Of What Use is an Aging Person?

This is an issue that many struggle with – the idea that they are “too old” to be useful to their family and neighbors. The Survival Blog addresses this issue here.

In addition to the suggestions that post has, let’s add in others:

  • Wisdom and experience with handling food prep, storage, and cleanup the “Old Way”. Don’t underestimate this – when the Covid restrictions hit, and local stores were out of bread, suddenly younger individuals realized the utility of knowing how to turn flour, water, salt, and yeast into something that was edible. I’d had a long experience with breadmaking, thanks to my husband’s desire to go “Old School”. I bought Laurel’s Kitchen (still a very good introduction to providing meals that are both nutritious and inexpensive), and a few specialty cookbooks (Beard on Bread is indispensable), and learned to bake.
  • Sewing, knitting, crocheting – all of those skills both stretch out a budget, and allow for clothing creation and repair. We augment our heating with strategic use of afghans. In a pinch, I can make mittens, hats, and scarves for family. I’m learning variations on other items, and have passed those skills on to my children (except for my son – he, rather surprisingly, learned needlework in middle school).
  • Backup child care for emergencies. Organizing pickup from schools, should the parents be held up at work by a disaster. This doesn’t have to be a commitment to daily babysitting, just having the ability to put a plan into operation, should weather or national disaster interrupt normal operations. That would include a list of people who have been authorized to pick up local kids, notify the families where they are, and keep them fed and safe until they are reunited with their parents.
  • Pet care – feeding, walking – for short periods. Taking in mail, if the absence is longer than a day or two.
  • Simple home repairs. I set up our home network, security system, and will be stopping off today or tomorrow to get a new tub diverter that has become worn out. I’ll be putting it in myself, if I can (limited dexterity with my arthritic hands might be the issue). My goal is to add to the number of things I can repair. I have a lamp that has a damaged cord; I have the replacement, and will be looking into its repair over the next couple of weeks.
  • Teaching – basic Math and English skills, along with useful skills for children. Gardening. Home maintenance. Household Chemistry (soaps, cleansers, home remedies for mild illnesses). I may even resurrect my old knot-tying skills from Girl Scouts.
  • Communications – building a local neighborhood watch (it’s not just using the hardware, it’s knowing who to trust, logging activity on the street, using GMRS handhelds, and training others). Setting up training on ham radio, if possible. Serving as an Elmer (more experienced amateur who assists newbs), participating in local nets to gain experience and to build relationships, should the SHTF. Building relationships with local first responders – police, fire, hospitals – and assisting them with communications in drills. Getting to know who can be trusted, and – more importantly – who cannot.

You can probably add your own recommendations to the list. The point is, old does not have to mean useless.