What Unique Challenges Do Older Survivalists Face?
Before WWII, most Americans had practical skills like sewing, gardening, home repair and hunting. However, over the last fifty to one hundred years, society has changed dramatically. Older survivalists have seen this change unfold before their very eyes. Today, many families don’t have the basic skills they would need to help them survive a difficult time.
Older survivalists face the challenge of having less physical energy but more wisdom than their younger counterparts. Their strength is in their experiences – skills they’ve developed over the course of their lives. Unfortunately, growing old means that survival has to change to provide for new circumstances.
Here are six unique challenges older survivalists face and how to overcome them.
1. Depleted Strength
Each individual ages differently. Some people are physically strong and healthy well into their 80s, while others begin to feel the effects of poor health as early as their 50s. Health conditions that affect older survivalists can be hereditary, triggered by their environment or the result of poor life choices. For example, many Americans suffer from poor nutrition or exposure to bad air quality.
Regardless of your age, one of the best ways to prepare for a healthy future is to invest in a healthy present. Consider your diet and whether you’re getting the nutrition you need. You can get away with poor habits when you’re young, but they will catch up to you later. Learn what you can about nutrition and see your choices as investments in a healthy future. This much of your future strength you can control.
Exercise is vital regardless of your age and physical condition. People were made to move and long periods of inactivity are connected to many different health conditions. Exercise helps regulate your blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy and your muscles strong. You can start investing in physical wellness today by following a daily exercise regime.
As you get older, it’s essential to protect yourself from falls. Millions of people aged 65 and older experience a fall every year. After a certain age, falls can break bones and cause irreparable damage. Unfortunately, older survivalists don’t heal as quickly as young ones. This means a fall can be a serious setback in your prepping plans. Eliminate tripping hazards and slow down to avoid falling.
2. Medical Needs
Many individuals also require medical support as they age. Medical intervention can be a result of disease, injury or failing organs. For example, even many young survivalists rely on glasses to see clearly. Older survivalists may also need hearing aids and ambulatory support like canes. Some individuals require medications to regulate diabetes or another serious condition.
Poor health isn’t always the result of bad choices in your youth. Unfortunately, as people grow older, their bodies begin to fail. If you’re an older survivalist, you need to think ahead and ensure you’ll have the support you need as you continue to age. For example, you may want to invest in eyeglasses even if you currently wear contact lenses.
Some people are dependent on medication to function normally. If you’re one of these people, you should take some time to strategize about how to survive a disaster event. You may be able to store excess medicine or make an alternative plan. Start by covering three weeks and then try to plan for three months. At that point, relief will have arrived or it’s probably not coming.
Learning to understand and manage illnesses at home is also a good idea in case you can’t access medicine immediately. Stock up on literature and learn more about how diseases work so you can be ready to care for yourself if necessary. If you rely on an electric device, you should consider installing a generator or solar panel system that could support you during a blackout.
3. Personal Safety
During a serious survival event, it is likely that people will turn on each other. They will be frightened, desperate and unchecked by law enforcement. In these situations, it will be up to you to protect yourself and your family from harm. The preparations you’ve made will help to sustain your family until things settle down and the world becomes safer.
Unfortunately, fear of others drives many preppers to become “lone wolves.” They plan to isolate themselves from the world, stave off intruders and subsist alone until things calm down. For young survivalists, this may work – they have unlimited resources of energy and may be able to protect themselves through an SHTF event. However, doing it alone is never a good idea.
Even young preppers will eventually be overrun. Their future opportunities are also limited to their skill and knowledge set – alone in a bunker, they won’t be able to learn new skills or brainstorm with others to solve problems. Although not everyone can be trusted, the wisest move in a survival situation is to live within a strong community.
For older survivalists, this is even more important. As you age, your strengths shift from physical to mental and spiritual. You have experience and practical knowledge that can benefit younger preppers. In return, they can share their strength and energy with you. As part of a community, you will be much stronger, healthier and able to adapt to whatever situation comes your way.
