15 Items Older People Want For Survival

15 Items Older People Want For Survival

For years, my blog has been dedicated to helping people of all ages and walks of life to plan ahead when it comes to being prepared for the unexpected. We set our own priorities in that regard, but sometimes we overlook what life is like for others as they age. I’m updating some older posts because the information needs to get out as soon as possible for people to be prepared.

The time will come when we may be living on our own or at a stage where we need to consider assisted living quarters. As I’ve thought about it this week, I know of at least 15 items older people want for survival.

Please remember your family members or friends living alone, or possibly in a care center when considering things needed for survival.

I remember getting an email from a reader a few years ago asking me what her mom should have stored in her apartment at her assisted living facility. Here’s the deal, we may think our mom, dad, aunt, uncle, or dear friend should be just fine after a disaster if they are living alone or at a care center. But if we seriously consider their circumstances, we know better.

The employees in a care center can only help so many older people after a disaster. There will probably be some panic, we expect that. Let’s get started to help those we love to be prepared before they need to be. I want you to think about this situation if you haven’t already. What we discuss could be your situation sometime in the future.

15 Items Older People Want For Survival

15 Items Older People Want For Survival

Let’s say we have a minor disaster, older people sometimes will be unsure of what’s going on around them. They may be scared, so let’s hope they can call you if the power is out, the wind is howling, the snow is heavy, or other issues raise some concern.

Hopefully, they remembered to keep their cell phones charged, if they have one.

If they live alone, I hope they have neighbors they can reach out to for help, if needed. If a caring family lives nearby that’s awesome, if the roads still work. We never know what kind of disaster or unforeseen emergency may occur.

Be Careful How Presented

Of course, we don’t want to alarm our older family members, but if something serious does happen, we would want them to have a few items in their home or care facility to help get them through.

Remember, it’s all about peace of mind for them. As I look back, I know my mom was prepared with food and water in her home, even close to the time she passed away.

She taught me well from a very young age to be prepared for whatever may happen. I highly recommend making one of these for all family members: Survival Bed Pouch by Food Storage Moms

You don’t need to get all of the items on the list today. I recommend getting a few things, starting with water and food right away.

I remember going to visit some older ladies at a care center. The rooms were really nice, not like the olden days where they were not so great and often smelled bad. I would take candy and caramel corn to one particular lady. She loved all things that were sweet. So do I! I would now take a case of water to her if she was still alive.

15 Items for Older People

These items would make a great gift to take to your family the next time you visit them. First of all, their budgets are limited in most cases and they may be too proud to ask for things like this.

1. Water

As we all know, water is essential for survival. Please make sure any containers of water have lids that can be opened by the elderly. Man, some of those bottles are so hard to open. I get thirsty just thinking about the water getting shut off. Yikes. The BEST place to buy the BLUE CANS are on this website: Brownells

These cans have the best tasting water and they last 50 years. These come in a box and fit nicely under a bed, in a closet, or on a shelf.

If the water is turned off because of tainted water or a disaster strikes the pumping station or the main water line, we all still need water. The very minimum is four gallons per person per day for me when you consider drinking, some personal hygiene, and limited laundry efforts.

I get thirsty just thinking about the water getting shut off. Yikes.

Of course, it’s easier to plan water storage when the elderly are still living at home. You can buy water storage containers of various sizes that may work well. It’s at the care center when the Blue Cans mentioned above would prove to be a Godsend.

2. Food

Food is critical, even if they live in a care center, because if the roads are damaged or the grocery stores are empty or closed those care centers will be unable to feed the residents after a few days. If you have a loved one living alone they may not even think about having a few shelf-stable items in the pantry.

Actually, they may not even have a pantry. If you can take them at least seven days’ worth of food that you know they would eat, consider doing it today, not tomorrow. Trust me, you will feel so much better knowing they have a few items to eat.

If you can afford 30 days worth of food, that’s even better. Prepackaged items are the best approach. Make sure the food is what they loke to eat and can be eaten without needing to be cooked.

Grab some snack packages like tuna and crackers, pretzels and cheese, or other products that are easy to serve. Walk down the supermarket aisles and grab a few items that don’t need to be prepared. Throw in a can opener too, just giving you the heads up here.

3. Flashlights, Solar or Battery

Without proper light, dark surroundings become unsafe for the elderly, and possibly somewhat scary. Just remember to give them extra batteries to store in a safe place. Place the bed pouch indicated above in their bedroom and put the flashlight in it. They will love it, the security of having light at their fingertips is calming and reassuring. OLight Flashlight

You may want to consider some solar flashlights and lanterns. I have a bunch of these that I keep charged up by placing them on a windowsill that faces the sun during the day. I know if/when I need light when the power is out, I can rely on those solar units.

4. Cash and Coins

There is something about having hard cash and coins in your possession. The ATMs and bank lobbies may not be available if the power is out for an extended amount of time. If the person you care about is in a care center, check to see if they have a safe available for use by their tenants.

5. Sanitation Items

Even though there may be an emergency situation outside, people still need to be concerned about proper sanitation. Consider the best items for your loved ones that will make them feel clean and safe. I’ve listed a few below:

Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes and individually packaged toilet paper (split a case for several families) to store: Georgia-Pacific Envision. Hand sanitizer you can pick up at most stores.

Clean hands will cut down on infections in large groups. If the baby wipes dry out, no worries, just add water to them. They make a great mini-bath for our private areas when needed.

