Older and younger people during SHTF

Lot of questions about how older people did, or how younger cope with everything in that period.

first aid

If we talk about older again it comes to the fact how many people they had around them, i mean did they spent that time in the group, alone, or just with spouse. And again it comes to their skills.

Older people during SHTF

It was not about “they are old and they are not strong, so we do not need them”. Not in my case. Everyone was needed. The question “how older and very young people did during SHTF?” is to wide. Easiest answer would be that they did like everybody else. Not well, life was hard.

During my trip out of the town, over that mountain, to get some stuff, one of the most important persons in the group was men in his 70ies, he was not strong, he was not powerful, he was old grumpy dude. But his value was in fact that he was something like tracker, scout and in same time guy who knows how to handle horses. In group of strong armed men without too much rules that old guy was something closest to a leader, because nobody of us had a clue about horses and about winter in the mountain.

That old man knew both things, mountain and horses, and he had value because of that.

Inside town, in my group, one of my family members was a old guy who was during 2. world war fredoom fighter. He fought against Germans and Italians, was wounded couple of times, had bunch of medals (another older guy from my group fought on Nazi side but this is another story).

Before SHTF nobody paid too much attention to his stories about terrible time during his fight in WWII, i mean we all respected him, but younger folks in my family even made jokes with him when he started with his stories, we were like ” oh s..t there he goes again how he ate leafes in the woods and fought Italians” or we always joked with him because he never wanted to watch war movies, his medals were shiny things, without some meaning for us.

His stories about hiding, hunger, killing were like fairy tales, jokes almost.

But guess what? Few years later when SHTF suddenly we started to pay attention on him, we had some questions for him, what he ate in that bad time? How he hide from enemy? Did he use some traps? How bad was it? On what way he killed enemy?

Or other example: what do you think how many young people in their 20s know something about natural remedies, herbal cures. Not too many, but some old ladies in my region know that stuff, obviously they become important. Nobody called them “superstitious old folks” like before SHTF.

I do not know are you following what i am trying to say here. But my point is that everybody had hard time in that period, young and old. Age did not matter much, only how useful a person was.

So instead of power some of the old people had enough brain and experience, knowledge to be equally important as young and strong people.
Again, of course old smart and expirienced guy, who was alone, did not have too much chance.

But being old and member of group, i do not see that as a bad thing. Knowledge and skills are the key. And i do not see strength and gun as the only important skills for some future SHTF scenario.

Children during SHTF

But just like in normal times kids are most important things, we all do everything that we need to do for our kids today. People did everything that they need to do for their kids in that time too. Everything.

Just like kids are most important thing in life of the parents in normal time, it is same in very bad time. Some usual things were pushed away sometimes, so most important thing was to keep the kids safe. I guess proper techniques of raising kids are hard to obtain when you must be ready in almost every moment to run, shoot, kill, when your first worry is to stay warm, or find food on some funny ways.

It was impossible to maintain some level of “schooling” for school age kids, i mean even if you had time to do that, you just spend it on some more important things. So basically, in most of the families, groups, houses or whatever kids were most important thing in meaning of keep them safe, but for everything else were not enough time, chance, or good will sometimes.

So obviusly those things left some traces on kids from that period. Lot of troubled young man grow up from those kids. Not to mention fact that some of the teenagers from that time learned that human life can be taken easy.

So if you had kids in that time, and you keep eye on them, covered them not only from physical danger but also from dangerous new meaning of life, those kids had some chance in future life to be normal persons, husbands, fathers, doctors whatever.

But if you protected them physically but let them watch and listen to everything that happened around them, they learned some things the wrong way too.

I know some kids from that time, they survived everything, they grow up. Most of those kids became good husbands and fathers, we can call them normal men. They do not remember too many things from that period, their parents made sure they do not witness too bad stuff.

I also know another kid from that period, he was something around 10 years old in that period, his father learned him some things in that time, to make him strong man, he sometimes showed him how people killed people. That kid grow up and become drug dealer, with many deaths on his hands.

I guess he learned in his young age that human life can be taken in order to obtain some things and carried on with that idea.

