15 Items Older People Want For Survival

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I know of at least 15 items older people want for survival at the very least. 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 or uncle will be just fine after a disaster if they are living alone or at a care center. But will they?

The employees in a care center can only help so many older people after a disaster. There will be panic, we know 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.

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. 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 the caring family lives nearby that’s awesome if the roads still work. We never know what kind of disaster or unforeseen emergency may occur.

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

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. 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:

1. 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.

2. Water, please make sure the cans of water have lids that can be opened by the elderly. Man, some of those bottles are so hard to open. My favorite choice for stored water is: Blue Can – Premium Emergency Drinking Water 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 we all need water. The very minimum is four gallons per person per day for me. 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

Read More of My Articles  What You Need To Know About Water Preservation-101

3. Food is critical even if they live in a care center because if the roads are damaged or the grocery stores are empty 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. Or they may not even have a pantry. If you can take at least seven days worth of food that you know they would eat, do 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 best that taste good without needing to be cooked. Grab some snack packages like tuna and crackers, pretzels and cheese. Walk down the supermarket aisles and grab a few items that do not need to be prepared. Throw in a can opener, just giving you the heads up here.

4. Flashlights, solar or battery, 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.

5. Cash and coins, there is something about having hard cash and coins in your possession. The ATM’s and banks will not work if the power is out for an extended amount of time.

6. Sanitation items like baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and extra toilet paper.Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes, 13.8 Pound and individually packaged toilet paper (split a case for several families) to store: Georgia-Pacific Envision 19880/01 White 2-Ply Embossed Bathroom Tissue, 4.05″ Length x 4″ Width (Case of 80 Rolls) 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.

7. Whistle like this one: UST Marine Hear Me Whistle (2-Pack), Yellow

8. First aid kit: First Aid Kit For Survival and Minor Emergencies (100 Pieces) Light, Compact, and Comprehensive – Perfect for Home, Auto, Road Trips, Camping, or Any Other Outdoors Activities A simple band-aid is critical if they need it.

9. Cell phone charger and emergency solar light (if they have a cell phone), this one is the one I have: Goal Zero Solar Charger

10. CPAP charger: Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator Kit w/Nomad 20 Solar Panel 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.

Read More of My Articles  The Top 12 Items I Recommend For Any Disaster

11. 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 covers so much. You may have to pay cash for one extra month of meds if ordering them is possible.

12. Make a list of emergency contact information for them. 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

13. 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. You can download my FREE printable binder contents on my home page. Look for this picture on my home page and download the pages. It’s a HUGE file so please be patient because it takes a few minutes but I promise it’s worth the wait:


14. 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 program 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 the older people in your area.

15. 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


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 with a few of these items needed for survival.

58 Frugal Pantry Items

Copyright Images: Depositphotos_2300332_m-2015Elderly Couple

19 thoughts on “15 Items Older People Want For Survival

  • December 29, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Hey Linda, you forgot about urinary incontinence products!

    • December 29, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      Hi Lori, I’m glad you mentioned those! I put them under #15, thank you! It says bonus: Add incontinence items, pads, disposable undies… Sad but most older people must use them. And creams to care for rashes. I LOVE suggestions because I may forget some as I’m typing. Please feel free to remind me anytime! I love it! Linda

  • December 29, 2018 at 9:36 am

    This where preppers are not appreciated until an event occurs and they get someone out of a jam. My mother spent time in a place for therapy and as much as they try, they don’t receive a lot of financial support and often time, families of the patients or guests rarely come around if ever, so it is a BIG deal to visit, check on your family member or friend and provide them with necessities.

    I see that the biggest problem in an emergency is often a lack of ability to get supplies due to the weather, poor driving conditions, lack of safety, or simply a lack of supplies and places to get them. So for those who are stuck, providing them with supplies and gear would be a very good idea in case you can’t get to them and thus they will be prepared and ready.

    Linda, you really bring light to things most of might overlook. I like the idea of bedside gear and a “black out” or even a “bug out bag” so one never finds themselves unprepared and feeling helpless.

