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?
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.