36 responses to “Older and younger people during SHTF”

  1. Gerald Franz says:

    Dear Selco,
    Your column on the old people and young people is very much appreciated. You bring a viewpoint I have not heard others tell about and you do it from experience which means a lot to me. As an old man I hope I might have something of value to offer and you give me hope. One thing older people may contribute is to tell of the long history of propaganda which has been used to influence people. Nations and people are made to be enemies when they are not, to try to make us fight innocent people. When you have lived through many such times you see this pattern being used again and again. We can tell of such times of lies and hopefully warn the young not to be deceived. Thank you for your unique insights based on real life.
    Sincerely, Gerald

  2. john says:

    Old people are not always grumpy. They get grumpy when they are forced to be around young people they don’t know. I find myself getting grumpy when I am surrounded by people much younger than me. It is because times change and younger generations grow up with different ideas and different ways of doing things and I don’t understand them and they don’t understand me. That makes me grumpy.

    • Selco says:

      🙂 yes
      It is not only reserved for old people my friend, you see when i having coffe in some cafe and i am forced to listen Justin Beiber from speakers i am getting grumpy, because i want to listen something else. Every generation have their ways, and they think they know everything.

      On the other hand, i am old if i compare myself with bunch of 17 or 18 years old kids.

  3. steven says:

    Everyone has a value regardless of age. Older people may not have the physical strength but they have the wisdom from their life experiences. Although it is all dependent upon the individual you never know what they know. The only way is to talk to them.

    Youngsters need to be shielded from the insanity as much as possible, for as long as possible. Kids need to be kids to learn the necessary skills of life. There will be plenty of time to learn of the dark side of life. No need to rush it.

  4. Older people will have skills that will be CRITICAL to life in such times, even moreso in the US I think than in “the former Yugoslavia” because of our somewhat different lifestyles.

    Too many people age ~30 to ~50 have been SPOILED. My wife cannot sew a button on a shirt – her mother OTOH could copy a dress or suit she’d seen in a store or even on TV or in a catalog… I don’t know WHAT most people would do if they had to kill and butcher a chicken – for example — after all, chicken comes pre-packaged on those little foam trays!

    • Smitty says:

      Right on!My Grandfather taught me to hunt,fish,and live of the land.I was in the Boy Scouts & I was in the Army(10th MTN 3/172)My kids(27&28)have no survival skills at all,I didn’t teach them because they didn’t want to learn,they’d rather watch TV & play video games.My bad!

  5. JoelC says:

    SO…you think I’m “grumpy”. Well, possibly yes. As I have aged, I have a great deal of trouble “suffering fools”. What has departed from my personality and demeanor is “patience” in dealing with younger adults (not children) who refuse to see the wisdom of experience. That is frustrating, and since my remaining time here is noticeably limited, I do not have the energy nor the inclination to tutor a “know it all” young adult who already has life figured out. If, however, a person shows a willingness to learn and apply them-self, I will spend whatever energy is necessary to help them.

    It’s the age old adage of “learn from my experiences, or be prepared to make all of my prior mistakes”…your choice.

    • Angelo says:

      Nice quote!

    • Patriot says:

      Your comment reminds me of the attitude of Eastwood in the movie Grand Tourino!! How right and proper it is.

    • Selco says:

      Actually i do not think anything like that at all, as i said before i do not generalize things. I just meant this one guy who was grumpy.

      There are many things to be learned from older people, people with life expirience. Young people have tendency to think that they know everything.
      Strength without knowledge is usually worthless. Best thing what we can do is learn, and even better thing is to learn from someone who have life expirience. People usually learn on their own mistakes, it is better to learn on somebodies else mistakes.
      My mistake was in fact that i did not want to listen stories from older family members about their experiences.

  6. Peggy says:

    It depends on what part of the country you were raised in in the usa. I am 55 and I was raised around people who plowed with mules and horses. They used home made medicine. We watched as the pigs and chickens were butchered. We helped haul water from creeks and used outhouses. In Appalachia the young people know more about survival than other areas. Later on in life I killed and butchered chickens just by memory. I learned on my own how to gut and skin a deer. Even though I lived a prosperous life growing up in Ohio-I had roots to the mountains and to people who told us all we needed to know. The old timers made she we heard. If the time comes you remember in an instant those things you have to know and also what the old ones said.My aunts made us keep button boxes and have a kit to hand sew all of the time. We were treated with herbal medicines. I think its time that those of us who were taught should start to practice those things. We will need to know.

