Preparing to survive a serious crisis or disaster is sufficiently difficult that it is a challenge for a normal, healthy person, but what about those who are elderly and weakened? How can they prepare to survive a crisis. I was recently faced by this question by my own mother, who lives far enough away from our home, that she can’t practically participate in our survival plans.
The elderly face a huge challenge when it comes to prepping. Their physical limitations make it much harder to do the tasks necessary for survival. However, most of them have considerable knowledge that makes them an invaluable resource for survival. The trick is getting the elderly together with other preppers, so that they can work together.
A Word to the Wise
Let me start with a word to the grey-haired wise ones in our community. I have seen e-mails from some of you, who are looking for help. You’ve probably spent your whole lives helping others and now, when you need the help, you’re wondering where it is. Well, I can relate. I’ve spent the bulk of my life helping others too, and there have been many a time when I was wondering where the help that I needed was going to come from.
The thing is, society has changed since you and I were children. The average person isn’t as concerned with others as they used to be. Children aren’t raised to look out for others, but rather to see what they can get from others. Those who do heroic acts or even acts of kindness aren’t lifted up as heroes to emulate anymore, but rather ridiculed by society. The times we live in are sad ones.
Of course, if you are of the camp that is just looking for a handout, then I can’t help you much. There are way too many people in our society today who are just looking for a handout. They think that if others have and they don’t it’s unfair. Well, nobody ever said that life was fair and all that the government can do in trying to make it fair is to make everyone equally poor.
So, if you are expecting someone to reach out a hand to help you, I hope you already know that person. Otherwise, I’m not sure that help is coming. You can’t even expect it from the prepping community. While the average prepper is a great person, they are concerned about their family, and can’t take on any extra responsibility. As long as they see you as an extra responsibility, they won’t reach out their hand.
But… and again I say but… you can change that. All you need to do is to change their perception of you.
You see, you have grown up in another age; an age where society wasn’t dependent on electronics. When the huge infrastructure that supports us didn’t exist and where people were more independent. Having grown up in that time, you probably know a host of skills that would be highly useful to any community of preppers, if they only knew about you.
If you go to them as the elderly in need of help, they’ll probably say “I’m sorry, but I can’t.” But if you present yourself to them as someone who has skills and knowledge that they need, they will probably be very interested.
Much of modern prepping is about returning to the ways of our ancestors, especially for those who are returning to the idea of homesteading. The skills you know and the way you grew up, is what they are trying to re-create. So by presenting yourself to them as an expert in the skills that they need, you put yourself in the position of being able to work together, helping each other out.
Video first seen on National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO)
Prepare Yourself for the Group
In order to present yourself to the group as an asset, you may have to brush up on your homesteading skills a bit. If it’s been decades since you’ve cooked in a dutch oven or smoked your own sausage, take some time to do it now, rekindling those memories, so that you can talk like the expert you are. You’ll only have one chance to impress a group, so you need to be sure that you know what you’re talking about.
The same would go for any ancient skills that you have. My dad was a blacksmith, a skill that would be valuable to any survival community. I wish I had learned more of it from him. If you have a skill like that, you want to make sure they know it, as that will be like gold.
They say that first impressions are lasting and I think they’re right (whoever “they” are). So it’s important to make a good impression on any group you encounter. That means your physical condition as well. If you look and act like an invalid, then people are naturally going to be leery of you.
They will tend to look at you as a liability, rather than an asset, regardless of what you know. You don’t want to make them think that they are going to have to nurse you constantly, but rather that you can be an asset to the group.
With that in mind, do everything you can to take care of your health. A few years ago, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and who knows what else. I honestly don’t remember.
Yes, I’m old enough that I have to start thinking about those things. So, I had to make a decision and I decided that rather than let my body go to pot, like many people do, I would make the necessary lifestyle changes so that I could keep healthy. Now, four years later, all my readings are normal, through diet and exercise.
If I can do that, you can too. Don’t allow your body to go to pot. It may try to anyway, but don’t help it do so. Put forth the necessary effort to make sure that you are in the best health you can be. You’ll need that to survive, even if you do have the help of a survival group.
Finding Survival Groups
The hard part is finding survival groups that you can try to connect yourself to. Most preppers try to keep their identities and plans secret, in order to protect themselves. That doesn’t mean that they’ll never tell anyone, but few actually let their names out, like the people who you see on Doomsday Preppers.
To start with, look online to see if there is a statewide organization of preppers in your state. Many states have them and they can be located by a simple search. There’s also the American Preppers Network (APN), which has contacts with many of these organizations. They may be able to help you find prepping organizations in your area.
Another way to find preppers is to go to places that they frequent. Try your local shooting range for starters. Many preppers take their shooting seriously; so you might run into them at the range. These probably aren’t the people who just show up, shoot and leave, but the ones who hang out at the range talking. Spend some time there, talk to the people and get to know the owners. You’d be surprised who you might meet.
Another place to find preppers is through retail outlets which sell prepping supplies. If you have a local sporting goods store which sells survival food and equipment, there’s a good chance that the local preppers know about it. Find out which of the salespeople is the expert on that merchandise and talk to them. They might make a very good contact.
You can even find survival food at the big wholesale stores, like Costco and Sam’s Club. If you have a membership to one of those, then go keep an eye on the survival food display sometime. You can be pretty sure that anyone who grabs several buckets worth is someone that you want to talk to.
Start Your Own Survival Community
If you can’t find a survival community to join, then start your own. There’s nothing that says you can’t do that. If you’re the type of person who has helped others all your life, then you probably have a bunch of “adopted” sons and daughters anyway. Well, gather them together and start them on the road to prepping, creating your own survival community out of the people that you know.
Once again, what you’re offering the community is your wisdom and knowledge. If you can learn additional skills which will help the group, then by all means do so. The only old dog you can’t teach new tricks to is the one who doesn’t want to learn.
By starting a group with people you already know, you eliminate the problems of having to sell yourself to the group. You also know that they are people who you can get along with and work with. That’s important in any survival situation, as personalities can cause huge conflicts within any community. Your group doesn’t need that, so as you pick the team members that you are going to allow to join your group, make sure you keep that in mind.
This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.