Prepping After 60

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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Sundee Z. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

Ever wonder how you will live if the SHTF? Ever try to answer all the questions that you ask yourself about how you will survive as a single, senior woman living alone with no family, no spouse, no other support other than yourself? I ask myself everyday as I grow older and a little weaker in body and strength. I used to be able to lift fifty pounds of feed or move a bale of hay easily but now it gets to be a real trial. But, since I am alone, I have to do it anyway I can and I usually do. It is the same in prepping for just myself, my livestock, and the homestead.

I live on seven and a half acres in a rural southern California area which is like a mountain/high desert mix when it comes to weather and vegetation. My well is a good one and does the job of watering the livestock which consists of chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, a llama, horses and assorted dogs and cats. So, I have a good start on being self-sufficient. I decided to not bug out but to bug in if SHTF ever happens. So, I have devoted my time and meager income to this place.

When you are older and alone there are a lot of things that go thru your mind when the subject of prepping comes up. A lot of the questions such as what happens if I can’t get to town, how will I get my medications, what happens if the grid goes down, how do I function as an older woman alone in a non-functioning world, etc., etc., etc. Yes, there are hundreds of questions and sometimes the answers are easy and sometimes they elude us. Being older and alone does pose many unique problems for the one facing this uncertain world. When faced with these problems, I decided to sit down and access my situation and made a lot of decisions and lists. The first one was to bug out or not. Being that I have some disabilities such as arthritis and a bad back, there is no way I could walk out of here or ride my horse great distances to get to…Where? I don’t have a bug out place and if I did I would never make it there alive. I found that most of what I needed to survive was right here in my home.


I used to be able to lift fifty pounds of feed or move a bale of hay easily but now it gets to be a real trial. But, since I am alone, I have to do it anyway I can and I usually do.

So, I took inventory and started my first list of what I had in the way of survival gear, food, water, clothing, medications, tools, and a second list of what I needed to get. If I did bug out, I could not begin to carry what I would need to travel to an unknown destination. I would be a moving target for those who would like to take what I had. And, what would happen to all my animals? I have a pretty good start on being self-sufficient here with chickens and turkeys for meat and eggs, dairy goats for milk, butter, cheese and, a horse for transportation, a llama for packing, sheep for meat, wool and milk and in the spring I will be starting to raise rabbits, one or two cows for meat and milk and guineas for an alarm system. I have all I need here. Why leave it? I am comfortable here and feel a modicum of safety and I know some of the people and the area. That is a big thing to consider in deciding whether to stay or go and how you will get there. It is not very safe for older women to go out alone now so just think of how it will be if things get rough?

I made a third list of things I needed in the way of tools for survival, building supplies and weapons for protection. I bought a few power tools and two small gas-powered generators to run them and a little chest freezer. I bought that so I can freeze meats, cheese and butter and make gallon sized ice cubes to use in the antique ice box that was used by the previous owner for a liquor cabinet. I have tried it out and it works like a dream. I have also made a list of things I want to learn to do and can now scratch off such as learning how to can with a pressure canner, use a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and I turned my front porch into a greenhouse so I will have tomatoes and lettuce in the winter. I had to learn how to butcher the chickens and will have to learn how to do the cute fuzzy rabbits. But, if it means I will eat then so be it. We all have to do things that are distasteful but will do them to survive. I do believe that the older generation is better at getting it done than the younger and we don’t need a cell phone for that.

As for protection? I believe that in the future people will revert to old-time weapons for protection such as bows and arrows and spears and such. If the grid goes down there are only going to be so many bullets and no one to keep production up and not everyone is adept at reloading. So, my weapons of choice is the long bow, a cross-bow, and several pistol bows. I practiced a lot to become proficient in archery and can hit what I aim at. Even being 65 I can pull 40 lbs. And, it is a silent weapon. Pretty good for an old lady! But, I also have shotguns and pellet rifles. I learned almost all that when I turned 60. I made me a practice range on my place between the silage corn I planted and the wheat where I could and still do shoot regularly.


I have also made a list of things I want to learn to do and can now scratch off such as learning how to can with a pressure canner, use a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and I turned my front porch into a greenhouse so I will have tomatoes and lettuce in the winter.