    • mari owen says:

      Not only just practice those things, Peggy, but pass whatever information on to anyone who is willing to listen. We are losing through age and death, so much information that will be invaluable to us. When we had the chance to learn, we thought we didn’t need it. Now we see we need it, and those who can teach are fading away and we can’t find them anymore. We must, must find others to teach, and find those who are willing to teach. Don’t let the knowledge die!

      • RegT says:

        Unfortunately, many young people won’t take the time to learn what they could from us older folks. I recently offered to teach a young (middle thirties) man how to reload ammunition for his firearms. He claimed he was interested, but could never “find” the time.

        I’ve raised, trained and worked draft horses, raised and milked goats, producing cheeses and yogurt, raised and killed chickens, gardened for food, harvested timber, learned to work wood, learned to fly (and train others to fly) helicopters and light fixed-wing aircraft, been a police officer and a registered nurse. Robert Heinlein once said that specialization was for insects, and that every man should know how to accomplish much more than one narrow field of endeavor. I took that to heart.

        I will gladly share what I know with those around me if and when times get rough, but the younger generations need to be disabused of the notion that we older folks are nothing but a drain on society. If they can drag themselves away from their Super Bowls and X-boxes and Nascar races long enough to listen.

    • Olefaithfull says:

      Likewise. I still have a farm in E KY but can’t sell my place in Vegas and so am stuck here but get there as often as possible.

      But I apply my knowledge from there and teach as many as will not look at me like I’m wacko how to can, sew, shoot, grow… right here in Sin City.

      My grandmother who’s been gone almost ten years is still remembered as knowing how to grow, kill, or preserve anything God gave us. I try to honor that memory.

      • Miguels Helpmeet says:

        I also live in Sin City, and would LOVE to learn (and for my babies to learn) how to do all those things. Especially, canning and growing. 🙂

        I’m trying to teach myself, but it seems as if I am alone.

        email, Miguelshelpmeet (at) yahoo (dot) com

  7. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Very interesting perspectives sir, we appreciate your efforts to educate before its too late. Parents who are preppers often wonder how much they should teach their kids. Butchering meat, learning how to shoot well, how to use tools – all skills boys and girls should have some training with.

  8. Bobbie Jo McKinney says:

    Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to write this about older and younger people during SHTF scenario.
    I am alone, but I’m in an community that is ALL older and elderly and many are alone as I am. My hope is that we will band together to help one another.
    I have mentioned that we need to do that now. However, so many are not wanting to believe that the SHTF scenarios are just over the horizon. Amazing that they can come to that conclusion considering how many other countries are in SHTF life right now.

    God bless you and keep you. I look forward to your sharing your strength, hope and faith.

  9. Tommy says:

    This article reminds me of a saying I’ve used for many years now. “When I was 18, I thought my father was the stupidest man on the planet. By the time I reached the age of 21, I was amazed at how much the old man had learned in only 3 short years.”

    Now at the age of 51, I’M the old man…

    As a carpenter and foreman over the last 30 years I’ve learned EVERYBODY brings something to the party. The old bring wisdom and experience, the young bring strength and enthusiasm. The real trick is in getting them all to work together as a team.

    I was first made foreman at the age of 26, I had all ages 18-55 under my “Command”. Believe me getting men 50+ years old to listen to a “punk kid” was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Luckily for me I had the bosses blessing. When a older carpenter complained that he never learned anything from “No Kid”. The boss told him “Pay attention to this one (Me) and you just might.” Thanks Boss

    Sometimes a publicly given vote of confidence can go a long way towards establishing continuity and cooperation in your group. Whether at work or in a SHTF situation. Don’t automatically dismiss someone because of age, young or old. We used to hold meetings once a week to discuss (new ideas/bitch), over pizza and beer. LOTS of good ideas became known in this relaxed atmosphere. In SHTF scenario this will become even more important to the groups survival/mental health…