    • December 29, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      HI Frank, thank you so much, my friend! It’s people like you who keep me going. I really do worry about the older people because they sometimes are forgotten. You are so right if the weather conditions are bad, we need “stuff” for them in case we cannot make the drive to deliver needed items. I hope you had a great holiday! Linda

  • December 29, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Hi, Linda. One thought about the can opener. Many elderly folks with arthritis have trouble with manual can openers, it requires some strength and flexibility. I have seen battery operated electric can openers and wondered if you or your readers has any experience with them. Many ‘canned’ products now come with a pop top lid or in foil pouches but not everything. Thanks for starting this conversation as I think emergency prepping for the elderly is overlooked.

    • December 29, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      HI Debbie, I have arthritic hands and those pop top cans are hard sometimes for me to open. I had to buy an electric can opener. I will look into one of that battery operated can openers. I really do worry about the elderly. I see families are busy and may need a little reminder to get some preps for those who can use some help, whether physically or financially. Let’s spread the word. Linda

    • December 31, 2018 at 12:56 am

      We have a manual can opener (Swingaway) with a large handle that is rather easy to grip and turn. We also have a battery powered can opener (the TouCAN) that worked well for a few years; but, now has a hard time opening cans, since the cutting wheel has gotten dull and is nearly impossible to sharpen. You also need to keep spare batteries on hand and know how to change them.
      Some pop top cans can be cantankerous, so we keep a spare pair of needle nose pliers in the drawer with the can openers and that always does the trick.

  • December 29, 2018 at 11:16 am

    This is good, solid information. Not something everybody would think of. Great article. I love the idea of a rolling bag to have items in case an evacuation is necessary.

    Many of the people who live in care centers have a reduced appetite. I think that happens to all of us as we age. Snack packs would be perfect and the portion size is large enough to share. They are not expensive either.

    A lot of the items listed can be found at dollar stores. The flashlights, batteries, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, etc. That is helpful when budgeting for aiding our elderly relatives.

    Care centers have a limited amount of food. However, there are requirements from CMS for disaster. Ask your facility about transfer agreements. Where would your loved one be transferred to in a disaster? What can they take with them? Ask to see their food disaster policy and their written plan.

    I am a director in healthcare food service and started my career in long term care centers so I have extensive experience on the subject of disaster preparedness in the food storage area. 🙂

    • December 29, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      HI Des Moines Daisy, oh I love your suggestions, thank you for your thoughts and well-needed tips! I read “5 Days At Memorial”. It was about Hurricane Katrina and my life changed. It talked about how the hospitals and so much more having to move patients. Wow, what a disaster. We need comments from everyone to educate us all about areas of preparedness. Thank you!! Linda

  • December 30, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Not totally on topic, but I have 3 walkers that can cradle a bucket toilet to give any of us, but especially someone older, extra support to sit and then get back up after using.

    • December 30, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Hi Jan, oh I’m so glad you brought this up!!! I had my knees replaced and I saved the portable toilet and my walker. I LOVE your comment. I’m going to go add that to the list. Thank you so much!! Linda