I believe that if there is a will there is a way. Just because you are older and maybe not so strong physically does not mean you just lay down and die. I think that because I am older and alone it drives me to want to survive anything that is thrown at me. The instincts to survive are there and all you have to do is use your head, do the research, organize, learn, learn, learn, …and maybe, join a self-sufficiency /prepper group for moral support. When I needed gutters put up on the eaves of the house to catch rain water for the livestock, I looked on the internet for DIY instructions and got it done. When I needed raised garden beds for my gardening, I designed one and got it built. Now I have many of them. It wasn’t too hard but still there are things I wish I had help with but with a little ingenuity I usually get it done.

After my dad died, I had to decide where to move my 84-year-old mother and myself. I have always wanted to move back to the country and live out my life in a rural setting, so that is where I landed. That was four years ago and since then the outside world has grown more violent, unpredictable, and totally dangerous with rumors of war, terrorists and possible financial collapse and EMPs. I have not been able to ignore it any longer. Something big is going to happen and soon. I feel it in my bones and not being prepared made me start making lists, reading about emergency preparations and being more aware of what has been going on around me. Then my mother was diagnosed with third stage dementia and since early this last year has had to make the transfer from here to a nursing home. I found myself turning 65, needing back surgery and losing income from taking care of my mom. I kept making lists of foods, household goods, clothes, weapons for self-defense, first aid and medical stuff, tools, livestock, and a lot of other things including what I already knew and what I wanted to learn about. I read, searched the internet, read blogs and always ask questions. As time has passed I felt overwhelmed with the stuff I needed to get done and for the first time in a while felt completely alone. It took a good talking to myself to set me right on the prepper path and now I find myself making great strides in becoming totally self-sufficient and ready for anything. And, I don’t feel my age is a hurdle anymore but actually has been a blessing.

I know that living in the country is very different from living in the city. I have lived in both and when the time comes and the grid goes down, preparing oneself with food, water, and the tools you need to have to survive are almost the same. You still need warmth, a roof over your head, a way to cook, and protection. You still need to be ready to hunker down where you are and have survival items unique to your circumstances. I know that it can be a bit overwhelming and lonely when having to make decisions concerning your safety and comfort especially when you are by yourself. But, if you have studied, learned and listened to the rumblings you will be prepared and will survive. After all, you have made it this far so you can be called a senior citizen.


Something big is going to happen and soon. I feel it in my bones and not being prepared made me start making lists, reading about emergency preparations and being more aware of what has been going on around me.

Not everything in prepping for one is dreary. One thing I realized while making my shopping list the other day for my food storage was that it contained foods I really liked and I got to pick and choose what to purchase. No one else had a say in what I bought. That was a bonus since I lean towards comfort foods and not gourmet stuff. The pros definitely outweighed the cons like not having to share my favorite candy bar with anyone. Do take an inventory of all the items you have now and build on that. Don’t forget to prep for you pets and do splurge on some good books, puzzles and crafts supplies to keep busy if you ever have any free time. Make sure to store up batteries so you can play your cd player and listen to music. It is a treat for yourself after a long day of working to keep yourself alive. This can be true today before the SHTF. And, don’t feel sorry for yourself for being older and alone. I don’t believe Karma gives us more than we can handle and hard work and challenge build character even in seniors.

As for being a senior, you should be able to draw on that vast supply of experience on keeping yourself healthy, active, sharp and for learning new things. Just remember, it is not how old you are or how infirm you might be, don’t think you cannot do it. You can if you believe you can. You will find a way. Even not having a lot of funds for purchasing items for your survival shouldn’t deter you. Get creative and go to garage sales, second-hand shops, Good Will and Salvation Army. I shop a lot at the dollar store and have saved tons of money on paper goods, canned goods and other household items. Personal items are a good buy there as well.

I found out a long time ago, when my kids grew up and all moved away, and I divorced my husband that you only have yourself to rely on. No one is going to look out for you and it will be really true when the SHTF comes around. I found out there were things I didn’t think I could do but found out that I can. Being alone lets one really get to know yourself. Being older doesn’t mean that your world has come to an end. I believe I have every right to survive as the next person. Maybe more. That I have worked harder, learned more, done more and have earned the right to live with my own two hands by being more creative, smart, knowledgeable and resilient than the younger generation who can’t get the cell phone out of their face. Sit back at the end of the day and think of all you’ve accomplished all by yourself and be proud of it.

So, let’s get busy and quit thinking about how old we are and how much those joints hurt and start getting ready for that uncertain future and let’s survive. After all, we’ve lived this long, I’m game for twenty more years…are you?

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John D

I envy you because of the land you have, and your animals. I’m in my late 60s, and live in the suburbs, so my prepping is a little different than yours. I won’t bug out, unless I’m forced to leave. I have one suggestion for you. Build or buy an off grid solar electric system with batteries. The gas for your generators may run out, and getting more may be a problem after the SHTF. An off-grid system can power a freezer, and other things you depend on.

