Who knows better than someone who’s been around a while that sometimes life throws curves? Despite this, I’ve seen little about the particular needs of the senior prepper — or thought about it myself, to be honest. We here at 3BY recently got a message from one of our young readers. (Did you know there’s a scout merit badge for preparedness? Pretty neat, huh?) . She’d found a resource she really liked and hoped to share it further than her own grandmother.
I agreed it’s worth the read, and you can find it here if you clicky. It got me to thinking, too; so I wanted to add a few thoughts both from the prepper perspective and bringing in some things I learned helping my own parents.
The med list
The suggestion to have a couple of copies of one’s medication list is certainly a good one. Since many seniors have a fairly complex set of medications, it might be wise to develop that list further, such as saying how much of each is to be taken and special instructions (such as only when a symptom arises, or only with food). The person who the meds are for won’t have to remember it all, and if the person needs help the helper needs to know that stuff too.
And what if some of the meds aren’t available? That’s not necessarily a big problem in the short term; but it would be easier to adjust appropriately if the list also indicated which med was for which purpose. Oftentimes one med is prescribed just to handle side effects of another one, so if one is stopped the other should be too. More thoughts on adjusting meds can be found here
This is more for the personal-level emergencies; but those are after all the most common sort. I hope we’re all carrying enough information that a first responder would know who to contact if we’re incommunicado. I also am a big fan of having both well-thought-out advance directives and, if possible, someone you trust completely that has your medical power of attorney. Both information on the advance directives and who has the power of attorney should be easily on hand.
If you need mobility aids, do you have spares? How are you set for extra hearing aid batteries? Reading glasses? A magnifier for fine work? Dentures or supplies that go with them? Have you thought about how you’d manage if you’ve special needs along that line and have to get out of Dodge and maybe stay in places that aren’t very accessible? These are things that any of us might need, but they’re more commonly required the longer we survive.
If anyone in the home uses oxygen, it’s critical to have a very fast and reliable escape plan suited to your mobility. The high oxygen content in the building … well, let’s just say that throwing extra oxygen on a fire is just about like throwing gasoline on it. We have one woman in town who was on oxygen; her entire home burned to the foundation before the fire trucks could get the three miles out of town to her place. (She had the rapid escape ready, luckily.)
Many seniors don’t drive. Of course they often have friends or family to help them normally — but are these people close enough if travel is very hard or time is very short? I’d be stopping by my neighbor’s across the street if we have an ammonia truck crash or something and need to immediately evacuate; but if I wasn’t a prepper it might not occur to me, and her son is a bit of a drive away. A standing arrangement with a neighbor would make that process much smoother.
If one does have to go to a shelter…
In major disasters right now, sheltering the victims is often done by opening up big centers, like school gyms filled with cots. That’s not fun for anyone, but one thing that seldom gets mentioned is that those places are like trading conventions for germs. People with less robust immune systems might have extra alcohol gel sanitizer and face masks packed. Face masks aren’t great at stopping airborne germs, but they help somewhat and they discourage one from touching one’s face, which is useful.
A heat source that doesn’t go away when the electricity does is an important prep for any of us in cold climes. Cooling we often overlook though. If most of us don’t have AC, it’s just uncomfortable. Senior citizens have a harder time with it though. The last time Paris had a big heat wave (many buildings there don’t have AC since they seldom need it), they had several fatalities, and every one so far as I saw were among the elderly. I’ve got a lovely little battery-operated fan that helps a ton; if you live in a hot climate that might be a worthy investment. I sure am glad to have it during summer nights at The Place, and I get more than a full night out of each battery.
It’s not like prepping is a whole different ballgame for seniors. They’re part of Everybody, so if it’s an ‘everybody should have’ then they should too. They are more likely to have a few of these special considerations, though. I also hope this has got you thinking about what seniors may be in your corner of the world who might need a bit of a hand. If you don’t see the value of helping for its own sake, remember we’re talking about people who often know how to do quite a few things that most of us a couple of decades younger have never learned.