What Will Become Of The Old People

Guest post by Lint Picker

Much has been written about caring for the young in our society during difficult times, but what will become of the old people?

We all know old people. Either we have elderly parents or grandparents or neighbors, or we are the elderly. Have you ever contemplated what you would do for (or to) the elderly in a SHTF scenario or during TEOTWAWKI? I have. Would you abandon them and save yourself? Or would you risk your own wellbeing in order to help them? It’s a tough call and one that should be considered BEFORE things
spiral out of control any further. Here are my thoughts on the elderly during really difficult times.

I have elderly relatives who are not preppers. In fact, they are the opposite – always living for today and ignoring the future. They are totally unaware of the dangers we face in this complex world. My conscience, however, will not allow me to abandon them if there is any way I can help them. Since I am not getting any younger myself, I also contemplate how I will survive as I age. It’s not pleasant to think of these things, but I believe they are important issues to raise and to discuss.

One option, I suppose, would be to painlessly put the elderly out of their misery should things deteriorate quickly. If a horrible pandemic strikes their neighborhood and they catch the disease and there is no way they can recover but only suffer, then perhaps that is a humane choice to make. Maybe a terrorist bomb goes off and blows your elderly loved one’s legs off and you can’t care for them because the terrorists are still planting bombs. So you may think that humanely ending the life of that loved one is your only real option. God forbid these things happen and you have to seriously make such gut-wrenching choices, but bad things happen to good people and you may want to mull over, in advance, if you could or would dispatch your elderly relatives. I am not sure I could.

On the other hand, you could risk your own life and the lives of your family or your neighborhood defense team and try to save the elderly who have become seriously injured or ill. That might be valiant, but hardly practical in some extreme scenarios. Is a severely maimed elderly person worth trying to save? Is a seriously ill and potentially contagious old cantankerous guy worth jeopardizing your own health and safety?

These are questions that civilization has been dealing with for thousands of years and, in fact, this is what makes us “civilized.” Civilization is not based on mere survival, it is based on doing for others when they cannot do for themselves, and making the personal CHOICE to do so.

The key word here is “choice” because when we are forced to do something counter to our own safety and/or health, it is no longer civilization that we are preserving, but rather tyranny. And tyranny is never civilized. Your conscience and your sense of morality should guide you, not the bayonet or the jackboot. Do you have the character to risk your safety for the good of your elderly parents, your old in-laws, or your aged neighbors? I hope so!

This is not to say that every effort must be made to try to rescue the elderly. To be sure, there will be scenarios in which you will have to abandon them. Some situations will arise in which you will have no choice except to leave them to face alone what may be headed their way. These situations will probably be rare, but in truly dire times these scenarios will become manifest. Can you live with yourself if you have to leave your pleading mother at her house, just blocks away, in order to save your own wife and kids? That would be an extremely difficult choice to face.

Thankfully, your mother would probably tell you to leave and save yourself, and in doing so she would ease your conscience. Other elderly loved ones may not be so self-sacrificing. You may have an elderly uncle who insists you drag his broken body out of the house as radiation rains down on you. What will you do then? Can you even determine today would you would at such a time? Maybe not, maybe that’s a wait-and-see predicament.

A well-known nurse on a video sharing website says that the first to die off in a TEOTWAWKI situation will be the old and the young. There is no doubt in my mind that she is absolutely correct. That being said, what can we do today to make things easier on ourselves and the elderly? Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

1) Love the elderly (and everyone else) today, while you can and while they are aware of your love for them. If you give them your time and attention and affection now, they will be much happier and more willing to forgive whatever choice you must make during TEOTWAWKI. They will also be more amenable to any suggestions you want to make for their sake. Yes, sometimes old folks can be demanding of your time and resources, but they deserve your respect and compassion. They are not burdens, they are people in need of help.

2) Prepare now for their failing health and loss of mobility. You can add a handrail to the backdoor or fix that broken step so they don’t trip and become prematurely disabled. You and your elderly loved ones should sit down and discuss things that will make their lives more comfortable, safer, and healthier today – before the SHTF. If they are unwilling to discuss these issues, then perhaps it is time to do these things without their consent, just do it and they will often come around to see you were right.

3) Make copies of their important papers and secure those copies somewhere in your home or in some other safe place. Try to determine who will handle their finances if they become unable to handle them personally. A living will and a trust may be legal instruments worth investigating. A son or daughter able to sign on their elderly relative’s checking account is also worth contemplating so that the bills can be paid if the elderly person is unable to write checks at some point in time.

4) Determine which prescription and over-the-counter drugs are used regularly so you can stock up now or find alternative substitutions. Go with your old person to his/her next doctor’s appointment if at all possible and listen to what the doctor says. This may give you some insight into what is wrong and what it takes to help the person. Sometimes the elderly don’t like to discuss their medical problems with their children, but going along to the doctor’s office could educate you about their problems and help you find solutions if professional medical care becomes unobtainable.

5) If you are elderly or rapidly approaching old age as I am, then you should follow my suggestions in points 1- 4 for yourself. Fix those things that could hinder your mobility. Make your life as simple as possible. Give copies of your important documents to your trusted younger loved one. Inform your family of your medical conditions and which medications you require and any alternatives that are available. And perhaps most importantly, show love and appreciation for those who care about you and whom you care about. It’s never too late to start, so get going!!!

Whatever you do, don’t frighten them with “what if” scenarios. For example, don’t ask your elderly father “what if” the terrorists blew up his house, should you look for him or grab your own wife and kids and head for the safety of a hidey-hole? There is no need to frighten anybody, especially someone who is not fully able to care for himself. Instead, stick to subjects he can relate to, like his health and the upkeep of his home. The purpose is to plan ahead as much as possible, but not to cause panic.

Please share your thoughts, suggestions, concerns, and ideas regarding the elderly? What plans have you made for the elderly in your life during a SHTF or a TEOTWAWKI scenario?


  1. Very well written and thought out. I am in a similar situation. My 91 year old mother is in a nursing home. My wife and I are getting older and less able to do the heavier work or trek long distances. We have looked at many of the things you discussed because they could be realities for us. We can not care for Mom on a daily basis now and definitely could not in a SHTF or worse time. Thanks for the thought provoking entry.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      HAPMan, I have been in your situtation. It’s hard enough to do the right thing for an elderly mom during good times, during bad times it will be a heart-breaker. I remember praying a lot for guidance.

  2. Great post lint! It’s certainly a subject that requires each of us that are preparing for hard times,to do some soul searching and introspectiona as to what we are willing and/ or capable of doing for those that are unwilling, unaware ,or unable ,to make preparations for hard times. I’ve given this alot of thought myself. My neighbor is an elderly women (80) in a state of compromised health. I know that even if she was aware of the looming changes that we face,because of her meager ssi check,she couldn’t do anything about it because her medicine and utilities use up all she gets. On top of that she has a 45 year old free loading son that is of absolutely no help whatsoever to her. I have made up my mind to make sure I have enough to share with her,should the time come. As for her son,it will be a little different than the life he’s been used to. No work=no eat!!! P.s. Don’t be obstreperous ! 😉

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      You are a good man, my friend Brad. Your concern for the well-being of your neighbor is magnanimous. Your humanity is only out-done by your very cool & tidy shop!!!

      As for being obstreperous, I come by it naturally. 🙂

      • heres how my brain read that,,,,,blah blah blah blah COOL AND TIDY SHOP!!!blah blah blah now thats a compliment!!

        • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

          ROFLMAO, now that’s an honest response. bctruck, you funny man.

  3. There’s more to preparing for a SHTF event than simply putting together a Bug-Out-Bag so issues such as presented are well worth while. The article was thought provoking and needed for your readers to consider. The only additions I would make would be some more suggestions regarding including, or supporting the nearby elderly
    family members if your decision was to “shelter in place” in your plans. And, for example, if relocating to a retreat was necessary and the elderly member wouldn’t leave – well, that answers that. But if the elderly person was in a nursing home it could be suggested to check the home’s emergency plan or release policy if we tried to take grandma
    with us.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Hal, your suggestion to check out the policies at the nursing home is an excellent one. Thanks, had not thought of that.

  4. I consider myself blessed in that our parents are gone and I am not responsible for elderly relatives, I am the older population that you speak of. I will take another tact and say I believe in honesty even with older folks. We talk with the elderly about living wills, what they would like in their future years, what they would like “if” something happens. I believe many of my older friends have thought about this. No one wants to burden the younger generation with “decisions” for their welfare, especially in a catastrophic situation. They deserve their own chance to prosper and survive and would not want to jeprodize their chances. Most would say “just go- it’s OK.” I think the American Indians have a great approach and know when it is time…sit under a tree, contemplate your life and die peacefully… Or find an ice float and be carried to sea. It is a life well lived.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Talk is vital when people can still reason. When people can’t reason any longer, then decisions must be made for them. Therein lies the conundrum – to save them or to leave them? Only the circumstance of that slit-second decision will dictate the answer. I think you are correct, most would say “just go – it’s OK.” And they would really mean it.