4. New Perspective
The reasons for being a survivalist change depending on your stage of life. For many young people, prepping is about self-preservation. They want to live long enough to enjoy their lives, get married and have children. They don’t want a disaster event to damage their future and impede their goal to live a happy, full life.
Middle-aged survivalists are prepping to take care of their families. They want to ensure their children are safe, well-fed and equipped to have a good future. This age group tends to have more financial means than younger preppers. They also have more life experience to apply to their survival plans – they’ve had time to build skills and gain experience.
When older people start prepping, their mindset has shifted yet again. Many older survivalists are concerned with protecting their families and leaving a legacy behind them. They want part of themselves to survive any future disaster event and they’re actively working to ensure that happens. As survivalists get older, their focus turns outward and away from themselves.
However, not all older survivalists have generosity in mind. As you get older, it’s easy to become obsessed with prep but forget why you’re taking these measures. If your only goal is to survive but you see death approaching, you may face a crisis of purpose. To avoid this, it’s essential to look outside yourself and plan to help others in a time of crisis.
5. Limited Finances
Not every survivalist starts prepping when they’re young. In fact, many people become concerned over world events and begin preparing for challenging times much later in life. If you didn’t start prepping until later, you might find yourself short on the finances you need to reach your goals as a survivalist.
At this point, there are a few things you can do. Start by stockpiling what you need to survive for at least a few days. If it takes you a while to get there, that’s okay. Slow and steady action will still get you to your goals. After you’ve reached the three-day mark, start prepping for three weeks, then three months. This will take longer, but every item you purchase will help you survive a power outage, food shortage or other difficult event.
If you’re short on cash, it’s essential to integrate preparedness with your daily life. For example, try buying food in bulk instead of going to the grocery store four times a month. You’ll save gas and have excess food that you can store. Make sure to use stored food before it expires and replace items you use. Experiment with starting a garden and try living a day without electricity.
There are so many things you can do to become more prepared with what you already have. For example, you can use Youtube to learn new survival skills and get inspiration for prepping on a budget. Do your best to reduce expenses and think carefully about every purchase you make. Start with items that would be helpful in a number of common situations, like power outages or supply chain issues.
6. Mental Health
Another result of aging can be poor mental health. Again, this depends on each individual. Many people remain sharp and mentally active for the entirety of their lives. However, cognitive function is a physical aspect of your body and it’s normal for that to decline with age like everything else. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to prepare for this.
Start by keeping your finances and personal documents organized. You should have everything written down – good records give you and your loved ones a roadmap for your life. Keeping a journal can also help to keep your brain active, improving your memory and sharpening cognitive functioning. Journaling will also help you stay emotionally stable and healthy.
Many of your thoughts are habits that you’ve built over time. Habitual worrying, anxiety and loneliness can actually degrade your cognitive function. Fortunately, you can retrain your brain by choosing new thoughts and daily habits. Start the day with a peaceful activity like prayer or meditation and stay away from negative and frightening news sources.
Fill your mind with positive, healthy thoughts so you can enjoy every day you are given. Prepping should reduce your anxiety, not increase it. For the sake of your future, it’s essential that you refuse to live in fear. Pay attention to how you feel and avoid content that makes you angry, fearful or overly anxious.
Preparedness Late In Life
Older preppers face many of the same challenges as their younger counterparts. However, these challenges are heightened by the natural progression of age – over time, people’s bodies get weaker, their energy decreases and they may begin to have health problems. Older preppers need to take extra steps to ensure they can thrive through challenging times.
Joining a community is one of the most important things that older survivalists can do. They can share their wisdom with younger generations and benefit from the safety and efficiency that come with numbers. It’s also important for older preppers to remember why they’re prepping, focus on others and live in the present. Prepping is less than worthless if it doesn’t contribute to present wellbeing as well as the future.
Reprinted with permission reThinkSurvival.com