Prepping for Emergencies as a Senior

Right now, I’m in pretty decent shape. I don’t take any prescription meds. I only wear glasses for reading. I don’t have any chronic health issues and other than tendinitis in my shoulder I don’t have any aches and pains. But here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re under increased risk for an earthquake that might happen anytime between now and the next 50 years.

If the earthquake happens tomorrow, I figure I’ll be fine. I can carry a heavy pack. I can walk anywhere I need to. I have physical strength and don’t rely on medications or other external factors for my general health. But what happens if the earthquake happens 30 years from now? I’ll be an old woman. There’s no way I could realistically carry a heavy bug-out bag very far. I wouldn’t be able to protect myself against physical violence very easily. Does that mean that senior citizens have no options?

No. But it does mean that life post-SHTF will be harder for a senior. It means you might need to rely more on your family and neighbors than you would normally if you had a choice. Here’s what you must do in order to increase your odds.

Keep yourself in as good a shape as you can. Age and genetics will roll over all of us. But if we can keep our weight down and our strength up, that’s going to go a long way toward not being a victim. Take daily walks. Lift weights when you’re at home watching TV.

Get a firearm and know how to use it. Close hand-to-hand combat with a knife or baseball bat or stun gun or whatever other non-lethal methods you might use are not realistic for a senior citizen. Get a gun you are comfortable handling and learn how to use it. If you already have one, great! Keep practicing so your skills stay sharp and keep ammo at home that is accessible.

Stay put rather than bug out. Do whatever you can so that you can stay in your home. This is where your reserves of food and water are crucial.

Join groups and train now while you can. Join a neighborhood watch or preparedness group so that you already have a network of folks in place who will check on you. It’s a lot easier to get involved and prepare BEFORE something happens than after an emergency event and you need help. If you’re still active and able, help your neighbors so they’re willing to help you when the time comes.

Get backups of medicines. Some insurance companies let you refill prescriptions for 3 months in advance. Some don’t. Do what you can.

Don’t stop gardening and canning. You may no longer have space for a garden. If not, you can still go to a farmers market or grocery store and buy produce in season. Take it home and can it. You’ll feel better knowing you have jars of green beans and corn and tomatoes right in the cupboard. If you don’t eat them in a timely manner, give them away as your Christmas gifts or make a meal out of them for your church. Then replace them. If you garden, save your seeds.

Make a plan with your family. You should always do this regardless of where your family members live. Designate one or two people outside of your area that you will communicate with. If you have space in your home or land, have your place be the gathering place if your other family members have to bug out.

Get to know your neighbors. If you have older neighbors who are ex-military (many seniors are) then quietly ask them if they have any plans in place for an emergency situation. You may be surprised that some seniors are already prepped for emergencies. If they’re not already prepped, you may have found an ally and you can begin to get more prepared together.

Remember how you did things before electricity. If you’re a senior, you likely have a wealth of knowledge on how to do things “the old fashioned way.” Planting by the signs? First aid when there’s no doctor available? Any herbs or natural remedies your parents gave you that worked? Write them down in a notebook that you can keep with you. If there’s something you want to remember, write it down. Or look it up online and print it out. Keep it in a binder.

Keep emergency gear on hand that is simple. Everyone needs some emergency gear like a light source and a water filter of some kind. When you choose to invest in these pieces, get stuff that is simple to use and is not heavy. Ease of use is important. For instance, crank flashlight might be an obstacle because they have to be cranked for a long time. A solar charger would be a better option for a senior prepper.

What other tips do you have for a senior prepper? Have you helped out your older family members?