteries. By all means, stock up on as many batteries as you can and store them in their original packaging at room temperature. When you communicate with hard of hearing people, face them directly when talking to them. Speak loudly and clearly. I have hearing problems, and if someone is not facing me, it is much harder to understand them.
  5. Bed supplies “ You may need oversize diapers, rubber sheets, bedpans, and porta potties to assist someone who is unable to make bathroom trips on their own. This would be a good time to stock up on hospital quality cleaning supplies, like these handy wipes and nitrile gloves.
  6. Over the counter medications “ Here is a list of 15 Over the Counter Medications Preppers need to Stock. This is a list that everyone should have regardless of your age.
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Our partner site, The Survival Mom, has an excellent article with more suggestions for preparing for old age as preppers or for caring for aging loved ones. You can read that article at this link.

The problems that older preppers face can be quite serious. For instance, what do you do with your parents who are in a nursing home and require 24-hour care? Homecare nursing is something to learn and prepare for. These are decisions that are best made ahead of time. You may even consider asking them what they would want you to do.

Remember you can’t stock everything for every contingency, just do the best you can, but plan ahead, if not for yourself then for aging parents and other loved ones.

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22 thoughts on “Seven Problems Older Preppers Face”

  1. The bottom line is there will be no older people left within a few weeks after the collapse. Nothing will change that, it is engraved in stone. Few of the young, none of the old will be alive withing ninety days post teotwawki. Thanks for the article

    1. Tough as nails

      Don’t be so sure, some of us are tough as nails and have survived wars and disasters. A lot of the young are the ones I question, they will give up and die. Have you ever been in combat?

    2. Taxedn: Gotto agree, many will starve and/or be without life saving drugs (heart meds, insulin, or Thyroid meds). If things are bad enough (lack of food) few will be alive in three month. Probably best not to be alive for some.

  2. Thoughtful article, well written. I’m 70, haven’t seen a doc in over 20 yrs & take no meds but OTC allergy. I do, however, need to lose weight. This is a big hindrance in walking very far. Darn! It’s harder to lose as you age, but you’ve inspired me.

  3. We had a severe ice storm here in 2012 with downed power lines, 25 degree temps, and no power. My mom was in a dementia care center and we went to check on her. There was hardly any staff there, one caregiver just kind of moved in with her family and while that was great, she had little children and it was rather chaotic. They were passing out thin cotton blankets for their bedrooms with no power, there was a little power in the hallways. My mother was panicked and scared. There was no way with dementia she could go into a dark apartment that was cold. We brought her to our house and moved her into the living room. It was warm with our wood stove and we cooked and kept her comfortable. It was a bit of stress however. I had grabbed some waterproof pads and put down on the sofa, we had her sleep there. She was incontinent at night and would wake up and start walking around. I would get up and try to get her back to bed and it frighted her. The whole thing was just hard. Sheets couldn’t be washed so I simply gathered them and put them in a plastic bag and used wipes on her. It really would be difficult it went for a long time. We had several days of this. Dementia care is comfort care. They aren’t comfortable often in these situations and then you end up with behavior problems and fried nerves.

  4. I agree with tough as nails. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE OLD PEOPLE! Boot camp in the USMC ingrained something that most people never see. It’s worked well for me throughout life and I would expect it would come in handy in a SHTF situation.

  5. I have always had to take care of myself or figure out how to get help. So, I won’t be dying off if disaster hits. I will be 70 on September 11. I don’t have dementia, can hear as well as I have been able to hear for the last 25 years, just have to see your mouth to hear…lol. Oh, hopefully the fact I won the senior county spelling bee just a few weeks ago means I still have some cognitive ability and memory left.

    My mobility problems can be fixed with back surgery and repair of torn meniscus in both knees. I don’t think I am particularly “tough” at all. However, tenacity helps me. And, I do not have arthritis! Right now, I cannot walk further than to the car or chicken pen without paying for it for three days.

    I don’t have to have any medication except the pill for gerd. Well, there are the allergy meds and inhalers…lol. But, otc meds can keep me from being miserable. I rarely use an inhaler.

    You don’t know what I have had to endure so far in my life, so don’t count on me being dead unless you shoot me. since I have no guns, you win.

    The last cataract will come out next month.

  6. wow, just wow on some of the comments. so if your not ‘young and fit’ the older ones are expected to roll over and die….
    the ‘older ones’ just might be the ones who will save your azzes with their skill, knowledge and wisdom when SHTF.

    people and preppers alike complain and bemoan how much has been lost because so many discounted the elders and didn’t/wouldn’t listen. when the young didn’t take the time to listen and learn.