  5. This is a question I posed on the “other” prep forum. It’s a good one and one that my husband and I have discussed. We no longer have elderly relatives, with the passing of my FIL last year, but we do have several nursing homes in our small town. We also have older neighbors that we could accomodate if needed. They are in their seventies.
    I suspect that the town would place the aged in emergency shelters(elementary school) and we would volunteer our services as soon as we ensure that our own household was secure logistically and our children were here.

    Ignoring this issue is not going to make it go away so we will play it by ear.

    Great post.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      There’s another prep forum? 😉

      I like your plan, and thank God there are people like you who will help out in an emergency. Kudos to you and your husband.

  6. axelsteve says:

    Unfortunaltly shtf is going to be awfully rough on the seniors.Even some not so senior but medication dependent people . For instance insulan is a fragile substance with limited shelf life.I am on a couple of maintenance meds myself . I am on a thyroide and on antiseizure meds. I have not had a seizure since 97 however I dread the thought of another grandmall.Unfortunatly I cannot get years worth of meds.I am only 51.Not that I am complaining i am just some people do not have to be too old to have problems planning for shtf. Steve

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      I’ll be in a similar situation as you, Steve. Without my meds, I am just a big blob of immovable parts. I prepare as best I can for when the meds stop, but I know I’ll be almost totally useless. In fact, I’ll probably want to go all in.

      Maybe, just maybe, we can pull the iron out of the fire in time to avoid the worst case scenario. There is always hope, right!?

  7. Your children willl watch how you treat the elderly and that is the exact way they will treat you. If you put your healthy parent into a nursing home at 65, why should you expect to be treated any differently by your kids. NO, you will get what you sow, either good or bad. If you plan to desert your parent or parents during shtf don’t expect any different from you kids. Sorry but Karma is a bitch and she will come back to you with loving kindly gifts or hit you like a shovel.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Doc, I tend to agree that we reap what we sow. I hope I’m sowing the right seeds, but I won’t know until it’s all over.

  8. OK, granted some of the elderly are greedy, graping, miserable people.
    But for the most part they have sacifriced for the children all their lives. What makes anyone think this will change and they will become this clingy needy, dependent person during SHTF time? Those of us who live in this neck of the woods are a fierce, proud, people. We have been prepping two hundred years. You flatlanders have made your elderly weak and dependent. Because you were busy or in a hurry to get money to buy crap from wally world, we do not. I have never seen our elderly not produce something, even if its just sitting on the porch snapping green beans or shucking corn, they are still productive. The elderly usually have the largest most productive garden around, you can struggle with what to do with your old folks and I feel sorry for them, but we are staying put with ours. We care for them the same way we always have with family. I’m beginning to wonder if decency stop at the Cumberland.

    • why the anger at a different region than you? how odd.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Teacher, should we all move to your area? I’m sure it’s a great place to live, but will it accommodate 310 million people? I kinda doubt it. Although I would like to turn back the clock to a time where family looked after each other, that isn’t realistic in today’s society. It is what it is. Thanks for the different perspective, though.

    • Our aged parents chose NOT to live with us when we built our retreat/cabin and chose to live in an assisted living facility. After awhile they were no longer capable of paying bills, administering their estate, seek medical care when needed, drive. We did this for 7 years while both of us worked full-time. This would have been impossible had they chosen to reside with us. As it was, we traveled 100 miles round trip to see to their needs, take them home for visits, made sure someone was with them during holidays when their other children couldn’t be bothered.


    • Hunker-Down says:

      I’m a flat-lander that sees a great deal of strength in multigenerational families. Those who live in that environment are blessed, especially the elderly with the big gardens. Their obstreperous youngins don’t know how lucky they are.

  9. Richard Muszynski says:

    greetings. in life one will find that one cannot save everyone. sometimes one can not even save themselves. in survival it would be a good idea to decide now when it is not a have to make a decision right now or else it will be too late. How much do you value your mate and children? one needs to know where ones priorities are. I am 69 and would definitely not want someone to sacrifice their children to try to save me. I’ve lived my life, such as it was, and have no right to expect anyone to sacrifice for me. children and young folks have their possible lifes before them and not behind them. Those should be the ones that one should try to save if one had the ability to without hurting the chances of your own family to survive. figure out your priorities and then go with them. and that is often not a easy thing to do. remember the 11th commandment. “Thou shalt survive.” because without it, the ten that come before it are just words of no worth.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      “…one cannot save everyone.” You are so right, and those of us who may become faced with these decisions should not beat ourselves up over it. We do the best we can, and that is all we can do.

  10. Worrisome says:

    My old people are all gone and I am fastly reaching that age myself. I am prepping my home the best I can, so that in an emergency, I have a plan and I have a retreat for my children and their families. I have health issues and am doing all I can to ensure I have a stock of meds, etc. but one has to get realistic about what might happen. AND if it happens and I am unable to care for myself and they can’t care for me? I want them to take care of themselves. Clearly stated it already. Good point to bring up LP, and your article is well written!

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      You have a plan, that’s the most important point I wanted to instill through the guest post. Thanks for the comment.

  11. AZ rookie prepper says:

    L.P., good article. I too am in the position of wondering what to do with my parents who are seasoned citizens. It is difficult as they live a long ways from me. One of the truly amazing and shocking points made in an article about those fleeing the tsunami in Japan that made me stop and think was that people, with absolutely no time to make a decision had to choose whether to take the elderly with them when they fled, or leave them behind as it was too difficult to move them quickly. I am not judging them as I was not in their situation and I am sure it was an agonizing decision regardless of their choice. Very thought provoking.

    • AZ rookie prepper,
      The incident you mentioned on Japan should drive home to all of us the absolute necessity of planning. That packed BOB and a checklist of what to take should include how to handle your family of all ages as well as your pets. The plan needs to be realistic, and in the case of an immanent tsunami might be distasteful, but judgments made in haste and under stress will always come back to haunt us. We have no elderly here (other than the DW and I LOL) but have elderly dogs, a herd of cats, and a horse. Although a small probability, there are unfortunately some scenarios where we might have to abandon all of them to their own fates.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      AZrp, the next time you visit your parents perhaps you can see to it that they are as comfortable as possible right now, and then whatever may happen down the road will leave you with no regrets. See, I have a personal philosophy that whatever I do, I don’t want to have any regrets. Regrets can destroy a person.

      Japan’s tragedy was a wakeup call for us in so many ways.

      • AZ rookie prepper says:

        L.P., thanks for the good advice. I agree, life with regrets is debillitating (spelling?). I do try to ensure that my parents are taken care of, both are still able bodied and able minded, just with they would consider a little more prepping.

  12. This issue was certainly faced many times over during Katrina. There is a well known case of nursing home residents that were abandoned (and the owners went on trial).

    We faced it with my (paternal grandmother), then in her 80s when she refused to evac in the face of the Election Day floods. Dad just picked her ass up, loaded her into the car and carried her to the plane.

    Also, as elegantly described in the novel Cold Camp, ANYONE dependent on meds that are in short supply/unavailable (that would be me) is in real trouble.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Pamela, your dad did the right thing. He did what I think I would have done if in the same situation. Sometimes you have to overrule the person and make a command decision on their behalf.

  13. Yeah, old stuff sure takes a lot of care. And it slows a feller down to a crawl sometimes. I am hoping that I will be able to at least get around till I meet my maker. That will be a sure plus.
    I don’t know when or if a total disaster will happen, but a slow decline is bad enough. In a slow decline there is the buffer of time for planning and doing. Even if it is for yourselves.
    That is one good thing about the aspects of prepping. You start considering other things that need to be done that can make life easier for the declining years, let alone a SHTF situation.
    Very good article. Lot’s to think about.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      “Yeah, old stuff sure takes a lot of care.” ROFLOL, that line really says it all.