  10. momjac says:

    At age 62. I think this is one of my favorite posts. Thank you!! There are many things I don’t know that my grandma knew, about stuff, and I am trying to learn those things by researching on the internet, and practicing many skills that are new to me, but were everyday life to her.
    Im keeping a notebook of “Living Life the Old Way. Things like how to clean without all the cleaning supplies and chemicals. You would be amazed at what can be done with baking soda and vinegar! and salt… not just for cleaning, but for sanitation/first aide, and preserving foods and a hundred other things. Things like dealing with your bodily waste… gramma had an outhouse, but there are other ways too. Google “humanure handbook”.
    I do believe that the older folks are going to be critical the the survival of any group. If there was more respect even in good times, many younger folks would save themselves a lot of hardship and heartache in life.

  11. mari owen says:

    When we are young, we think we know it all. When we become old, we wish we knew it all. It is a mental process, and I think the young want to be invincible. They have not yet developed maturity. It was not necessary to grow up fast when everything was easy and handed to them on a silver platter. In times of war, that is not an option. Look at the young men in the service to our country. They have had to grow up and become responsible because their life depended on it. That may be where we will be soon. I think the more you can learn, and I have learned so much from Selco, the better our chances of survival.

  12. Crazy lady says:

    At 56, a lot of elderly relatives and friend that I have learned things from over the years are no longer around or are now incapacitated. I have made an effort to buy books about the old way of doing things, such as the Foxfire series from the 70s. At least with a book, I can look back one day and try to educate myself on some of these issues I do not have time to do now. Not on my Kindle, but a book I can put back on the shelf or burn to stay warm if I need to.

  13. Conrad says:

    Peggy…… It seems you and I were raised by the same kind of people. I was raised by hill people from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and I spent many summers there with my grandparents. I too watched them kill chickens and hogs and such. They had no running water and had to pump it with a hand pump on the back porch. There was no electricity in the early days, only kerosene lanterns. They had two milk cows a plow mule, hogs, chickens for food and eggs and turkeys too. They had cured hams hanging in the smoke house and only bought or traded for the basic staples, salt, sugar and flour etc, but they were happy and didn’t wish for a better life and thanked God for what they had.

    My Grandfather taught me how to track and hunt game, plow a field, plant crops and my Grandmother taught me how to sew clothing and replace buttons. Nothing was wasted. We always had a button box and to this day I have one also. I was taught to say thank you/no thank you and no sir/yes sir but above all be respectful to my elders and be mindful of their lessons learned. Liquor and tobacco was taboo and every day was a work day from dawn to dusk and every Sunday was the Lords day. I have spent most of my life in northern Ohio but I will never forget those wonderful times in those old mountains.

    In those days the elderly were a wealth of information and were respected for their knowledge, when the elderly spoke you listened. I am 67 years old and it really peeves me to see the way the older folks are treated by kids these days. The kids today make fun of us and disrespect us and don’t care to learn anything from us. My own kids know nothing about me. They don’t know or care where I was born, how and where I grew up or what I did during the three years of service to my country during the Viet Nam war or my family history. Every time I say “back when I was a kid” they roll their eyes and say “here we go back to the roman chariot days again” and then laugh. I don’t feel comfortable around younger people and try to stay in the company of older folks because we understand each other. I guess if tshtf the only kids that will survive will be the kids that listened to the advise and learned from their elders.

    • Steph says:

      Hi Conrad,

      I am in my mid 40’s but I do see so much of what you are saying about disrespect for age. Part I think is the age gap and natural, the rest I believe is the destruction of the family unit. Without talking politics, it’s sad to see how many, in my opinion, the majority, no longer value the family as people whom had harder lives did and have in the past. I could list off how many ways and whys to what happened to the family but I’m sure you’ve all seen it already.

      My Grandmother kept us together tight and I thank her beyond words for it now but I see so many that don’t have close family ties and therefor don’t have respect for the older members of their family, let alone older people in the general public. It’s so sad. Everything I am and everything I have I owe to my family in one way or another.