  7. Well, I hope none of my family decide I need to be ‘put down’ as someone suggested. I have RA and can’t move well, can’t walk much, but give me a nice foxhole and I’ll cover your retreat. If I have a chance to go with, I’ve been a nurse for 30 years and could probably help a bit. I’ve also been studying herbal medicine and working on indoor gardening, so that should be a help. I can’t grill worth crap, tho, so I don’t know who’ll do the cooking! Lol!

  8. Are all people expecting this to happen after 20th Jan 2017 when Donald Trump takes over. Will he cause these dire circumstances.
    will it just be the US or more western countries as well?

    1. Since he’s not a politician and doesn’t have a record of voting either way on things, including war and the use of drone warfare, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. But, with a bit of sarcasm, you’d better be ready to bug out the moment he’s sworn into office. SMH

  9. My husband and I are in our 60s. Been prepping for years. All of our close family and closer friends know that in a shtf scenario we will be hunkering down in place. They know where we live and if they can get to us, they will be safe, warm and fed. And of course, they are bringing their supplies. Just because we are in our 60s does not mean that we’ll roll over and die. You young people have a point to some extent but, there is a lot to say for staying power, common sense and flexibility. The folks of my generation have these qualities verses millenials who do not!

  10. I think you have all missed the most important point of all about the older people. They have knowledge that a lot of the younger folks don’t have. They know how to garden and preserve their food for a year. They know how to raise livestock and slaughter them when that time comes. I don’t know anyone in their 20’s that can even cut up a whole chicken!

  11. Don’t over-generalize too much. We have to factor in the degree of impairment.

    “Moderate” declines in vision, hearing, mobility, even cognition need not be terminal. But persons anticipating such issues better diligently prepare to compensate.

    If one is totally bed bound, and/or in need of 24 hour care…..lets face it. The prospects are bleak.

    Most doctors will NOT be willing to write scrip for enough serious tranqs or painkillers to enable you to stockpile. But some docs will do more than others. Also, OTCs or herbal remedies often are available for the “next best thing.”

    So let’s be realistic. And prepare seriously for what we can.

  12. Age is an interesting quandary. My wife and I came to the conclusion several years ago that our ages would likely mean that we won’t survive for long in a world WROL (we’re both in our 60s – in fairly decent shape, but definitely feeling the impact of aging). So we’ve changed our objectives: preparing more for short-term disruptions like earthquakes, severe snow storms, short-term supply chain disruption, job loss.

    We still make some long-term preparations, but those are mostly for our adult children and their families.

    So we’re not throwing in the towel. But we are realistic in our emergency preparations.

    1. I’m in a similar frame of mind. Due to lack of resources, health issues, and a sub-optimal location, surviving RWOL will be a lottery. So until I can change those things, I still prepare for the common and known-storms, loss of income, injury, and now, riots. Better than knowing I’ll be standing there with my mouth agape when it happens again. I wish you luck.

  13. With a disabled grandparent having multiple autoimmune illnesses and four young children (including 2 yr old twins who were born prematurely) among our family of 8, we are on a very limited budget but seriously need to have enough electricity to keep reasonably warm/cool (in southeast USA) and for cooking. What do you recommend as a practical plan for solar power to meet our needs? Have a Solar Oven. Gas not available other than propane in our area so electric stove is what we have. We do have 2 fireplaces on propane but if tank runs dry will have to convert to bio fuels.
    Have city water and well water and wonder about hand pump vs solar pump. Is solar cost prohibitive???
    Scripted Medications other than antibiotics will be a problem.
    any suggestions you may offer would be appreciated.

  14. You can sometimes find crutches, walkers, etc. free, using Craigslist and other sites. I did just this last March. Thrift stores are not free but often cheap. I’ve found NEW stuff at thrift stores. I’ve also seen used crutches, commodes, etc. set on the curb as trash. If you’re willing to do some cleaning, you’ll have some free stuff.

    Filling prescriptions before they run out may get you a few extra pills every time. Getting stocked this way is VERY slow, but steady. And don’t throw away prescription meds just because you don’t need them anymore, unless they’ve gone bad-you may be able to trade them later for something you need.

    Oh, and those medical commodes? They are better than the bucket/pool noodle toilet in some ways.

  15. I’m 85, healthy, widowed, and have been a prepper all my life and still run a good-sized veggie garden. Since the current situation looks a lot like the Marxists takeovers of many other countries, including Venezuela (the most recent example) I think this is likely to be a long-term rather than short-term emergency, so learning to live with a lot less is likely to be the best strategy. Talk to your elders about how they did it, while you still can.

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