  14. Lint,
    I think you bring up some valid points here, but this actually covers a wider issue of those with any type of impairment, regardless of age. My 82 year old mother just passed this week after a long downhill slide. She required nearly 24 hours (home hospice) care in the last few weeks, most of which was provided by family and private caregivers, but the simple fact that an extended power outage shutting down the O2 concentrator, coupled with the inability to acquire bottled O2 would have meant an earlier demise. She will be missed but is in a far better place. However, OTOH, we have a good friend who is 84 and other than creaky joints is probably in better shape than I am. He goes to the local restaurant every morning to meet the local farmers and others for breakfast, and spends at least a little time in his shop 6 days a week. When we attended his wedding about 3 years ago, one of his church deacons laughingly said he was the maintenance ghost for the church, meaning that things like burnt out lights and leaky faucets simply and nearly magically got fixed. I think the wider scope of this article has as much to do with all of our neighbors and family regardless of age more than we may think. In the book, One Second After, the protagonist has a diabetic daughter who isn’t around at the end of the book. A sad but realistic outcome.
    In the medical field there is a term known as triage, meaning to divide into three. Those who eventually need care, those who probably cannot be saved, and those who can be saved if acted upon right now. The harsh reality is that we may need to triage those around us (ourselves included). If you take maintenance medications that are life sustaining, such as an insulin diabetic, you realistically will not last in the long run. Other issues like hypertension may be dealt with in some cases by diet, exercise, loss of weight, etc. and there is no time like the present to correct things. We unfortunately may have to give less effort to some in order to save those who are more viable.
    One other thing you can do as an elderly person is to become the wise elder, learning as much as you can to be useful in a bad situation. Anthropologists and archaeologists on numerous occasions have found fossilized bones of old persons (50’s and 60’s in a population that traditionally died in their 30’s) who from the fossilized remains had advanced arthritis and would have not been much use in a hunter gatherer environment. These folks were obviously being fed and cared for by others, while not contributing much to the clan. One thought was that since humans are “social animals” that these folks were cared for out of love. The consensus however was that these folks were a repository of knowledge. When the clan encountered the first drought in 20 years, this elder could remember several such droughts, and what had been done to maintain the clan. Whether you live in a cave or a condo (but preferably a farm) we should be looking to our elders for the wisdom they have. Canning, gardening, hunting, are all things that they have done, long before we were around, and if you ask questions, and LISTEN, there may be much to learn.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      OP, you are a wise man and I always enjoy reading your comments. Yes, triage will become important – if we even have time to do that much. It may be a situation where we cannot even divide up the casualties. I pray it never gets to that point.

      • my condolences OP, i just got off the phone to my 83 year old mom in fla. thanks for reminding me how quick they can leave us.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      OhioPrepper, I am sorry to learn of your mother’s passing. I hope you had time to say goodbye.

      • Lint,
        Thanks for the thought. She was in end stage heart failure for the last several months. I was home for almost a week about 2 weeks ago, and spent some good time with her on her lucid days. It was a situation where it was only a matter of time, and when the time came she was at home and surrounded by my brother and sisters. My family is headed back on Monday for the memorial service. She would have been 83 in early July and will be missed.

    • blindshooter says:

      OP, sorry about your Mom’s passing. I just lost my Dad last January and I really miss just sitting and talking over things with him. Prayers for you and your family.

  15. chabias says:

    Well done, Lint Picker! While I have no elderly relatives or neighbors, this certainly gives one something to seriously think about, and brings to mind to consider anybody who might have a disability, regardless of age.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Thanks for the kind words, chabias. Yes, there is much more to contemplate than just how much food we have on hand. Hopefully, these issues will make us all better prepared and better people.

  16. Tomthetinker says:

    The way a society treats it’s Elders and it’s young… Isn’t that the measure of the Character and Honor a people ‘earn’, collectively and as an individual. Can you begrudge every mouth full of food or asprine an Elder or child will put in their mouth to exist? Life and death makes for choices none us can make until it is… life or death. Until then…. it’s ALL talk. Good Post Lint Picker! I will hope that I can measure up should events demand. I look forward to reading the honesty, … bravado & bullshit this one brings up!

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Yes, it’s all speculation…for now. Our society doesn’t treat our old folks and our kids very well. We will pay a price for that.

    • Tomthetinker,
      If it were only as simple as food or OTC medications then this would be an easy subject. I think that the measure of a man or society as a whole is measured in large part by the way we treat the least of those among us. Unfortunately, it seems to me that the nanny state and the me too generation is not measuring up all that well. When however I interact with people in places like this blog, and my daughter and her friends, I have hope, and in the end that is a strong incentive.

      • AZ rookie prepper says:

        O.P., truer words were never spoken “the measure of a man or society…”. There are good people in the world, as I am seeing in the current crisis here locally (large fire in south AZ). Lots of volunteers to help people evacuate, lots of donations of food, water, blankets, etc for those that need it.

        There are also some true scum, as indicated to me by a co-worker; he is patrolling his property right now with firearm in hand due to groups of strangers in trucks trolling his neighborhood, possibly looking to loot people’s property that have evacuated out.

      • Tomthetinker says:

        OP! if it were as simple indeed. I do take heart when I visit this place….. I’m happy to see the subject matter…. and or responses have shaken out the less realistic thinking. Again…. good post LP!

  17. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    It is a very hard question to answer truthfully. I’m lucky in that Mom is still in good health, and has my brother living in her home to keep an eye on her. She lives only some miles away, at least several hours if I were limited to walking (in Good Times, not Bad). When Dad died, she was worried for about a day, then just decided to leave it up to God to watch over her and not worry about things she could not change. So far, its been okay.

    Also consider the handicapped and mentally impaired as well. Some of us have relatives or children who have these afflictions as well. Again, hard questions and remedies. Some will take care of themselves if modern medicine is required (i.e. insulin) – there are measures to take but a permanent solution?

    I’m getting older myself, bouncing back from heavy activity takes longer and I find myself having to pace my progress or risk injury. Just need to know when to back off and let time take care of what you can do.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      The fact that your brother and mother share a home is undoubtedly mutually beneficial. That is probably the best anybody can ask for.

      Yes, we have to pace ourselves and recognize our limitations as we age. Some of us never learn that lesson and then become a burden to others due to our mule-headedness (is that a real word?). Keep on keeping on, j.r.

  18. The last gift I will give my family is the knowledge that I made my own choice. They love me and would feel obligated to risk themselves and their children for me, but I’m in no physical shape to handle a bug-out, nor is my husband. In a worst case situation I’m taking that decision off their hands so they can remember me lovingly, not with guilt. I believe there is a life after this one and prepping for that is just as important as for any other scenario.

    A family member who has children will get my preps and the notes I’ve made during a life full of adapting to whatever came up. It’s a better legacy than guilt about not having done more when that was impossible. Physical death is part of life and should be prepped for like anything else.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Rain23, I hear you loud and clear. Obviously you are a very loving and practical person and I salute you for your decision. And I pray you never have to follow-through. God bless you.

  19. Florence Nightingale says:

    Well done Lint and thought provoking too.We have 4 elderly parents,each of which has health challenges at present.If SHTF happened tomorrow they would require some immediate attention.We have not considered their wishes and I would ask each what they would consider doing.I believe we are to HONOR our parents no matter the world situation. How would you want to be treated if you were in their shoes???All of us will one day be the elderly.Many great points Lint,BLESS YOU REAL GOOD…

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      “Honor thy father and thy mother” – 1 of the 10 commandments. I have no doubt you are already doing that, FN. Thank you for the blessing, and may God bless you as well.

  20. My grandmother (long gone) told a story about her grandparents who had a son paralyzed in a farm accident. (Nebraska around 1890) He lived behind the stove. When ever she visited he uncle had his spot. Having a stepson in wheelchair I’ve often wondered what we could do. Could we risk a 250 mile journey to a major city to bring him home? Could I stop his mom? Scary.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Scary, yes. Time to talk with him and his mom about this, if they are aware of the troubling times we all face. If they are not willing to discuss the topic, perhaps that is your answer – you will have to decide for both of them. Tough spot to be in, Dennis. Man, how I feel for you, honestly I do.

  21. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Perhaps I should explain that I like to reply to each and every one of you. We are discussing serious topics (most of the time), so I like to let you know that your comments have been read and given serious consideration. I hope my prodigious parlance doesn’t offend any of you. If so, just let me know in your comment that you don’t want a reply from me – I will honor your request. -LP

    • AZ rookie prepper says:

      L.P., your “prodigious parlance” is EXACTLY why I like this blog so much. Thank you for a great article and thank you M.D. for the opportunities to share knowledge and opinions like this.

  22. Rain23 – your position is one I applaud and with which I can identify. Having a frank talk with those who might be faced with the “decision” for your care is the greatest gift one can give. You have a contented spirit and have beautifully prepared for your reward. You and you family will know true peace.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      tricia, my own mom wanted to just pass away without any fuss or muss. For at least 20 years prior to her death, she told us that she wanted to be left alone to her own devices – either she would die in her sleep or she would take her own life if life was no longer worth living. IOW, she didn’t want us to worry about her, that she had it all planned out.