      My Grandmother is still alive and not in a home. She is 92. She will be with all the rest of us when shit hits the fan. I am now hoping to teach my Granddaughter, who lives with us, the value of family above all else. My parents also live in my home and I could not even begin to describe the value of us all being together. We did not make the decision lightly 6 years ago, but have always been close and it just seemed natural.

      It has been a Godsend for all of us. Thankfully I am provided the space that this can happen. Not everything is always “rosy” but I damn sure wouldn’t have it any other way. Family should be valued above everything else, and especially those that have given so much to the rest of us, our older people!!! It’s a given with my family.

      I don’t know how anyone can have a full filled life until they can actually say they love others more than themselves. I would die for my family, I know that because I can’t imagine life without them.

      Oh ya, the grumpy thing. I also totally can agree with that. Heck, I’m grumpy at my age already and I know it. I believe it comes when someone can see the big picture and it’s irritating to have an immature person spouting about something we see as maybe not important to us anymore. Not to say it’s right, just saying it can cause grumpiness. We need younger around or we’d never have a reason to worry about living through much of anything. Both young and old are valuable! I need younger, it helps keep things in perspective… but I also understand when I’m irritating my folks… being in the middle gives me a little bit of perspective hopefully. I think worry causes a lot of grumpy. Above all, we need each other, I NEED to have my family to love and be loved. That’s why I care about surviving. I’ll go to hell and back for them. I’m afraid we will too.

    • Steph says:

      On another note, I so feel your pain. I conveyed the family message to my oldest daughter but failed somewhere with my youngest (the mother to my Granddaughter). Pain does not begin to describe what I feel. Little respect to anything we have to say and living with none of our values. I blame myself and the world we are living in. Both children are night and day, what happened?

  14. Pops says:

    I am now one of those “old people.” I’ve worked with youngsters most of my life, in one way or another. Most I could reach and teach. A few were just too convinced they knew it all and wouldn’t accept that an “old phart” could teach them anything,

    I suspect I will be one of those who will have to survive “alone” on my little plot out in the boonies. It is not very defensible and cannot be made so. However, I will do what I can to the very last and promise to make life very miserable (and short) for any one who wants to attack me.

    Thank you for this post. It is a good reminder that all have a purpose in this life and in the coming troubles.


  15. Greg RN says:

    Thanks for addressing this issue, It is always on my mind as an RN, I’m 54, I have a Heart for my Lord, a desire to be a Servant to those who need help, I am also a Rifleman and thinker, my grand parents were from Poland and Germany, escaping the Nazi’s as children of focused parents. Americans are so Jaded, thinking the SHTF scenario won’t happen here. Fools, can’t see or perceive, there will be those who are prepared and not. It is the nots that will seek to take advantage of the Elderly and Young. They will form Gangs and Packs, Short of reasoning with them, one will be forced to Kill to protect the Elderly and Young.
    God raises up his Warriors in times such as these. They fulfill his promises.
    Thanks Again for Sharing Dude.

  16. Greg RN says:

    Sorry, slipped my mind, I’m gettin old, new guy, Nous defans, Mosby, WRSA links has much to say about the usefullness and roles to be played for the older folks. RN speak, if on Meds, have 6 months supply and research naturals. Figure out who you can trust.

  17. Acorn says:

    How is it that Selco says one old guy was grumpy and then some folks jump to the conclusion that he thinks all old people are grumpy? Not following the logic on that. Seems like some folks got chips on their shoulder. Thanks for another helpful post Selco!

  18. Larry says:

    Hi Selco: I’m back. Depending on how my work schedule works out, sometimes I can pop in for a bit here and there. I am enjoying your posts, and those sent by all the others. Everyone has something valuable to add. I am one of those “old folks”. At 72, and a great grandfather, I guess some see me as a grumpy old man too. Others see me as a fatherly figure. I was injured in a truck rollover accident a while back, and had my hips and pelvis broken. I live with a constant pain, and limp when I walk. BUT, I still go out hunting, in the mountains, and even rode my old horse before she went blind. Back in my younger days I trained race horses, so even now, I know how to “gentle-break” them, so that they lose their fear, but keep the spirit. I am still an expert rifleman, and my favorites include a .50 cal. bolt action repeater, that is an “upper”assembly, on an AR-15 lower. It holds into 1/2 minute with handloads. This old timer still packs a bite.
    I worked all my life as a carpenter, and have all my tools. My son is now following in my footsteps, and in many ways, is even better than I.I have the tools and experience to build a house, and do the electric wiring, plumbing, cement work, tile work, cabinetry, and everything else, I can weld, and have built up several military vehicles from scrap to like new. I too am worried that all this may go to waste if I die before passing it along. Be well, my friend, and keep up the good work.