Sundee Shelley

Many thanks for your information. I am working on a windpowered system to generate electricity and pump water. Where I live I have a breeze all the time and it is from 4 to 7 mph sustained which is enough to turn the blades on the windmill. But, I am thinking along the lines of a small back up of solar panels to take over should the wind ever die. Thank you again for your suggestion. Happy Prepping!


look at old info on small wind gensets like we used to use in Aus dunlite and its not hard to run DC32volt wires around the home, lower power use lights etc mightnt be perfect for surgery;-) but adequate and cheaper marine systems used to use that- might still do? so fridges and other stuff might be get-able, cheaply, as near scrap to others and gold to you. look at solar thermal home heating cheap and DIY and works solar water heating using simply a roll of polypipe on roof at the most basic, couple of drums to run water… Read more »

The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

Wonderful! I too am in my 60s although I am still employed full time, and prepping/homestead maintenance is a 2nd job. As johnd noted – get yourself some basic solar. Why? An example is water: I’ve an excellent well, but the case is narrow as is typical for a drilled well, and the base water level is about 20 feet down, so no bucket on a rope, and that depth is marginal for most hand pumps. So: a 450 watt solar array to keep a bunch of used forklift batteries charged up. These in turn run a 12/24 volt deep… Read more »

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for all the information and I am taking the solar thing to heart. I was going to go strictly with windpower but I think I will be backing it up with the solar system you mentioned maybe before spring.

And on the arrows…I already make my own. I use my turkeys flight feathers for fletching and already know about re-pointing and have a huge stockpile of arrow shafts and other supplies to do it all.

Thank you again and Happy Prepping!

The Deplorable Cruella DeVille

I put an article on this site a year or so ago with specifics of what I was working on as regards solar water. Although it has changed since then the basics are still applicable.


Interesting take. I’m guessing the USA will not run out of ammo quickly. As a lone wolf in a fixed, visible, and desirable location most shtf scenarios will see you having visitors. Is your stockpile buried around the outsides of the farm? Are you going to cull most of your live stock day one or are you planning to get help with the labour? What are you going to do to store, sell, barter that amount of meat? If you are on medications at 60 pre shtf have a think about why and stock a ten year resupply if you… Read more »

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for reading my article. I would like to respond to you questions as I know a lot of people will have a lot of the same ones. I am a firm believer that at some point we will run out of a lot of things. But, ammo is not going to be readily available to everyone who may need it. I have a stock pile of ammo for my shotgun but it is the only gun I own, I will not have access to more because of where I live and as for reloading, I dont want to… Read more »


Thanks Sundee, this is why I commented. Lots of useful details here to give ideas to step up my own preps


Just a thought on firearms,,,
If you know someone from another state, an AR is indispensible,,,
You can get tons of ammo really cheap and it is easy to shoot, just keep it wet for the first thousand rounds or so and you shouldnt have trouble with it.
You have a good thing going and a good head,,,, enjoy, TEOTWAWKI could take forever


I believe you’re more effectively ‘prepped’ than most, because you’ve adjusted your lifestyle, not just piled up a bunch of supplies. The adjustment to lifestyle is what eludes most ‘preppers’. The lifestyle we all now enjoy cannot be maintained when SHTF. Ours is a precarious existence. It depends on many things working together without interruption. I, too, am an over 60 prepper, having been ‘consumed’ with prepping for the last 40 years. (A side note: If you are a proponent of ‘bugging out’, you’re not prepared). My homestead, 36 years in the making, is not perfect, but is my best… Read more »

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for your comments. I feel if you cannot live your preps, you cannot survive when those preps really count. It is not enough to have all the goodies if you don’t know how to use them. How can you plan to cook your food if you can’t make a fire. Also, how will you know what you really need if it is just a list and a pile of items that you have never used before. Live your preps by incorporating them into your every day life and then you will know just what you will really need… Read more »


Excellent article! As one who has just recently crossed the threshold of 60, I realize that now, more than before the color of (what’s left) of my hair, has made me a target for those who we support on EBT Entitlement programs and their thug associates.
I will not just roll over and give up. It’s not in my character to do so.

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for responding. And, thank you for being a role model for those who need one to see that getting older is not a bad thing, High five to you!!


Is that a 4020 tractor? I’ve spent some time in the woods in your area and could never move back there. If you ever have to bug out and can make it to central Oklahoma you have a home.