      Sadly, this very intelligent, capable, self-made woman who was my mom started to lose her memory and then she lost her ability to make wise decisions. In the last year of her life, I made the decisions for her since she could no longer function. She did get to die at home in her own bed, as she had always wanted to do when the time came, but it was not at all the way she envisioned.

      My point is this, despite our best intentions, sometimes circumstances change the game and all the plans we made are foiled. A contingency plan is always a good idea.

  23. templar knight says:

    Very timely, Lint. I have an elderly parent in a nursing home, and I know what I would do if the SHTF. I would go and get her, and do my very best to take care of her, just like she did for me. Mentally, she is unable to make rational decisions, so it will be up to me. My sister has given little thought to anything other than her pleasure seeking. Sad, really. But, on the plus side, her husband has done some prepping, so all is not lost.

    I have an issue myself. Due to a head injury I received in an accident, I have adult-onset epilepsy, and have to take medicine on a daily basis. I have managed to stow away a 9-month supply, but after that….I don’t know whether my condition is lethal, but it is inconvenient to say the least.

    Very good article, Lint. Thought provoking and important.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Templar Knight, you are truly a noble man. Your mom raised your right and now you are doing right by her. Carry on, my brother.

      • templar knight says:

        Thank you for your kind words, my friend. As for noble, I try to do the best I can. That term has truly lost its meaning in our society, much like candor.

        OP and some of the others commenting on his question give me hope that perhaps we aren’t so deserving, and that this cup will be passed. Truly, I live fearlessly myself, but for my children….I fear their future. They live in a country where nothing important can get done, a fracture in the populace that looks similar to Athens, Rome, the Byzantine Empire, the British Empire, and many others. But it’s a choice we make, a choice by some to destroy what we have. I truly can’t contemplate the people who wish us to return to the stone age. I truly can’t.

  24. I once read an account of how a particular family in China went through hardship. They had to make the decision to feed the man’s aged mother or their 3 year old child. They chose their mother. The child died. The reason: “I can never get another mother. I can have more children.”
    The story touched me deeply and has stuck with me. I pray to never have to make any decision like that. Still, it’s a reality.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Yikes! The Chinese do revere their oldtimers, so it’s not that surprising. Since Western culture puts much more emphasis on youth, I think the opposite would be true for almost everybody here. Let’s just do all we can to make sure we never have to make such a horrible decision. I’ll say it again, YIKES!!

  25. STL Grandma says:

    Very thought provoking, Lint. My mother came to me years ago and told me that I need not worry about her last days or illnesses, that she had already taken care of that and then she moved to AZ, which is a world away from MO. She’s on her own. (No, she lives no where near the fires)

    My 94 year old MiL, otoh, lives a scant three miles from me and my husband visits her three or four times a week and talks to her daily. Our 2nd youngest son, who is single, is living with her and taking care of her and the family home. We’ve given him the address of the BoL and instructions on bringing her and her meds and stuff she needs.

    DH and I are arranging to buy a place out in the country with Youngest Son, DiL and three granddaughters – extended family arrangements are in our blood, we do this in our family and have for generations. It just seems like the natural thing.

    I may be the grandma but I’m a durn sight from helpless, there is a ton that I know and do for the family now. None of that will stop when the SHTF. Family is everything.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Your mother is a courageous woman. I can tell you have her strength. You’ll do well, despite whatever may happen.

  26. deely d says:

    space: not much storeage in RV, apt!
    time: prep earlie
    herbs: research So cra…tes gk phil. use of herbs…hemmm
    = L O C K

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      deely d, have you read a book called “Final Exit”? It was popular about 30 years ago. In it, there were numerous pharmaceuticals that could be used to end one’s life. If I remember correctly, it also contained some natural “remedies.”

  27. I am 60 and partially disabled -enough to make me a burden to family members should all things in our world unravel. However, we raised our children with Christian principles, and without decency and humanity, what is the point of living? None of my family will abandon another family member no matter what -not even to eat one more day.

    We’ve been preppers for at least a decade, but what price humanity? You guys go “save” yourselves. We’ll keep on caring for our family and rely on God to save us.

    • Anon,I’ve read every single comment. When I read yours,I went back and re-read every single comment. Not a single one of “you guys” has mentioned anything even remotely close to what you are accusing “you guys” of saying. Abandonment?go save yourselves? Where does this anger at a fictitious statement come from?

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Anon, may I introduce you to Teacher?

      Maybe you will stick together and care for your family while the world crumbles around you. I am not able to say that with complete certainty. Look at history, we are no different from humans of centuries and millenia past, we are still the imperfect humans God made us. During tough times, some people saved themselves and some died off trying to save others. Discretion is the better part of valor, isn’t it? I would like to think I would stay and help those around me, including my family members, but nobody knows until the time comes. Good luck to you and yours.

  28. Lint I have spent a lot of time thinking about this very subject.
    DH and I arn’t as lucky as the rest of you. We have no one to look after us but on the other hand no brats to put us in a nursing home either.
    We are on the verge of becoming elderly and the only thing I can hope for is the arthritus in my trigger finger doesn’t get any worse.
    The preps I have made for this are the resources to hire the help we need . Not all that great but better than nothing.
    Like Kris Kristofferson says “I’ll only live till I die”

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Judith, you and your husband are welcome at my home any time. If you get too old to be useful, I will use you as heating pads if the natural gas stops flowing. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? LOL 🙂

      • Boy Lint, you have been in fine form lately.

      • HeyMickey59 says:

        Lint….well we could start a list of “things to do with the elderly”, but there would be a few lurkers who would take it seriously and not tongue-in-cheek. I like the previous comment that said something about how most elderly still make themselves useful, such as snapping beans or shucking corn. How about rigging a generator to their rocking chair? Or letting them comfort the crying baby? Or manning the lookout? Hopefully, my arthritic trigger finger won’t mind when I let “the other finger” take care of business!!!

        On a personal note, I thank God that my DH is dry since Oct. (due to a chest pain scare and a week=long hospital stay), has lost over 50 lbs. and is now off his diabetes and high blood pressure meds. He is getting more physical activity, can tolerate the heat and humidity better and is eating much better. I can now honestly say I don’t have to worry about him from day to day, unlike this time last year.

        None of us are getting younger, and I have to remind myself that our “freeloading” 24-yr-old son will probably do more to care for us in future years than all the rest combined. He worries more than I know about not being able to find work and is getting into the gardening big time. Plus, he does what he can to find odd jobs, so he has a bit of cash in his pocket when we can’t offer him any. Sometimes I think DH coddles him too much, but I know my stepson will be there if I ever need help with DH.

        Again, we reap what we sow. 🙂

    • sheri (IN) says:

      Well, I’m glad I raised by “brats” to respect people. LOL! That’s the biggest reason the youth of today are so challenged, cold and uncaring. They didn’t have great parents to love them, take care of them, and whip their asses when they needed it! Kids today run free while M&D are out having fun with friends. I raised 2 boys on my own and they love and respect me more than I could ever have hoped for. I was raised the same way. I love and respect my mom dearly.

      She will be 70 this August and still farms and gets around great. Unfortunately, she is in Florida so a quick trip to get her would be tough. I know she prepares more than most, always has a garden and can slaughter an animal with the best of them. My brother also lives in the area.
      Both are NRA members….. enough said. She and her husband would make it just fine. He is a retired trucker.

      She, too, has told us kids that she’s already taken care of the burial plans and that she is not to be revived under any circumstances. She is a very strong Christian, but wouldn’t hesitate to “take care” of herself if she had ever became completely dependent on others. She wouldn’t want to live that way. I know I could never leave her behind if she was with us and the SHTF. My son’s wouldn’t do it either. We are a very close family and family sticks together, no matter what.
      I do have elderly neighbors I keep an eye on. They both have very bad health and can’t get around very well. I definitely would help them the best I could.

      Great article, Lint. I pray none of us ever has to make any decisions of life and death for any of our loved ones….

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Sheri, sounds like you have 3 generations of self-reliant folks in your family. Doesn’t get much better than that!

      • sheri,
        You said that she “can slaughter an animal with the best of them”. My question to you would be – Can you do the same? This is a task that very few have the skills, the tools, or the fortitude to perform well. If the answer is no, it might be the perfect time for mom to pass on a skill to you. If the answer is yes, then it may be time for you to pass it on to someone else. Perhaps an article here or a YouTube video.

        • Sheri (IN) says:

          OP – Sorry, that is something I’ve never been able to do. I couldnt tell you for sure how I would respond in a desperate situation, but right now, it’s not in me.