  • December 31, 2018 at 12:46 am

    I have to wonder what you consider “older people” ? The wife and I are in our late 60’s; but, still live independently on our small farm / homestead with a horse, goat, and chickens. The horse and goat have essentially become pets; but, the chickens do supply us with more eggs than we can eat.
    Our power doesn’t go out for more than half a minute until the generator is up and running, and many of our younger neighbors know they are welcome here in any long term power outage, so they can charge batteries and take a shower if need be. These “young kids” are in their 40’s and have skills an resources they would bring. My wife’s eldest brother and his wife live in a similar situation only 2.5 miles from here. They are 79 and 77 respectively. Assuming one lives into old age with the mind intact, one of the best preps you can do is to keep physically fit and situationally aware.
    This is a rural community and pretty much everyone and anyone I know have stores of food and essentials on hand. Running out of TP @ 3:00 AM is unthinkable, so it never happens. I think where rural folks have an advantage over their city counterparts lies in part in our remoteness. When the major stores are a 30-40 mile round trip, you can’t just run “down the block” for that gallon of milk, and thus have to plan your trips and keep extra things on hand. Lists are important as we run low on things, since trips to town are infrequent and planned.
    While we still do a lot of “from scratch” cooking, ready to eat canned foods like Progresso soups come in a pull top can and are easy to prepare by simply heating in a pan on the stove or in the microwave oven. I personally also like Sardines in mustard sauce, so those pull top cans can provide a tasty and nutritious snack, also at the pull of the tab.
    We have tons of lighting and plenty of batteries, with spares kept in their chargers. We still have both Coleman and Aladdin mantle lanterns with fuel; but, they are used less now since the LED technology has gotten so good.
    We keep cash on hand; but, if the power is out and the ATM’s are not running, many stores will not be able to “scan” the barcodes and accept the cash for payment, so yet another reason for keeping stored food on hand.
    We have extensive first aid supplies on hand, and medical personnel in our MAG who live within only a few miles.
    No CPAP; but, I do keep some oxygen containers on hand for emergencies.
    95% Pure Oxygen Supplement, Portable Canister of Clean Oxygen,
    We keep at least 90 days of all “required” medications, knowing that some would not cause too much problem if missed on occasion along with a copy of the medication in the plastic shoe box with the medications.
    My wife has numerous people she talks to on the phone almost daily, and I have numerous people I talk to on the radio several times daily, so getting ahold of someone other than 911 is not a problem.
    These are all good things to consider, and someday when we get old, I’ll have to look the list over again, LOL.

    • December 31, 2018 at 4:59 am

      Hi Ohio Prepper, I have the giggles!! I’m going to be 69 in January. I don’t feel elderly yet!! LOL! I was mainly thinking of some of my neighbors who can no longer drive and pretty much only go to their church on Sunday, and to pick up groceries once in a while. It’s a real effort for some. I hope that makes sense. Happy New Year! Linda

      • January 2, 2019 at 11:28 pm


        I’m going to be 69 in January. I don’t feel elderly yet!! LOL! I was mainly thinking of some of my neighbors who can no longer drive and pretty much only go to their church on Sunday, and to pick up groceries once in a while. It’s a real effort for some. I hope that makes sense.

        That makes perfect sense; but, I am now at the age I used to consider old. It’s interesting how your perspective changes when you get to our age. I will be 68 in April and the wife will be 69 in May. Her brother and sister in law live about 3 miles to our west and are 79 and 77 respectively. I can’t drive on the highways due to some vision problems; but, all of the “old” people I know still drive quite well and while we may do things a little more slowly than we did decades ago, we still all function rather well. While not many around our rural community would call themselves “preppers”. Rural living almost demands some amount of preparation, since a trip to the grocery is a 30-40 miles round trip by car or truck, and running out of TP in the middle of the night would be really bothersome. We also all tend to have gardens and some livestock and seeing bees, chickens, cows, goats, or hogs is not out of the ordinary. And yes, we do have electricity, Internet, TV, telephones, hot & cold running water and fluch toilets. At least most of us do, since we also have a sizeable Amish population.

  • June 28, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    When my mom was in a senior’s condo, the power would go out occasionally. She complained that it would get really hot in her unit which was south facing and she couldn’t put on the air conditioner if the power was out. I bought her a battery operated fan. It used a ton of batteries, however, in an emergency it was just the thing for her. It worked really, really well and it also had the option of being a plug in fan. She gave it away to someone else after she moved into a nursing home. I sure wish she had given it back to me. 🙂

    • June 28, 2020 at 4:23 pm

      Hi Hattie, I have a portable fan that uses batteries and I can plug it in as well. It’s a lifesaver when you lose power. Great comment, I LOVE it! Linda

  • April 4, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    You should put scissors in your bedside bag or bug out bag. Some of those packages are had to open. It might be helpful to put in a rubber bottle opener ,flat rubber disc for opening water bottles as they are hard on the hands.

    • April 5, 2021 at 6:52 am

      Hi Allison, great comment and a great reminder to all of us. I totally agree with you! Linda


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