Tom Schuckman

I am thinking: ‘What a fine, good looking woman,’ and someone I am actually looking for right now, myself !! But I live too far away from her…. dang it ! My email: [email protected] –My Blog: TOM’S JOURNAL. I was born in Milwaukee and raised on a beef, hog and grain farm in S.E Wisconsin, studied 2 years of high school Agriculture, and later became a good Welder, even college trained and in the field. I have many skills, thanks to the Army, and 2 tours in Vietnam: 68-70, and teach people how to throw tomahawks and knives, accurately. But… Read more »


For the arthritis issues look into Tumeric with BioPerine… Two of my uncles served in Nam and my brother and I are Navy vets. Long of list of vets in my family.

Tom Schuckman

I am taking both of those herbs/ combinations, but thank you very much, sir !! Let us compare notes…. my email: [email protected] –My Blog: TOM’S JOURNAL. –GO NAVY !!

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for the info. I will look into that.

Son of Liberty

One thing that may help with the meds is that RX Outreach (St. Louis, MO) will sell meds for up to six months per prescription (the longest allowed by federal law). Get your Dr. to write prescriptions for that quantity. It is a Christian organization helping the poor and elderly to get prescription drugs at a greatly reduced price. They are a real blessing. Hope that helps.

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for the meds info. We need all this sort of info to help other seniors be prepared.


Thanks Sundee, for Your Great perspective. At 75, I have limitations; pretty healthy, but have had some major health attacks over the years that now limit how I can respond to a situation. Today, I just had to make the hard decision that I wouldn’t embark on a mobile bug-out shelter I have been scheming on for quite a while. I am too frail to be able to operate it once it is built. I would need younger bodies to help, which I can’t depend upon right now. Oh well, it is back to working on my vermiponic growing systems… Read more »

Sundee Shelley

Sounds like you have a strong will to survive. It should not matter how old we are or how physically challenged we are, if the spirit is strong we will find a way to get it done and we will be the stronger for it. And, it sounds like you are pretty strong. Keep up the good work and happy prepping.


I was nodding and agreeing with you. I, too, have animals, 7 acres, a greenhouse, big garden, and orchard. And weapons. And plan on bugging in. As you pointed out, where would I ride my horse to? My land doesn’t flood, we don’t have huge fires here, and I have lots of store-bought and home-canned food, etc. It does worry me, though, that the day will come when I can’t lift a 50-lb bag of feed (and, back in the day, all feed was in 100-lb bags), or my arthritic knees hurt so badly that it takes forever to chores.… Read more »

Sundee Shelley

Great response. We think a lot alike. Keep the spirit strong and the mind Sharp and we will survive.

Leila Blair

Great article! I’m 69, own 4 acres and am trying to build a perennial permaculture garden. Grasshoppers are my bane, they eat plants down to the ground! I put in a solar well 15 years ago. I already knew water would become an issue. I have chickens and 3 goats for eggs and milk. I’ve had luck using metal containers and grow boxes with glass window lids to grow greens in the winter. Now buying frozen blueberries from the dollar store and dehydrating, and organic yellow or red bell peppers from the swap meet. Finding affordable organic is daunting. I… Read more »

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for sharing ! It is great to find more info to share with the many senior peppers who are out there and needing all the info they can get. Thank you for letting others in our age group know that it can be done.


Great piece. I agree completely. I’m 63 and my wife is 2 years older. She has a lot of back problems, and bugging out is not an option. We live 4 acres with other homes close by. The neighbors are (with a couple of exceptions) are survival minded. They will lend a hand when needed but leave you alone otherwise. We also have a 102 acre property with a stocked fish pond, but it is 90 miles away and has no buildings on it. If it was really necessary and driving there was an option we always have that option.… Read more »

Sundee Shelley

Sounds like you are both doing it too. Great job. And, for other readers out there. It is a wise move to get to know your neighbors so you know who you can trust, who you can depend on for a helping hand or strong back now and then and for trading and bartering. Having a strong community can make the difference sometimes in life or death. Having a strong pool of talents and knowledge can help in many survival situations.

Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work.