  29. mountain lady says:

    LP: What a great post. I have thought of this a lot in the past few years, as I, too, am reaching that age when one is called elderly. I keep prepping, and DH and myself will survive as long as God is willing. Do not know if anyone will come forward to help us if needed, but that is how it is.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Faith in God is the best BOB there is. I guess for some of us, heaven will be our bugout retreat.

  30. Mominem says:

    Lint Picker,

    Thank you for a thought-provoking article! I’ve spoken to my parents a little about my prepping and have encouraged them to put back some extra food and water “in case of a bad storm”. They live five hours away from me, so I have some concerns about how we would reach them in the event of an emergency.

    I went on a trip with them recently (my first vacation with them as an adult). It opened my eyes to the fact that they are growing older and are less able to get around. My mother has a mechanical valve in her heart, so she’s on Coumadin for life. templar knight, thanks for reminding me to ask her about her medicine supply.

    Thanks again, LP!

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Since you are aware of your parents’ diminishing mobility, you can perhaps check their home for trip-fall hazards and correct those obstacles so they are as independent for as long as possible. I’m so glad you got to go on vacation with your parents as an adult. It’s a little trippy, isn’t it? In a good way, though.

  31. I was thinking about this last night. As someone over 60 and the prepper of the family I was wondering how far my resources would stretch if the SHTF. I don’t yet have enough prepped for DD and the grandchildren next door yet so I would not feel that happy about sharing the meagre resources with the 88 year old woman across the road and even worse with the bludgers of the district. Certainly if there are moderate amounts of food available, of course I would share. But in a really bad SHTF scenario then all efforts have to go to close family.
    I have been concerned about managing without thyroid as we have problems in each generation with lack of thyroid function. I am working hard to find another way of managing health – keeping stable blood sugars seem to support good thyroid function as well as other health problems such as diabetes. I have to say that most of my prepping so far has been health related. We can’t afford to have bad health dragging us down. Fortunately there is much that can be done to help oneself with this.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Harriet, you have the right ideas. As the saying goes, charity begins at home. And your last sentence is so very true. If only more people would realize that. Don’t forget the beans and bullets to go with the bandaids.

  32. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    My wife and I agreed a long time ago to take care of the folks on both sides even if it meant moving them in a sacrifice long before we ever dicussed SHTF. I would do everything in my power to keep everyone alive and well. I also know from leadership experience that I will at some point fail and will bear the burden and the brunt of that from my wife and probably other family. This loss usually results in the breaking apart of the family unit and I can only imagine the other SHTF stressors adding in. I have lost Soldiers and that was devestating in itself. I do not cherish the thought of losing anyone in this manner however the elderly may not be the first to go. My Son and I could get sniped getting water, disease shows no mery no matter the age etc. etc..
    As for myself, well i pray to God regularly to go out a flame rather than a whisp of smoke but his will be done.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Matt, who could find fault with someone who tried and failed? Surely not trying at all would be a much bigger guilt-trip. Perhaps you misjudge your wife’s expectations?

      • Matt in Oklahoma says:

        Maybe but in my experience when you lose someone you are responsible for there is always someone close to them waiting to blame you. It’s usually the closest person like a parent of the child, child of the parent, spouse etc.
        It’s cool, i expect it so if it turns out better then great.
        Prepare for the worst, Pray for the best, right?

        Also why not give props to PatriotNurse since you referenced her? http://www.youtube.com/user/ThePatriotNurse#p/u/27/J42CLa5iATM

        • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

          In the past several months, I’ve given props to PatriotNurse many times. In my Guest Post, however, I thought it might not be appropriate to plug another survival format on MD’s blog. Just trying to be ethical, perhaps overly so? Anyhow, yeah, she’s got lots of very useful info on her channel and well worth watching.

  33. Super Post .This points out a grim truth that is also well covered with reading personal accounts of folks caught in wars, natural disasters, and collapse in the not so distant past (and present).. The oldest and weakest will suffer first (and the most) AND sadly the category includes the youngest too.

    My heart an energy/ focus will be on helping the young – not the old. Knowing and facing these things honestly is what preparing is very much about..

    The non-preppers (the reality-detached) can not handle these discussions. If you are reality-detached AND elderly/weak – you are not going to last long – even many ‘strong’ folks will go quickly.

    What REALLY gets me angry is when my wife or other non-prep /RDA says I am WISHING for a collapse – just because I am prepared.

    When you understand and face the potential realities of disaster / collapse (impact on old and young for example) and are told that you are WISHING for it, it really hurts.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Scout, as others have said before, we have homeowner’s insurance but we don’t wish for our home’s to burn down to see how good it is. We have car insurance, but we don’t pray for an accident to see how well our seatbelts work and our airbags deploy. Anybody who accuses you of WISHING for the S to HTF is missing the entire point of preparing. The point, as you know, is not to invite trouble but to avoid it. Don’t let the non-preppers get to you.

      As for helping the young rather than the old, that’s certainly your call and I respect your decision.

  34. I was planning to help elderly/disabled family members. But have had other things change my minds. My grandmothers both pasted awy in 1999 my grand aunt past awayed last month, I habe one grandfather in a nursing home in NJ and I’m in TX but knowing his history he has had several mini strokes, heart attacks, and alztimers. My other grandfather I despise and he’ll get whatever he deserves. My other grandaunt will be taken very well care of by her grandsons and daughters. They rage from nurses, electricians, and fishermen. They have lived through many hurricaines and still making repairs to their homes from hurricaine Katrina. I will treat any wounds that I am capable of treating. I am only a medical assistant and have limited knowledge, I can drain infections, wrap sprains, strains, treat cuts (I know how to sew) I have items to treat strained/sprained ankles, knees, and shoulders and crutches. I will likely focus on helping children, most of the elderly people I do know, can their own food, grow gardens, or store food. They are preppers and some are unaware they are. I personally do not hold myself accountable to search and save the elderly. My focus will be on my kids 6, 4, and 2 and my neighbors kids, and any other child I see hurt or in need of assistance if I do not feel like it is a trap.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Your kids are lucky to have a mom who is thinking of their safety and is preparing for trouble. You’ll do well, Allie. Don’t forget to take care of yourself while you’re taking care of the children.

  35. blindshooter says:

    Lint, good post, I helped my parents for the last 15 years. I still help my first wife’s Mother as much as I can. My Mom passed in 2003 after a year long fight with cancer and my Dad left us just this year after years of bad health. I have no children of my own. I have a stepdaughter that is a great person and likely would help me if she won’t several states away. I have a great relationship with my sister and her family but I can’t depend on them to look after me if I became disabled. I have decided to make the most of life while I can and hope that our country don’t fail so bad that we have to just let our elderly and sick go. I know in my heart that that hope is probably foolish, so I’m sure my end of life story may not be easy. Might even be very short if I follow my family medical history and the healthcare system has failed for whatever reason. I have a bad feeling we all will have to make some very tough decisions in the near future that will affect our elderly and disabled and I don’t think the outcome will be pretty. My personal hope for myself is to be productive and live well and in the end fall down dead while still able to care for myself. I am really nice to my two nephews, maybe they will help their old uncle some in his old age;^)

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Hey, try bribing those nephews while you can. They might be the best preps you can have.

      Yes, live life now – we don’t know what awaits us and we were meant to live, not just survive.

  36. Great article and food for thought.

  37. Hunker-Down says:

    It’s very simple….
    God grants life and only God has the right to end it.
    My primary obligation is to my creator.
    My next obligation is to my spouse.
    My next obligation is to my children.
    My next obligation is to my parents.
    My next obligation is to my neighbor.
    God’s created a hierarchy, not a democracy.
    God gave every individual a free will.
    I am not in charge of those with the cognitive ability to reason.
    I wish I could figure out who they are.
    It’s very complicated…

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Hunker-Down, I see you put your spouse ahead of your children in your list. That surprised me, seems most people would put their children ahead of their spouses. Why do I think that? Because when I watch Wheel of Fortune, I hear the contestants mention their kids time after time, but many times Pat Sajak (the show’s host) has to remind them to mention their spouses. If they can’t remember their spouses during a TV show, will they remember them during a disaster? Yeah, I get clues to human behavior from odd places.

      You have your priorities mapped out, that’s awesome.

      • HeyMickey59 says:

        I think most of us would put our spouse ahead of our children, if the kids are grown and on their own. Our spouse should be our life-long companion, friend, partner, teammate, provider. Usually, we are in the same boat, whereas the kids are floating downstream, or motoring upriver on a different course than we are. Of course, if TSHTF, we will make room for all of them, but, in the same breath they will be expected to do their part. Unfortunately, on a daily basis things are looking worse and worse, and I am hoping that July gets here soon, so I can add to our preps. I do not think that we can prep enough, as we can never know in advance what the circumstances will be when IT happens.

        • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

          Oh, yes, the age of the children would impact the priorities list. So true.

          Glenn Beck says we have until September to prep before the really bad stuff starts to happen. I don’t know if he’s right, but he’s been accurate about almost everything he’s predicted thus far. Prep early, prep often.

    • HD, You said it well.
      It might be argued that younger children may be a priority over ones spouse but I think that once they have reached independence then there is no longer a question. Spouse first. However that statement has exceptions. IF the child has health or mental challenges that never allow them full independence then… its a case by case issue.
      JoJo, my beautiful bride, and I live 800 to 1500 miles from our children and grandchildren. There is nothing we can do to help them when the schummer hits the fan. Till them we can only educate and encourage. The only “ancient one” left between us is my mother. She lives with a brother and his wife. He is preparing.
      So that just leaves the two of us for preparing and planning.
      I will be 60 this year and have health issues, I have “Borg” implants in my chest to keep the heart going when needed and I have more then a few prescription meds to deal with. So a lot of our preps are silently designed to help her get along without me should it come to that. Should it ever come down to it I would not hesitate taking one handgun and a full mag and cover her escape. I seriously doubt she would take that opportunity tho.

  38. This is a great post that has brought many great comments. I don’t think that we can know how we will respond until we face a situation. But at least if we give thought to some of these things, we are more “prepared” than we would have been otherwise. I hope and pray that no matter what I might do, that I can do it in the kindest way possible. That might include not talking about it to anyone unable to understand or really do anything about the situation at hand.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Pam, you obviously have compassion and good instincts. You’ll do the right thing when the time comes, whatever the right thing may be.

  39. When I started my journey of independence and preparedness for real I was 52.what is a number?What is old?What are your core values? We all have choices and as supplies get shorter the question what will you do is a good one.My question is WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR LIFE???My preparedness trainer said if the person in your survival community does not or can not work kick them out.That is also Biblical
    I am 70,is that old?I am a worker and I hope I never have to decide who lives and who dies.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Judy, I also hope I never have to decide who lives and who dies. And I hope I never have to kick anybody out of my survival group, if there ever is such a group in my future. Sometimes people contribute value without actually working. They may have knowledge or compassion or they are beloved.

      I pray we never have to face these issues. Thanks for the comment.

  40. Maji-Tx says:

    Wow, a variety of opinions on this topic. I have mixed emotions about this topic. I just returned today from the funeral of a very loved aunt who had suffered for at least the last decade and was very ill. She took her own life and had it planned to the smallest detail, even who would find her so it wasn’t her children. She was tired of being a burden on everyone.

    As a science teacher, I reason that the fittest will survive. There are three options: 1. adapt to new surroundings (environment-post shtf), 2. move to a new environment that will enable you to survive, 3. not survive the changes in your environment. Those able to adapt or move will increase the probability of survival, which is why I prep.

    I rememer once in W. Tx we had a round of tornadoes. I was at my parents with my three small babies. We headed for the storm cellar. I asked my mother, “What about Granny?” Mother replied that she wouldn’t want to come down into the cellar. Now Granny lived next door and I wouldn’t take that answer so I went and asked her if she wanted to come to the storm cellar. That 82 year old woman high stepped it out of that house and beat me to the storm cellar. My mother had believed that she wouldn’t want to, but in fact, Granny was ready to go.

    Some elderly people won’t want to face the fight like my Granny did that day. Granny had a living will and died later that year from ovarian cancer, but she was a fighter. I guess I get my will to fight from her. My mother is wishy washy about things and won’t prepare because she is ready to go to heaven. On the other hand, she has a stubborn daughter that will probably drag her kicking and screaming all the way! 🙂

    Family is very important to me. Since losing my husband 11 yrs ago in an accident, I have learned so much about myself. I raised three boys, dealt with their adolescent problems, dealt with severe hearing loss for myself and fought my school district who was trying to get rid of me because of it. I guess I am a fighter. I couldn’t leave anyone of my family behind, regardless of their condition and/or health issues. I would find a way. I just have to learn how to prepare for whatever comes my way; however, it may be having to let my loved ones go. Tough call.

    • Maji-Tx says:

      By the way….great post. 🙂

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Maji-Tx, I like your tenacious spirit. Keep fighting for what you want. Your sons must be very proud of you. Granny must be smiling down at you, too.

    • After your reply, all I can think is “Don’t Mess with [Maji-]Texas!!”

  41. survivalistwoman says:

    Fantastic Post LP ! I think about this topic often as our neighborhood is filled with the wise elderly my mom included. We all garden and I at every chance help them and listen to the wisdom they share. All have told me that they want to be left behind as they have lived their lives and I should focus on the children should a SHTF event actually occur. I listened but have preps for all of them and will do my best to care for them as best as God allows me. They all lived during or were born right after the Great Depression and know how bad things might get so most do have some preps. I think they get a kick out of me most of the time, as just Monday I got a call from one of them who asked me is that a goat I hear ? LOL And then it was asked if I knew how to milk it ? My response ” Could you teach me” ? Brother you bet I want them alive and near me, their knowledge and history is better than GOLD ! I love my elderly neighbors 🙂 I couldn’t walk off from them nor any family member. We’ll all just ride it out together. Thanks for a great post 🙂

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Survivalistwoman, thank YOU for a very uplifting comment. You and your elderly neighbors will be a force to reckon with. I’d like to see what type of personal protective devices they’ve got. I bet some of them are collector’s items now. LOL

      Stay the course.

      • survivalistwoman says:

        We have a Retired Military Commander who is also a gunsmith living in our neighborhood so I wouldn’t bet against any of them or even try to guess what they may have, LOL.

  42. Becomes the Bear says:

    Lint- great post and very thought provoking.

    I have a 92 year old mother and 85 yr old FIL and a 83 year old MIL still alive, so this post hit home. I have been continually thinking about how to handle them if TSHTF. As they are still in fairly good health, they all still live at home and plan to do that until their final day. Realistic- probably not. My prep plans have always been to make room for all of them. The eventuality of them moving in with us even got my DW on board the prepping bandwagon.

    Never count your elders out as they always have something to offer. My mother has taught me some very valuable skills in the last couple of years like canning, gardening, and other lost arts that she knew growing up and living through the Great Depression. The FIL still works on old cars as he was a mechanic in his day. Even if they just sit and watch while you do the work, their input can be priceless.

    I saw way up the list a comment that the Indians had it right when they went off to die on their own and didn’t want to be a burden on the tribe. Very true. That is my plan when the time comes. The Indians also put a value on their elders that most of modern society no longer has. They knew to listen to the elders’ wisdom and learn from their experiences. Their lives depended on it.

    Thanks, Lint, you got me prepping again for them and that is priceless in my eyes.


    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      BTB, making room in your home and in your heart for your elderly family members is the greatest gift you can give them. Many old folks are forgotten and ignored, but you are thinking of them and planning for them – kudos to you! It’s not easy to care for older people, but somehow we manage and they leave this world knowing they were loved. Thank you for the kind words.

  43. Auntie_Em says:

    Wonderful topic! Well done.
    So many of us have elderly relatives. Both my parents are in their 80’s. One of their siblings, with whom I am close, is nearly 80. Dad is in hospice; mom and the other get around still, but their health is wearing out. I am too far away form my folks, distance-wise to be of any practical hands-on help for them. Since they live in a large metro area that could be a nuke target or ??? I have to face a sad fact, they may be lost in a disaster or crisis.
    Re being a part of an aging populace—-guilty as charged! All I can do is try to get and stay fit, eat healthy, and stay positive.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Auntie_Em, taking care of yourself and staying positive will make your life better now, and you’ll be less likely to be a “burden” to those who help you later. Good plan!

      Since you live far from your elderly family members, perhaps you can telephone them a little more often to let them know you are thinking of them. Something that simple can make a world of difference to them. (I know it does for me.) And perhaps you can encourage them to buy some Ensure or something similar to keep on hand…just in case. But, yes, the sad truth is they will probably perish in a disaster. Let’s hope they are not burdened with that thought and that they just enjoy their lives as best they can right now.

  44. Denise in Northern Ireland says:

    Great Post Lint Picker.
    We have three children who all live in Australia, we wanted them to have a better life than we had growing up here in Northern Ireland in the troubles( Belfast). So when they started to go travelling we encouraged them to look at places they would like to live.
    They all settled for Australia, they are very close and help each other out.
    I thank God everyday that they all are happy and healthy.
    We have discussed with them that if anything was to happen, they are NOT to try and come back here. All I ask is they look after and take care of each other. My OH and myself will do the best we can by ourselves and pray we do it right.

