The Plight of the Senior Prepper

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: August 24, 2021
The Plight of the Senior Prepper

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There are all sorts of prepper’s.  Some are rank beginners and others have been practicing family preparedness for twenty years or more.  Some live in urban areas and some live in the country.  And most assuredly, some are young adults in their twenties and other are in their sixties, seventies and eighties.

Given this widely variable demographic, it stands to reason that some preparedness topics will be more interesting and more useful to one group than to another.  On the other hand, the basic tenets of emergency food, emergency communications, first aid, self-defense and self-sufficiency are universal.  Furthermore, there are no boundaries and no set requirement that a person be interested in each topic equally.

Plight of the Senior Prepper | Backdoor Survival

We are talking about family preparedness here, not rocket science.  And while we are each unique, we are each the same as well.

Which gets me to the topic of today’s article: The Plight of the Aging Prepper.  I have a bit or a rant so please bear with me while I explain.

Senior Preppers Do It All

Being a baby boomer myself (born between 1946 and 1964), I find it a bit offensive to find that many websites refer to “senior” preppers as doddering old people with limited vision to what is happening in this world and limited ability to fend for themselves.

This stereotype is simply is not true.  Many in the over-60 crowd walk 2 to 5 miles daily, work at full-time job, and actively pursue hobbies that require strength and endurance.  Others farm their land and while living on or off grid, chop wood, feed the chickens and milk the goats or cows, day in and day out, rain or shine.  Not only that, most men of that age have served in the military and thus understand and embrace the need for teamwork, discipline and perseverance to get a job done.

References to being an older prepper who may be slow on the draw is just, well, not right and darn disrespectful.

Survival Concerns – Regardless of Age

Regardless of one’s age, the pursuit of survival does come with some concerns.  Some of the major ones are listed below:

Nutrition and diet with limited food sources

Healthcare – both treatment and prevention – when conventional medicine and medical facilities are not available

Money for supplies, services, items for barter and the basics of life

Self-defense using lethal, or non-lethal weapons (or both)

Mobility for the physically disabled and those with hearing and vision challenges

Community and companionship when if it all goes to heck

Learning from Our Parents and Grandparents

The current trend within the survival and prepping community is to look back to the experience of those that lived through the Great Depression.  Well guess what?  Many a senior prepper lived through it, if only as a child.  Now might be a good time to ask these senior preppers how they dealt with these survival concerns.  It is a forest through the trees thing: if you lived through it, you may not recognize the value of that experience to others.

I don’t want to belabor the point so let me just say this:  being old of age does not mean you are weak of mind, weak of body and weak of spirit.  Quite the contrary.  The older prepper has a lot to offer and is stronger than you might think in at least one of these areas if not all three.

The Final Word

It has been a long time since I have written one of my passionate little essays.  Clearly, something set me off and yes, it was another prepper-oriented website.

If I do nothing else today. I want to reinforce that the senior prepper has indeed woken up to what is going on in our country and our world.  They are quite capable of taking care of themselves.

On the other hand look around: there are certain able-bodied twenty and thirty something’s who, at the mention of an election, at the mention of self-reliance and at the mention of making a difference in this world look up from their texting and say “huh?”.

So you see, there are all types of people at all different ages.  We are a community of preppers and we are strong.  Let us drop the stereotype and get on with the business of preparedness.  We will remain strong as long as we stand up tall, young and old together.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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37 Responses to “The Plight of the Senior Prepper”

  1. being 59 now means that i don’t work ‘strong’ anymore. but it does mean that i ‘work’ smarter. so that i don’t have to work as hard!!!

  2. I’ve watched Doomsday Preppers and want to get more involved in prepping in my community, but I’m scheduled for surgery in Febuary! I have bought some food supplies through Frontier Natural Food Coop that are quite good but I’m wanting to get together with some others in my community for the purpose of becoming more self sufficient. Any comment would be appreciated! Thanks Doug Lass

  3. I don’t really consider myself a Sr yet but am 51 YRO. I am very fortunate to have been adopted by my maternal grandparents at age 15. I learned soooo much from them! My grandmother and grandpa were two of the hardest working people I’ve ever seen. frugal yet fun loving. The biggest lesson I learned from my Grandad ( amongst other stuff ) was to suffer in silence and never bitch. On his death bed he confessed to me that he hated his job of 34 years and he NEVER said a word in all those years. Imagine my surprise. My Granny was one of the happiest and outgoing people on earth and one heck of business lady and great cook. I listened to their stories and experiences of survival during the depression and learned a lot.

