With the statistic that our population is tending to consist more and more of older people, it's time to put vanity aside and admit something to ourselves - we are not getting any younger. Despite claims that medical science claims to be enhancing and extending lives, they seem only to be doing one of those things. That means that we have a situation here, where we live longer, draw pension longer, and need more care for longer. We need to break out of that mold.
My spouse and I have both known the health decline, and we've both done something about it. We hope there's no "Stuff Hitting The Fan" (SHTF[Note 1]) or "The End Of The World As We Know It" (TEOTWAWKI[Note 1]) event in our lifetimes, but we intend to be in the group that survives if it ever happens. We've both faced debilitating illnesses and lost some functionality because of them, but we've also regained some health that our doctors were busy telling us we would never regain, by changing our lifestyles. They say that as we age, we'll lose mental acuity and survivability - we say that wisdom and preparedness will overcome youthful enthusiasm every time...
So allow me to present this series of e-books on doing things smarter rather than harder, healthier rather than convenient. (Yes, you read that right - making things easier, but more things to do. Variety is the spice of the PP life.) We've both learned a fair bit about that, and I'm sharing.
We're The People Our Parents Warned Us About - No, We're Our Parents Now, Actually!
The most important thing to realise is that "they" won't fix everything. "They" aren't going to be interested in you or me when there's a rich banker or some famous starlet to rescue. And "they" will for sure not care if a pensioner couple here and there just stop costing "them" a pension or gratuity... We have to be prepared to fend for ourselves, as far and as much as our resources will allow us to. And then be prepared to go farther and more, when an event happens...
One of the first things to go if there is a disaster event, is the availability of regular medical aid. With medical services stretched thin, there just won't really be time to fill out your prescription. If the event is a long one, then you're not likely to be able to refill prescriptions for weeks, maybe months. It's best to be off as many of them as possible, when you understand this, and be on minimal dosages of others where possible. Also, study herbal lore and folklore and alternative medicines. You may find that the iodine in seaweed will work almost as well as the iodine tablets you take for thyroid, or at least allow you to eke your supply out to years rather than months.
Have you thought what might happen if you have temperature-sensitive medications and then the power goes out? For a month? Six months? Everywhere? These are some of the additional problems we need to be mindful of, of having a store of medications we can't do without, and having alternatives for those that we can replace in any other way or fashion.
There's also the issue of just doing general everyday things. We're used to flicking on the light on a dim staircase where a younger person's eyes are still able to see fine. Turning on the a/c instead of jumping in the pool for a cool-off and then finding a shady tree. We'll take the car to go a quarter mile to the shops, and then wonder why we're out of breath climbing the stairs. (And this one I can definitely offer my opinion on, for reasons I'll explain later.)
Working in the garden or doing other jobs, become more taxing as we age. The alternative to either being young again, or else having done it all one's life and thus knowing every shortcut and labour-saving trick, is to have a well-tuned mind and putting it to use solving these kinds of day to day problems. A little ingenuity can go a long way.
And when something unexpected comes along, we're even more at a disadvantage. You need to be able to think, and to think fast, and solve problems. The best way to develop such skills, is to exercise them as often as you can. When you see someone doing something, work through the steps they use, understand why they do the things they do, and then try to devise a more efficient way that you'd use. Imagining these kinds of things lends you mental flexibility, so if something untoward does happen, you'll be able to work it out as you go, and save some hassle and exertion along the way.
Also, use that increased mental acuity to imagine the things that you might face, in your situation, if the lights go out one morning and stay out for several weeks. Imagine what might transpire if a storm or flood takes out everyday life for ten days. What about an earthquake?
Think about the best way to disguise the fact that in a world temporarily and locally gone a bit mad, you have drugs. There are addicts out there that will happily steal your prescription painkillers (and think nothing of injuring, maiming, or killing you in the process) if they have any idea that you have a stock. And if some thief does come for your supplies of whatever, do you have a sacrificial stash as well as your real stash?
The saying used to be that people don't naturally want to kill or be evil. Over the last four decades, that has slowly fallen from the popular viewpoint, and is borne out by statistics of violent crimes. People are bastards, pure and simple. Giving up one's sacrificial stash may ensure one's safety. or it may not. Make no mistake, life and death for the aged is a far more precarious proposition than that of a younger person.
So yes - we're in a far different situation than the preppers who seem to be all the rage these days. And just being aware of it makes our situation that little bit less so. So in this e-book (or blog article if you're reading this online) I'll revisit the above scenarios and add a few more that need serious thought.
To be honest, an older prepper faces a much steeper entry curve to survival in a SHTF event. We're behind the bell curve in fitness and health, our eyesight is generally not so wonderful any more, and let's face it, 200 years ago any one of a dozen geriatric diseases would have already taken us out. Trust me when I say that an event will definitely test us, and continue to test us for as long as that event transpires. Events morph. They change fluidly from one moment to the next. One day, everyone's still civilised and polished, the next, they're so hungry they'd kill you for the bowl of rice on your table. The day after that, they'd kill you for a long pork rump steak out of your leg...