  19. Cache Valley says:

    Much of this goes ditto for disabled, poor or injured preppers as well as the younger and older preppers. Some good people get overlooked or excluded from potential group membership because they are automatically assumed to be a liability without any investigation of what they bring to the table. Groups that have too strict of a criteria for membership lose out on a lot of talent.

    • Selco says:

      You are right.
      And one more fact, most of the killed, wounded and “missing” folks during my SHTF event were young people.
      And i am not talking only about soldiers, i am talking about civilians too.
      That speaks something too.
      Young man have tendency to be “too confident” in his strenght and skills, he thinks that he knows stuff.
      Some of them do, but lot of young folks dies because they did not know some basic stuff.

  20. HQ5thMar says:

    Let me start by saying thank you Selco for another good post.

    By the classifications on the replies here I am considered young. I am in my mid 30’s. To me that number looks big. I have injured my back while serving my country and feel like I am old. I tell myself I am not old. My family, including my parents, look to me as a wealth of information and experience. I constantly look to try and better myself. I do not know it all and many people on here know more than I do. RegT I wish I lived near you because I would take you up on your offer in a heartbeat. I would love to learn a lot of what you know. I served as a Marine here in the US and got out with an honorable discharge. I turned down sniper school in favor of being a father. I know I could have done them both, but thought I could be a better father by being home more. I was number one in my unit in HTH. I have been trained in the Marines for combat first aid. I was an Eagle Scout by the age of 13. I shoot 96% on the police firarms course consistantly. I have been trained in CPR and First Aid and have to renew and review them yearly. I am trying to become EMT and paramedic certified. I have knowledge on wilderness survival. I can cook and know how to sew. I will be learning how to reload ammo very soon. I do not think I know it all, dispite the fact that I am considered young.

    I do not wish to take away from what others have posted on this site or the experience they have. The last thing I want to do is make anyone feel as though I am trying to discredit them or say that I do not value their knowledge and experience. But not all young people are as dumb, inexperienced or closed minded as you all make it sound. Young people get the wrap that they think they know it all. But some times they DO know something you don’t. Age is only a number and not all knowledge comes experience, but usually the best knowledge does.

  21. Tim says:

    Not all of the younger kids should be written off.
    I worked with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for over ten years. About half of the young men we taught actually wanted to learn, the other half were there because mommy and daddy wanted a cheap daycare. The more they were willing to learn, the more we taught them.
    I now work a seasonal job dealing with teenagers. Most of them are city raised and don’t have a clue about survival, but there are a few exceptions that treat their elders with some respect (we’re pretty informal). I try to pick out the ones who want to learn and give them extra attention. The main problem I have is their lack of logic. They have never been taught that actions have consequences and that nothing is free. Getting through that barrier without a crisis is harder than teaching them. Feelings mean more than actions, everything has to be “fair” (I really hate that word), and food comes from the grocery store.

    Thank you for another thought-producing article Selco.

  22. brian says:

    Thank you for this. The US is going to go through something similar. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  23. usa woman says:

    I watched a show called Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic channel. They show some extreme lifestyle behaviors and make some people look obsessed but some of the information they present is quite helpful for preparation purposes.


    You can also google Doomsday Preppers and there is something on YouTube about it.

  24. Buck Jackson says:

    Greetings to all;
    I’m 64 YOA, 5-8, with a 30 inch waste. I have a very liveable pension from being a cop in So-Calif, but I can still out dumpster dive any crack head in town. I’ve got my living expenses down to about $700 a month, with the balance goin to preps. These are the ‘fat times’, don’t be afraid to dumpster dive, as soon these times will end…. I don’t want them too, but the writing is on the wall ;^(

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