    Thank you Lint Picker


    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Denise, you are an inspiration! Through all the problems you have had to deal with, you weathered them all with grace and ultimately came out on top. You got your husband out of the city and into the countryside where he can feel safer, you gave good advice to your children, and you never give up. You’ve got the survival instinct and the strength of character necessary to prevail. You kids will do well because you passed some of that on to them. No worries. God bless.

  45. 1 Timothy 5:8 answers it best for me: But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

    And in context, this verse is specifically speaking about the widows over age 60.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Faith, thank you for providing some appropriate Chapter & Verse for this discussion. Unfortunately, I am not as familiar with the Bible as I should be. One story I take great interest in, is the story of Joseph, the boy with a coat of many colors. Despite the awful things his brothers did to him, he forgave them and took care of them. Forgiveness may play a very big part in survival. Now is the time to forgive our trespassers and embrace them BEFORE the travails escalate. And providing for those former trespassers will show great character.

      BTW, Widows over 60 are welcome at my house. :))

  46. mindyinds says:

    Last night I watched a documentary on No. Korea, Kimjonilia, and the emotions of families and strangers taking care of each other are echoed in all these responses. For the No. Koreans, the stuff has been hitting the fan for about 60 years. One young man put his desperately ill sister on his shoulders and escaped into China for her treatment, then sneaked back in to Korea several times to take food to his elderly parents. Inevitably, he was found and executed, which surely he feared. That sense of devotion and courage shook me, and I am also wondering if our American upbringing fosters such self-sacrifice.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      mindyinds, every time I lose hope in the American character, I see something that renews my hope. The people of Joplin, MO, for example, received help from strangers after the tornadoes. And I am reminded almost every month that Americans are the most generous givers on earth – where there is tragedy, we provide assistance (to friend and foe alike).

      Look at this topic, too. No one said anything about running and saving themselves. Everybody said they would help others. Some would help the elderly, some would help the young. Doesn’t that give you some hope? I have seen people risk their own safety to help strangers. Certainly our volunteer military is comprised of those who willing go into harm’s way and self-sacrifice. So, don’t give up on us yet, OK?!! I think the American character needs a little spit-shine, but the foundation is still under there somewhere.

      • mindyinds says:

        Indeed, LP, I have not given up hope at all. Really, the video just gave me pause. Sometimes you have to look inside yourself and judge/amend those qualities you hold high. And I do adopt a soldier ( soldiersangels.org) every year for just those reasons – their sacrifice, steadfastness and courage put them in a noble place, to me. And to heck with the politics.
        I appreciate your thoughts.

  47. mamabear says:

    My parents are in their mid-50’s and have my brother and sister to help them. My only living grandparents live 1500 miles away and live next to my aunt (and truth be told are much better off than us in a SHTF situation). What I think about the most in the area where I live (a subdivision with a ton of kids) is ok I am prepping for my family, and doing whatever I can to be smart there. I look around my neighborhood and I see my son’s very good friend playing in the back yard. They don’t so much as have a tomato plant growing. Could I stand to not feed him too when he and his sister are hungry? I can’t prep for everyone of course, but I see the children of our neighborhood and I can’t help but think I need to put away another bag of rice/flour/dry milk for them too.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      It would be extremely difficult to turn anybody away, especially a child. If you add another bag of rice or beans or whatever, you can divide it after TSHTF into small bags and give the small bags out. That’s what I plan to do. I have cases of small cans of beans, chili, peas, etc. and bought them with the idea of handing them out to those who come ASKING for food. Those who come to TAKE my food will get an entirely different “gift.” 🙂 If nobody comes a-calling for a handout, I can always use the extra food for my own family and friends or myself. All that food certainly won’t go to waste.

  48. Annie Nonymous says:

    What worries me is that people my kids (or grandkids) age would consider me “elderly”… and if they tried to do anything “to” me to ease their personal sense of feeling good about themelves, they may well end up populating a hole 2 meters down…

    I seriously hope that our society does NOT get to the point where we seriously start considering killing off our older relatives for some percieved burden we may feel they are to us. That would show me that humanity, as we know it, has failed worse than any TEOTWAWKI scenario… of course, we could always throw Granny Annie in a stewpot… ease your conscience and fill the belly. GAAKKK!!

    The whole thought that someone would think of this gives me the willies, that going to what we fought against in the 1940’s would be seriously considered. Because when will it be YOUR turn for your children to perform a mercy killing on you??!!

    Sorry… I may be “old”, per se, but I’m not some whimpering 29 year old poodle who can’t fill a stewpot… think of me more of that mangy old mutt with the bared teeth that would just as soon take off the leg of someone threatening me or my family with harm!

    Loving G-r-r-r-rs… 😉

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Well, I’m only worried about zombies coming after me in order to get what I have. Some kids think I’m ancient (61) now, but they don’t threaten to kill me off or shut me out. I don’t think they would be threatening in a TEOTWAWKI scenario unless they were bloodthirsty heathens to start with.

      OTOH, if I were trapped by rubble and couldn’t be rescued for some reason, then I hope somebody would quickly and painlessly put me out of my misery.

      I seriously doubt you’ll have to worry about some younger person wanting to dispatch you….unless you’d look good on the barbeque. (only joking)

      • Annie Nonymous says:

        I DO have a goodly stash of hard oak, mesquite, and hickory… tho my rotiseree attachment to the weber would be hard pressed to smoke this semi-ol’ granny (halfway to the century mark meeself…) for a requisite time!!! ))giggles(( I hope I’ve raised my younguns well enough to not think of “the other long pork” as a sustainable means of nourishment. )

        I get stuck out your way (may happen, one of my kids are out your way) , hope we meet up… you seem like you have your head on str8!

        Seriously, tho… I *do* know folk (sadly, too close to my family) who pulled the plug on relatives rather than stand by them when it got rough… sounds kinda sad(and bad) this early in the new age, but it still happens. Made me lose hope in humanity for a while, but having a strong family, a steadfast faith in our Lord, and finding numerous (and kindred) spirits here really brought me back from the brink!!!

        Me? Yeah, someday, I’ll cash in my chips, and stand before our maker, head held high in glorious expectation of his wrath and mercy… but until He calls me home, I will do my best to stand firm to keep this spark alive! After all, who knows… it may be something I pass along to someone yet unmet that helps them, and all of us, survive eventually!!!

        Hugs from somewhat afar…

        • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

          Annie, it would be my great pleasure to meet you someday. I hope it’s under pleasant circumstances rather than some devastating event. And hugs back at ya. -LP

  49. SrvivlSally says:

    I do not think we are going to have to worry about “old people” pretty soon because in Sweden, the nurses have been putting people out of their misery with and without the consent of their physians or patients. I also recently read an article where one hospital in our country is considering euthanization (of people). Why bother to put anyone out of their misery because if that BS starts here then all of us may have to make a run for it or do it before they can get their dirty little hands upon us. Veterniarians euthanize our pets per our request and now nurses and doctors, since Kdorkian first begat it, are doing it to us. Many pets (animals) have no choice as to whether or not they can live and looks like the syringe is heading toward us now. I never want to go to another hospital again, not when I know what is starting to take place. When will they deem that I am useless or too costly for the budget and to get rid of me it would save them hundreds of thousands of dollars every year? God help us all. Computers running everything, microchips used in many hospitals and the bible says not to take one, all money placed onto Super Computer data banks, government turning socialist, etc. No thank you, Uncle Sammy, Mobammy and crew. If you like it, you can have it but, as for me, I would rather die of a massive infection than to rely upon you when that time soon comes. Sick or not, injured or not, weak or not, I will walk away from you, Unkle Sham.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Did you hear the prez’s comment some 2-3 years ago about old people? He said (paraphrasing) that old people would have to forget about all the medical care they’ve become accustomed to. Instead, they may have to just go home and take a pill. My question is, what kind of a pill? I think I know the answer to that and it isn’t looking good for those of us over 60 if Obummercare becomes fully implemented. Old people will become endangered species, but there won’t be anything like an EPA to protect us. In fact, the desert tortoise will get better care than old people will.

  50. Hunker-Down says:

    The siege of Stalingrad resulted in some of the civilians turning to cannibalism.
    After the war over two thousand citizens were accused by authorities of cannibalizing their children (the weakest members).
    This is too ugly to think about, but if we are unaware, history may repeat itself.
    If our country implodes some nation will attempt to occupy and conquer us. There may be several ‘Stalingrads’ happening here. We are so not ready that the boots for our troops aren’t made in the U.S.

    If we, as a group are successful at prepping we can stop it.
    It’s important to know history so we can prevent it from repeating.
    If we learn enough skills, our way of life will survive.