And the issues of currency - not money, but freshest stock first. What's the use of having 50kg of fine white flour if you have to unseal it all at once, two days into the event, and by six weeks there's weevils in it? (Do people even remember flour weevils? They're yet another species we've brought almost to the brink of extinction. Makes you think...)
Generally there's only the two of you at home. You can use maybe a kilo of flour per week, if you have plenty of other sources of nutrition then maybe even just a half kilo a week between you. Caching your goods in month-sized batches makes a lot of sense. That is, wrap individual paper flour bags in plastic and store them, leave pasta in the cellophane packs, wrap those, and cache them.
So the currency issue gets resolved by doing this. If you're prepping properly, then you won't be caching things you don't use in everyday life. So storing it in small quantities makes far better sense. To go back to the example of flour: If you don't use flour, why are you caching it? Do you think that somehow, magically, you'll learn to love flour and use flour and live on flour happily? Probably it would just add to the misery of post-event life.
Store only what you generally use, then there's every chance that as you buy new stock and add it to the cache(s), then all you need to do is take the oldest package and use that rather than buying a new fresh one and using it directly. The stock gets rotated, and you can be sure the cache stays fresh and useable. As to locations, having a dozen caches spread out all over the place is better than having a dozen caches' worth in one location, unless this major cache is in a very secret and well hidden place.
I for one couldn't shinny up a tree, inch out along the branch, and then scramble into the old dead hollow tree every few weeks to get the next few weeks' worth of stores from my cache. I need a solution that keeps the cache(s) close to hand. HIPS[Note 1] is one such answer. By hiding caches in plain sight that makes it easier to access our stores. By splitting into sensible portions, we preserve currency and perhaps ensure a longer usefulness out of our stores.
That also makes certain HIPS problems less devastating. (Okay okay - I couldn't resist the pun... %) Hiding In Plain Sight is one way to conceal your stash - buckets of flour and pasta and rice on the bottom bookshelf behind the end table and reasonably out of sight. HIPS caches make good sense because often they will be overlooked by scavengers, and the cache is generally close to hand for when you need it. For us, the advantages are that our stores are to hand and not physically difficult for us to get to. And by portioning, we reduce the impact that a discovered and raided cache would have on us.
It's a bit devastating if someone does find and raid your HIPS cache. If all of your flour is in one spot, then if someone finds the cache all your flour is gone. If you'd been packaging it in smaller quantities and rotating the stock through the caches to your kitchen, you'd have only lost a month's worth or so. So why use HIPS then, aside from making it easier on ourselves? Well, if someone does find you and turn your location over, they'll find the plain sight stash and probably be satisfied that they got it all. Your better-hidden caches might survive. Plan on this happening, and you'll be ahead of the game.
Now it's time for another observation: An empty nest is still a nest. The chicks may have flown, but it's full of trinkets and memorabilia and things of sentimental value. Don't let it hold you back if your intuition tells you it's time to bug out. You could die holding onto a photograph that meant a lot to you. But you'd be dead. Better to leave those things, not to dig yourself in if your location is a hotspot, and hope you can come back to the treasures later. Make this accommodation with your heart now, before push comes to shove. If it never happens then that's good. But if there is an event, you'll have done all your agonising already and not let sentiment slow you down.
Note 1 -
Acronyms are a big part of the prepper folklore. I use them in this book because I'm lazy, and I want to appear savvy and smart. Also, to prepare you for the jargon you may hear if you ever find another prepper or go to their websites. Here goes...
- SHTF = Stuff Hits The Fan. A SHTF event is one where the manure has hit the fan.
- TEOTWAWKI = The End Of The World As We Know It. Pretty self explanatory.
- OPSEC = a term preppers borrowed from the military and meaning OPerational SECurity. The art of hiding all the little details as well as the big plan. General security of an operation, and for preppers that means their survival plan.
- HIPS = Hiding In Plain Sight. Just what it says. Sometimes, the most blindingly obvious hiding spots are the ones overlooked.
This document is written and published by RO (Ted) Russ and is protected under world copyright. The document is freely available, free to read, and free to distribute, provided you do not alter it in any way, and do not profit in any way from copying and redistributing it. If I find out you're down doing the wrong thing by me, I will do a Liam Neeson on you.
If this document or any of the series was useful to you, entertaining to you, or made you more aware, you can feel free to donate any sum you like at my Paypal using the donation link below or just pay to my Paypal email address firstname.lastname@example.org - all donations cover my work and time on these books for the last seven years, using myself as the guineapig for each and every stage, and all donations will go towards my retirement farm. (Seriously, I am hoping that your response to the series will allow me to retire to my dream farm hidden away in the country. Is that any different to asking for Kickstarter funds or a Kiva loan? And this way, you get useful information, a warm fuzzy feeling, and the fact that I'll keep on writing for you... %)
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This ebook is part of a series which is a complete re-write of The Body Friendly Zen CookBook which I first published in 2007 as an online e-book. This reprint has been made into several smaller sections, or the whole book is also available at the site where you got this as a single e-book.