@ Sundee Shelley Absolutely fantastic article. I have been reading this Blog for quite some time, and truthfully this is probably the best ever published. As one that’s creeping up on 64 and a widower for 11 years, I can appreciate your place in life and understand exactly what your motivation is.. FYI, these young “whipper snappers” and Dumb-Phone kids ain’t got nada on us and our experience. To bad they “know it all” and wont listen. You keep hanging in there kid-o, your milesssssss ahead of 98% of the country. I personally and sincerely thank you for your time… Read more »


I am 76 and best advise I ever was given was make a list the following way:
Record in minute detail every thing you use daily for min. a month. That includes repair items also. Then what you need for growing and harvesting food.
Collect the BOOKS that tell you how including medical and wild edibles.
Then collect what”you can use” for protection. Do not dismiss sling shots.
If you have deep pockets go SOLAR and use the golf cart 6v batteries.
After all of the above the only problem you will have is STORAGE

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for this good advice. I myself am a list maker. I have folders of lists of inventory in each category of each phase of my homestead. I keep them up to date and cross off each area I have conquered. It gives me a realistic view of what I need to do, what I need to fix or acquire and gives me a sense of accomplishment. Everyone should keep an inventory list so they know what they have, what they need and what they need to focus on to complete that area of preps.

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for your comments. We oldsters need to stick together because we will survive and by doing so, we will teach these youngsters a few things to help them out. Maybe…..!

Carmen Ortiz

I would suggest doing a lot of research on foods, native edibles and spices that can help you regain your health. I’m almost 70 and I feel much better than 15 years ago because of my change in diet, which resolved my health issues. Otherwise, you could consider finding someone who will agree to help with the farm work in exchange of part of the harvest and a place to live, if you are feeling in bad health. (Make sure the person fits in with your “quirks”.) I’m alone but I don’t have issues with it. I’m certainly staying put,… Read more »

Sundee Shelley

Sounds like you are doing great in you prepping. Being in the best of health as you can be is a big step in survival. DO read as much as possible articles about living of the land and what the land around you has to offer. Thank you for your insight.


we are all getting older!.. we have to constantly reassess our situation- health, mental well being, preps, & money situation.. i think most older people are way ahead of the game, since we have lived when times are bad and know what hard work is. younger generations have had things given to then from well meaning parents. learning new skills, will be better than the newest gadgets anyday. I agree that you will be proud of your accomplishments. i know i am, and I can live just fine without goverment.

Sundee Shelley

Good for you. You have a good sense of using your years of experience to keep yourself going and with your good work ethic and great spirit, you will be a survivor.


Being 65 myself I am always thinking of ways to work smarter, not harder. We have a small farm. There is always things that need doing and I am usually doing them alone. Its surprising how innovative one can be when there is only you to do a chore that is better done by two or even three people. I often have to just sit down and study the problem for a bit while figuring it out. We may be getting older, but we’re not pushovers, are we? 😉

Sundee Shelley

No. No pushover here. Just older and wiser innovative survivors! Keep up the good work.

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for your comments. Yes, I think all of us seniors have a collection of rice bags and braces! LOL

And, you would laugh if you could see some of my contraptions I have rigged up to move heavy items. But, as they say…where there is a will, there is a way.

Thank you for the information and links. And, as for meds, I use a lot of herbs and native american medicines. The only med I will have trouble getting is thyroid meds but I think I now have that covered.

Thank you again.

Sundee Shelley

Thank you for sharing your information and point of view. Be safe and happy prepping.

To the Right of Attila the Hun

I hope that you win the contest for this well thought out, well written and well ‘linked’ post. I will be 68 in a very few days so ‘I feel your pain’. I have worked hard all of my life and one thing that I have on hand is an extra back brace, wrist braces, (for both hands) knee braces, and ace bandages. I’ve learned that on heavy items that can be divided I make 2 trips instead of one. Also a ‘Hand Truck’ or a ‘Furniture Dolly’ with straps can allow one person to move loads safely. Feed sacks… Read more »


A bug out shelter is merely a safer place to be than in one’s home, should rioting and looting happen in a neighborhood or community. Essentially it is no different than a tornado shelter, or a dug-out, or a fox-hole. It is a place you can retreat to and hide for one to three days, when the storm of the most dangerous looters pass through your area. But keep in mind that there are tiers of looters. First are the gangs looking to steal and stockpile the most important provisions (food, water containers, weapons, cigarettes, medications, and booze). After them… Read more »

Tom Schuckman

Hi Sundee, I honestly loved your great article and gained much knowledge from it ! “There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.” I also like to write, email, Blog, and compare notes, so that I have a healthy balanced view of what I can afford, what is the norm, new ideas, and then I love to also pass them on in my humble Blog: TOM’S JOURNAL. My email: [email protected] — I live so far U.P. North in upper Michigan and it’s cold already ! Let me also tell you that the “Veteran Community” usually knows how and where to… Read more »

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