    Do I learn to bake bread or grow tomatoes or shoot a gun?
    I’m 71, I don’t have the energy to learn about or practice all those things in one day.
    I am soooo not ready. With God’s help I will be some day.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Hunker-Down, I agree with your statement: “If we as a group are successful at prepping we can stop it.” The good news is, more people are prepping. The bad news is, a growing number of people embrace the nanny state. We’re basically struggling for the soul of America. I think we’ve got more of the 3-B’s than they do. LOL

  51. Givemeliberty says:


    I liked your post. Read it twice, printed it off, read it a third time. I especially liked your practical suggestions for loving the elderly, and your observation about civilization and the choice to help someone who “can’t do anything for you,” which I was taught is the definition of character. I provided full time care for an ill FIL for 4 months in our home, and it absolutely wore me out. (He doesn’t sleep well.)

    I admit I was scared at the beginning when some compassionate euthanasia ideas seemed to be creeping in. I was trained in the ivory tower of medicine, so I always fight the “but-we-can-do-such-and-such-so-we-must demons,” but always try to balance that with my faith-based realism and recognition that man’s days are numbered.

    Again, great post. You should win a prize.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      WOW, Givemeliberty, thank you so much. I truly appreciate your taking the time to comment. I know you know what it’s like to care for the elderly, it’s a struggle. But life itself is a struggle, and without kindness we are no better than the insects.

      May God bless you for the care and comfort you provided for your FIL.

  52. Plant Lady says:

    This topic is my current life. I have been caring for my 87-yr. old MIL for 4.5 years now. She is bipolar with Alzheimers, and has been on hospice for 22 months…she is completely helpless. A year ago I also took on caring for my 93-yr.-old grandfather. MIL bites and hits, grandfather hits. We just had to put him in a nursing home, as he is still mobile and large enough to be dangerous to me, MIL and our dog. My husband is a truck driver and gone a lot and we have no children, so not much help available. Can’t afford to hire help, as MIL is rated as a two-person transfer (needs two regular people – not extra-large and extra-strong like me – to move her safely) and at $18 an hour, per aide…well, just not affordable! I have thought and thought and thought and prayed…and I still don’t know how I could possibly manage to care for them and do everything needed to survive in a SHTF situation. It’s almost impossible now, even with all the modern conveniences. There is so much I need to do to get prepared, but I barely have time to sleep, let alone put in, tend and preserve a big garden, get the new 31-tree orchard/berries/grapes planted (they have been heeled-in since late April), get more livestock (have chickens, NEED dairy goats and pigs). As it is, I find myself tending my chickens around midnight more often than I would care to (hehe).
    Special concerns are laundry…even with a modern washer and dryer dealing with incontinence is a literal never-ending chore and I shudder to think of doing it all by hand. And that thought brings up the need for a wheelchair accessible outhouse. Gardening…need to figure out a way to make a huge garden wheelchair accessible, since can’t leave MIL alone in the house (God forbid) or even on the edge of the garden without her freaking out.
    My best solution is to lure as many as I can of the extended family and like-minded friends to our mini-farm…elder care in the days to come will only be possible if you have enough folks to ensure everyone’s survival with a couple of the completely trustworthy but less able teenagers or older folks (but not elderly) left over for elder care. Hey, just like the olden-days!
    And when it comes to SHTF…I do plan on going to get Gramps and bring him home. He can’t walk the 8 miles anymore, but I have a bike and a nice garden wagon if necessary.
    And hey, if we can figure it all out now, we will be set for when we get old!

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      Geez Plant Lady, you certainly have a heavy load. Right now, you could seek respite care from the county. This would give you several hours off one day a week so that you could rest, work in the garden, shop, or whatver. It is free if your income qualifies you for this service. I hope you will investigate respite care so you don’t kill yourself off trying to care for your MIL. This would be over and above hospice care. Normally I would not suggest help from the government, but your taxes have paid for it for others and if anybody deserves help, seems to me you do.

      As for incontinance, there are adult disposable diapers and also large “accident pads” (I have forgotten what they are really called, but they go on top of the sheet, where the elder’s butt rests just in case of accidents). Plus, there are large wet-wipes to use for quick clean ups. I bought some at Rite-Aid to keep in my camping gear so I won’t have to shower but can still keep clean.

      Seems that you have the right idea, it will take families to care for the elderly (and others) when TSHTF. It won’t be done by a just one person – there is too much that is needed for the elderly. Try cultivating those relationships now, so it is easier to convince them to help later.

      Good luck to you, and may God bless you for your compassion.

      • Plant Lady says:

        Thank you, Lint Picker. Its not so bad since we got Gramps moved to the nursing home – things are so much less tense. When he was still with us, I had my next-youngest sister (my best friend) come help a couple hours almost every day – we have been “sharing” watching out for the grandparents for about the last 30 years. I can manage MIL most of the time now, but there is so much I need to do to prepare us for more than bare survival and there just isn’t any time available. That is why I am so worried about when the bad times come…if it is just barely possible now, what will happen when I have to spend literally every moment working in the garden, preserving food, tending livestock, cutting wood and such just to survive – along with all the added stress of life-as-we-know-it ending? Even if you can band together with a group of like-minded folk, unless you are extremely well-prepared ahead of time (on par with Old Order Amish), you will have to make some really tough choices, especially the first couple years until we all figure out how to “really” make this new reality work.
        I love Depends! And we do use the disposable bed pads (for now) with a cloth pad under that…but I still have some bedding and pajamas to wash most days along with clothing that always seems to get food on it during meals. I really dread laundry when TSHTF! When my MIL was more able, we made use of our county’s free adult day care weekday mornings at the Senior Center…it really saved my sanity! But the Council on Aging had no money for respite care. Our hospice, being a non-profit, does offer us a 5-day respite every 60 days, where they will pay to put MIL in our local nursing home for 5 days so we get a little break. Nice as that is, I just can’t seem to get the livestock or the garden onto a care schedule of 5 days once per 60 days (hehe).

  53. if you behave like an animal , you should be treated AS one . The elderly are an obligation . We dont have to like it but we ARE obligated to those that did for us when WE weren’t worth a crap , we exist because of them and their care . Eventually , in every disaster , things calm down and get into a rhythm and ” normality ” sets in again . We will eventually answer pay for our misdeeds at some point . Their were a lot of Nazi war criminals that thought they got away with it until they were found and either extradited or flat out kidnapped to face trial .

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      T.R., good to see you back. Where you been? Yeah, we have a duty to care for those who can’t care for themselves, particularly our parents and grandparents. And things will settle into some sort of normalcy at some point – but what that normalcy looks like is what bothers me.

      Keep on preppin’.

      • Thank you Lint Picker ,
        Ive been on the road on a project in Utah . Glad to be back ,Its interesting to ponder what ” normalcy ” will be ……. maybe on the light end , a restoration of what already existed with less resources , medium end ( something I would like to see ) groups of states dropping out of the union and becoming sovereign nations , heavy end perhaps people forming communities / nations like the Indian tribes . I personally think they have it right . Take care of your own first . Cant see a ” Road Warrior ” situation lasting very long , human sociology / nature is to build and make things comfortable as fast as possible . The Romans started out as a tribe along the Tiber river to grow into one of the greatest nations the world has ever seen .

  54. Nor Cal Ray says:

    Great job Lint. I have been thinking about what to do with my Mom. She is 72 and still healthy. She is able to get around O.K. but she lives halfway across the country from me. She refuses to move back out here and so I have been debating moving back there to be near her just in case anything does go wrong. My Dad died aabout 30 years ago while on vacation. I am 54 years old and take 3 different meds so I don’t know what I will do myself.
    My next door neighbors are the sweetest people you would ever want to meet but their kids who live here in the same town haven’t seen them in over a year. We have been adding to our preps to try and help them out when the SHTF. They lived thru the Depression and talking to them I have learned a lot. Needless to say they believe in being prepared also. His wife is the one who taught me how to can and even gave me my start by giving me 2 dozen jars and a bunch of lids and rings.
    It’s late and I’m rambling now so I’m out of here. Congrats, wish you had taken first.

  55. Who decides who is to old? age=physical ability to perform the task necessary to survive the event.

    In a shtf scenario where there is shooting involved, I’m capable. In a situation where running for miles to avoid the threat and survive, is required, most adult americans over the age of 25 would be to old to carry on.

    If you have to scramble up a mountain to avoid drowning in a flood, your 40 year old, otherwise capable, parents might become a liability.

    Hopfully there will be time to consider options, and develop strategies. But in a fast moving wild fire, a ten year old may have to abandon his parents in order to survive.

    So in truth, we may all be , to someone the old and impared.

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