    One of my most favorite people is an 84 year old business owner who has tremendous knowledge. I cross the street to his business once or twice a week and visit with the old guy. I listen closely and ask lots of questions and always walk away with some tidbit that I store away for future use.

    What ever happened to respect for the elderly?

    Anyway, I can’t do the back breaking work of my past ( carpenter/millwright ) so I hire out a lot of chores around my place and hire out younger healthy folks to do some of the heavier work. I pay them well and try to mentor them in prepping or giving advice which I try to do by saying ” I understand what you’re saying but could I make a suggestion?” This is usually well received.

    It’s a two way street my friends. I like to listen to my older friends and their experiences and that 18 YRO lawn mower kid can teach me new apps on my phone or computer.

    It’s wonderful to be so much more thoughtful and practical than I was at 25!

    Snake Plisken

  4. At 81 I completed an 11,000 mile trip last year from Florida to California, Washington and return. All with my little beagle pal at my side. I am in perfect health but am not sure if I can take the crap big brother is shoving down our throats for another 18 years. Thanks for your hard work. Every little bit helps in this struggle for survival.

  5. Thank you for this post and all the comments. I’m 72, run a small farm with animals. I teach Blacksmithing at our local museum. I’m a 20 year retired Army officer. Prepping is part of my life and I help others develop prepping knowledge. I would recommend looking in the arkives of your local museums. Many of them have sections containing info on how things were done long ago. I found many books on cooking during WW II. Many parts of animals that we would be repulsed by today were shown to be made into delicious meals. Back then you had to use points to buy some food. The idea was to use less points so you would buy lower quality of meat and learn to make it delicious. On the flip side take a course from your local extention office to up date your canning info. many of the old canning procedures could get you into trouble. Keep up the good work.

  6. i will turn 61 in just 6 wks, but my mind says i am still in my 20’s…i can out think & most of the time out work the youngsters at work (LOL). Over the years i learned from my parents( mom is 97 now & her mind is gone),siblings( i am the baby of the family)my parents friends, the farmers who gathered daily outside the gas station in the small town i grew up in to have a coke & trade info with each other, the old folks at church & on the rare visits with aunts & uncles & grandparents( we lived 800 miles apart). I learned how to take care of my home from making repairs myself & advise from the hardware store experts, gardening from mom & dad,cooking & baking from mom & sisters & my years as boys scout leader(yes i even learned how to cook in a dutch oven from the boys). I have tried to pass on my knowledge to my kids, in the hope that they will be able to survive if SHIF happens. I can function in both worlds, the Tech & the off grid… i can use a compass & read a road map or use a GPS…grow my own or buy at a store…yes i am a jack of all trades ….as many of my age are…and hope that youth of today become what we have become…” Hats Off ” to all the seniors…

  7. It makes me feel good to read all these comments from the old toots. A speaker in church this week said she would like to go back to when she was 8 years old. She spoke of all the good things associated with being 8. At 8 “I knew there were things I didn’t know, but I didn’t care.” We are taught to become as little children to get into heaven, so I was about to adopt the “I know there are things I don’t know, but I don’t care” attitude. These comments make me feel better about being old. OK Gaye, keep bringing it on. We all have things to learn.

  8. Coincidentally, those who survived the Great Depression as children (the parents of Baby Boomers) were likely raised on more home-grown fruits and vegetables from gardens. So they ate better; fresh non-GMO’d food. That was also a time when a much larger percentage of Americans were farmers, or lived in small farming communities. I’m 59 now, but if I was young today and wondering what to study after high school, I would pursue farming. Feeding people post-collapse will be much more important than computer programing or designing websites.

  9. At 70, I am happy to read this post. While I have some physical limitations, my mind is quit sharp. Thank you for defending us!

  10. Being a senior prepper myself, I can say that prepping skills have been part of my life before I knew I was a prepper. For years I have canned food, stored food, gardened, practiced my rifle skills, etc. When I try to interest younger people in learning these skills I am scoffed at. Whether there ever comes a time when these things are essential or not, the blessings of being self sufficient are far reaching.

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