Prepping & Survival

6 Unique Challenges Aging Preppers Face

The world is an uncertain place for everyone these days, and the future can be especially daunting for older folks. Still, everyone must be prepared for disaster and the potentially dangerous moments that could occur in the future of our world. As an aging prepper, you must take stock of your health and limitations and then create a plan to overcome them. Here are some unique challenges aging preppers can expect and ways to start your preparation now so you’re ready for anything.

1. You’ll Need To Think About Health and Medicine More Than Others

Since you already have the prepping mindset, there’s a chance that you may have kept yourself in reasonably good shape over the years. However, the fact remains that as you age, you’re likely to face health problems that you may not have had in your youth. So you must be prepared for the chance of an unexpected health issue springing up. You need to know how to take care of yourself in case there’s a traumatic event and you can’t rely on a visit to the doctor to make you right again.

The first thing you must do is prepare a first aid kit. However, in addition to loading it with what a younger person would pack in the case of an emergency, you also need to consider what you may need in your specific situation as an older adult. We’ve added a comprehensive list at the link here, but at a minimum, you’ll want adhesive tape, alcohol pads, hand sanitizer, and painkillers, to name a few essentials.

If you currently take medications for ailments you’ve dealt with for a long while, you’ll want to get a larger supply so you can add it to your first aid kit. You may also know of a medical issue that is common in your family tree. Research preventative care and ways to fight off that specific sickness or disease, especially if emergency medical care isn’t readily available, so you can be prepared for anything. If there are medications that you can take now to lessen your chance of becoming seriously ill in the future, try to get those and pack them as well.

2. Diet and Nutrition Play an Important Role

As a prepper, you are familiar with the importance of preserving foods to make sure that you get the nutrition that you need. Maintaining a proper diet is even more important as you age, as eating well can help you keep your physical strength and boost your immunity.

Your nutrition can also benefit your mental health.  Eating foods high in folic acid, such as legumes, nuts and dark leafy greens, can not only stave off symptoms of depression, but also assist in the production of red blood cells and ward off anemic-based tiredness. Adding items high in magnesium to your diet — such as fish, whole grains, and even tap water when sourced from certain springs — can alleviate feelings of nausea and muscle tiredness.

Diet and nutrition can also play a major role if you are unable to access your usual medications. In the case of hypertension, hibiscus is a natural remedy that works almost as well to moderate your blood pressure. If you struggle with sleep and have trouble drifting off at night, you may use sleeping pills. Since you’ll want to be awake and alert if disaster strikes, you’ll need your shut-eye, so, consider adding melatonin into your routine, which will help you drift off. It also provides anticancer properties. Many foods are high in melatonin that you can stock up on, including cherries, goji berries, fish, nuts and milk.

3. Pooling Enough Money for an Emergency Can Be Tough

If you’re older and your career is tapering off, or you’re completely retired, then you may not have a lot of expendable income. Although you’ve been prepping all these years, you’ll still need to save some money to buy extra supplies when the time comes.

If you’re not yet retired but getting closer, you’ll be comforted to know there’s still time to save and boost your retirement savings. One of the easiest ways is to increase your contributions if you’re still on the job, which you may be able to do with your 401k plan. Raise your match each paycheck, and the company may match your contribution, so you’re essentially getting free money.

Another way to essentially get free money is to open a high-interest savings account and put your retirement income there. These accounts are FDIC-insured. So as long as the banking institutions are still operating, your money will always be protected. Many savings accounts will even have perks like giving you an extra boost when you add money to the account regularly. Research the best savings products online and find one that offers a reasonable interest rate that’s worth the effort.

You can also be proactive by limiting how much the government can take out of your savings by moving to a state that doesn’t tax your retirement. Many states, including Florida, Nevada, Texas, and Washington, don’t have a state income tax. Because of that, they don’t tax your retirement funds, so you can take out what you have. There are other states, like Florida, Hawaii, and Iowa, that won’t tax your pensions either. Finally, 38 states, including California and Ohio, don’t tax your social security.

