Survival tips for the elderly: What to prep before bugging out
By Zoey Sky // Oct 12, 2021

Preppers come from all walks of life. If you are aged 60 or above, that doesn't mean you can't prep, too.


Before SHTF, keep the tips below in mind so you can bug in or bug out safely. If you're not a senior citizen, these tips are helpful if you have elderly family members who may need help prepping for a natural disaster. (h/t to

Can you bug out if you're a senior citizen?

When disaster strikes, are you mobile enough to bug out or evacuate with your whole family?

Or is it safer to bug in or stay at home? (Related: The importance of prepping: Poll results show the elderly aren’t ready for emergencies.)

If you plan to bug out you need to secure a safe hideout before SHTF. Once you find a suitable location, fortify your shelter and stock up on water, food and gear that you will need to survive a long-term disaster scenario.

Below are some scenarios that may require you to bug out:

  • Natural disasters like a hurricane, rising floodwaters, or a wildfire
  • An earthquake that has completely damaged your home
  • A chemical disaster
  • Pandemics or epidemics with a high mortality rate in your area

What to prep before you bug out

Before SHTF, you'll need a bug-out bag (BOB) in your car. A BOB contains supplies and equipment that will help you make it through the journey from your home to your bug-out location if SHTF.

Turn a sturdy backpack into a BOB and pack the following supplies so you're ready to go when you need to evacuate immediately.

  • Drinking water in a reusable bottle and a portable water filter to keep your bag light
  • Snacks to boost your energy during the trip
  • Cooking and eating utensils
  • A spare change of clothes: Shirt, pants, underwear, socks and a poncho if it rains
  • Basic first aid kit with prescription medication

You should also prepare your estate preparedness portfolio, which should contain copies or originals of important estate documents like:

  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Deeds and titles to your vehicles and property
  • Driver’s license
  • Financial account numbers and contact details
  • Medical history and medications
  • Passports
  • Wills
  • Trusts

With a copy of these important files, you don't have to get new estate planning documents. If you want to keep your car or backpack light, scan these documents and save them on a secure USB drive.

You'll also need a personal property inventory to document all your belongings. In case your home and belongings are destroyed, your insurance company will need a list with pictures to verify the things you owned.

Traveling to your bug-out location

Before SHTF, you should keep your bug-out vehicle in good running condition. But as all preppers know, you can't predict everything and you may need to walk to your bug-out location if things go south.

Keep your gas tank full or at least half full so you don't have to worry about running out of gas when it's time to evacuate. Store three to five gallons of fuel in a gas can in your garage and pack it in your trunk when it's time to leave.

Get sturdy, comfortable shoes, like water-resistant hiking boots, and weather-appropriate clothing like rain gear, winter boots and gloves.

Keep your phone charged so you can monitor the news and contact family and friends if you get separated. Get a power bank as well.

Have cash on hand so you can buy supplies or more gas. If anyone in the group requires a cane or hearing aids, have an extra cane in your car and spare batteries for their BOB.

Choosing a bug-out location

You'll have one less thing to worry about once you find a secure hideout and stock up on supplies. But what if the first location is compromised when SHTF?

This is why you need a second and third location that you can go to. Before disaster strikes, talk to trusted family or friends and ask them if you can stay with them until it's safe to return home or until you find a hotel within a day’s driving distance.

When getting a hotel room, find one that's on the first floor to make things easier for anyone who struggles with stairs or if someone in the group needs a wheelchair. Don't settle for hotels that are too close to your home because they might be full of other people looking for a place to stay after SHTF.

You also need at least three different routes to each bug-out location drawn on detailed road maps. Don't rely on your phone and learn how to read topographic maps so you're ready if the group has to walk.

When to bug out

Assess the situation and decide for yourself when you're going to bug out. Don't wait until authorities tell you to go because by then, you might get stuck in heavy traffic.

Keep your family updated

Whether you're bugging in or bugging out, you should keep your family updated on your emergency preparedness plans.

If you're bugging out, give your contact number to your loved ones. Check on each other if you don’t hear from anyone in a certain amount of time. Once you've safely reached your destination, let your friends know you're fine.

If you're not well enough to bug out, consider bugging in with your family to avoid further injuries.

But if you're spry enough to travel, plan ahead, find and prepare a safe hideout and get your gear ready so you can bug out at the first sign of trouble.

Sources include: 1 2

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