6. Whistle

In times of emergency, we all may need to get the attention of others, and this is particularly true of the elderly. If at home alone, having a whistle to attract those looking for survivors, or to let authorities know someone is at home when the neighborhood is being canvassed to alert the public it’s time to evacuate, having the whistle certainly gives the elderly another level of comfort

Even in a care center, the tenants may need to get someone’s attention. This could apply to emergencies outside, or their own time of distress if they fall down in the bathroom, or can’t get the strength to get out of bed. It is a pretty cheap safety tool!

UST Marine Hear Me Whistle (2-Pack), Yellow

7. First aid kit  

Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. Some could be a major disaster with all the activities expected. Others could be a personal emergency where a knife slips and a finger or hand is injured. A simple band-aid is critical if that is all they need. I think every home and care center room should have some kind of First Aid Kit. It doesn’t have to be a large fancy unit. It just needs those products that are most commonly useful, just in case.

8. Cell Phone Charger

If they have a cell phone, this one is the one I have: Portable Cell Phone Charger Boy, we all tend to rely on our cell phones for communication and to also stay informed on so many levels. It could be that cell phones don’t work because the cell towers have lost power. At least if they are functional you can keep your cell phone working with the necessary charge.

One thing to consider is if the person still has a car, they can use their car charger in a pinch.

People should consider having other forms of communication, like walkie-talkies. A crank radio is also a handy item to have so you can stay informed about events outside the home and weather reports that are helpful.

9. CPAP Charger

This is critical for people who use a CPAP and need oxygen to breathe during the day and/or night. Panic will set in big time if they can’t breathe when the power is shut off for any amount of time. If they have asthma, they need power for a nebulizer. Goal Zero Solar Charger I tested my Goal Zero Solar unit with my son-in-law. It was great to hear in the morning that it had actually run all night.

10. Extra Pair of Glasses/Prescriptions

They need to store an extra pair of prescription glasses in case one pair breaks. Make sure they have at least 30 days, if not 90 days, of their necessary prescriptions, filled, if possible. Yes, I realize Medicare and Supplemental Insurance only cover so much. You may have to pay cash for one extra month of meds if ordering them is possible on their refill schedule.

11. Make a list of Emergency Contact Information

In an emergency people sometimes get confused and need a sheet of paper with names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses of family, friends, doctors, and insurance companies, to name a few. I like to use card stock with my printable: Food Storage Moms Emergency Contact Info Make sure they know where it is filed so they can find it in a hurry. You might even want to post it on their fridge.

12. Make Lists or Copies for Them

Make a list of their prescriptions, the dose, etc. Make copies of their Medicare cards and insurance cards. Make sure they have copies of their important documents like birth certificates, etc. in a binder with printables. Here is my FREE Printable:

FSM FREE Printable Emergency Binder Download  Please be patient for it to load, and the PDF document should show up on your computer on the bottom left side of your laptop or computer monitor. Once the document finishes loading it will be ready to click and print. I prefer printing it on cardstock, and it’s actually in color if you want to print with a color printer.

In case you missed this post on my FREE Binder content, Critical Documents You Need for Emergencies


13. Buddy System

It may seem strange to add this “item” to our list, but it can make all the difference in an emergency scenario. If they haven’t already established a buddy system, it’s a good idea to officially start one.

Of course, care centers would be checking on the residents, it’s the people living alone I worry about. Before my mother died, she and her best friend had set up a calling system every morning to check on each other.

When my mom didn’t answer the phone one day for several hours her friend contacted our sister Susan who lived in the same city. Susan immediately went over to check on my mom. I lived 400 miles away and I called her every Wednesday.

She died on a Thursday, we wouldn’t have known that she had died without her best friend calling daily. This is why it’s critical those elderly living alone have a buddy to check in with every day. Please check on at least one older person in your area as a normal course of everyday things you do.

14. Fire Extinguisher

They need a good fire extinguisher and they need to be shown how to use it when needed: Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher 1A10BC, 1 Pack

Bonus Items: Add incontinence items, pads, disposable undies… Sad but most older people must use them. And creams to care for rashes and any other over-the-counter items you’ve found to be important to have ready access to.

PORTABLE TOILET: Elderly Toilet If the water is turned off for any reason, having access to a unit that lets you relieve yourself could be a lifesaver. You may want to get one for you and your family too.

15. Shower Handle Grab Bars

Safety in the home is critical. We just purchased this one for our shower. Shower Handle Grab Bars Home safety is often something we all take for granted. The next time you visit an elderly friend or family member, check out their bathroom set up and make sure it has the safety features you’d want in your home.

Final Word

Give them a bag with wheels (it’s easier for older people) filled with some extra clothing and space to fill items they need to grab and go with if needed. It’s better to be prepared before they need to be.

I would also talk about the geographical areas and the possible situations that could occur where they live. We don’t want to stress them out, but they need to be aware of why we want them to store a few items for an emergency.

If they watch television they can see what is going on all over the world. They will be so grateful and sleep better knowing they are prepared for the unexpected. May God bless you for helping a neighbor or loved one gather these 15 items older people want for survival.

With these items needed for survival, you and the elderly you help will truly feel confident that preparations are in place, just in case. May God bless this world, Linda

58 Frugal Pantry Items

Copyright Images: Depositphotos_2300332_m-2015Elderly Couple, Elderly Couple Depositphotos_369918914_S

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