There’s a lot of options there, but the point is that you should find a state that will give you the best “bang for your buck” and consider moving there so you can get the most out of your money. In many cases, you must live in the state before you retire to take advantage, so don’t delay. Just remember that you may not be able to take out a loan or use a credit card when disaster eventually strikes, but you know that cash will always be king. 

4. Defending Yourself May Be More Difficult

It isn’t nice to think about, but it’s an unfortunate reality that in the case of a disaster where everyone is panicking and looking to survive, you may be targeted more often due to your age or appearance. People will automatically assume that you’re an easy target, so you will have to learn self-defense.

Look online and find a martial arts class in your community where you can learn a few moves that can help you in a pinch and read reviews so you don’t waste time or money. You may find a martial arts class specifically intended for senior citizens, and the instructors there can teach you according to your strengths and limitations. Several forms of martial arts can be particularly beneficial for seniors, including aikido, which is less about kicking and punching and instead focuses on putting people in locked positions so they can’t hurt you. Wing chun is another great martial art with more open-hand techniques and fewer requiring a closed fist, so it’s easier for folks with arthritis.

Even if you don’t intend to engage in combat, martial arts provide many health benefits that can help you now and in the case of an emergency, including improved mobility, which will be important when you need to get around quickly when necessary. Practicing the arts will also:

  • Enhance your balance;
  • Improve coordination;
  • Provide flexibility;
  • Increase your range of motion;
  • Improve your cardiovascular health and heart rate/

You don’t necessarily need to practice martial arts to protect yourself when you’re older. You can also stay protected and thwart criminals’ attempts by knowing how to fight back in a pinch, such as aiming for the more sensitive parts of an attacker, like the throat, groin, and eyes. If your arms are pinned  and you can’t fight back, try stomping on their feet as hard as possible. Look online for self-defense tactics for seniors, and you’ll pick up a few helpful tips.

5. Firearm Readiness Will Be Tricky

If you have limited mobility, defense with a firearm can be tricky. If you’ve never looked into firearms before, now may be the time, if only so you’re prepared for any scenario. When you want to purchase a firearm but you have limitations, you first need to research and try things out.

You’ll need to research different guns and visit shops to hold different weapons to see how they fit in your arms and determine if they’re too heavy. Wheelchair users may have to find a gun that can be easily concealed when they’re sitting down. You should also consider the effect of recoil.

Look online for weapon preparedness classes for seniors so you can find an instructor who understands your limitations and can provide the specific training you need.

It’s possible that a firearm simply is not going to work in your situation as an aging prepper, so you may have to learn how to use some other more non-traditional weapons. These include stun guns and pepper spray that can give you a chance to escape. Just about anything can be used as a weapon, including the cane you may use daily or the keys you always have in your pocket. Research how to prepare yourself for any situation and you’ll have a better chance of getting through a trial when the world is flipped upside down.

6. Staying Safe on Your Own Is Not as Easy

While a younger person may be able to get along on their own by quickly getting out of danger and finding what they need at a moment’s notice, you may not have that same luxury, especially if you’re less mobile than you used to be.

The solution to this issue is to find a group of like-minded individuals that are also engaged in preparing that you can trust and form an alliance. You and the folks on your team have been around a while, and you’ve amassed a lot of knowledge, so you can really do a lot to protect yourselves when times get tough. Unless you start your own group, you may have to prove to an existing unit what you would bring to the table. Are you an expert on firearms? Maybe you had a stint in the military in the past? Once you’re in the group, start learning survival tips from the others.

If disaster strikes, you should all stick together and remember there’s strength in numbers. If someone with bad intentions were looking to cause trouble, they’d be less likely to mess with a group of people, even if you’re all older.


Yes, you have a lot of unique challenges as an aging prepper, but just because you’re older, it doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself and your family when an unfortunate issue does occur. Take some time to determine what you bring to the table and where you have your limitations and see how they could come into play during a potential disaster. Then, work on them to be ready for anything.

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