In our preparations, we need to make allowances for those people within our family or preparedness circle who may have special needs. Here are some ideas of who might have some special needs and how to deal with those needs.
Babies - Babies, of course, are totally dependent upon others, especially their mother. A mother of a young baby will not be able to help out much with security or other chores at the homestead or retreat. Make sure you are not counting the mother in your security or other plans. Her attention will be focused on the baby.
Babies also may need special foods, medicines, formula, bottles, diapers, etc. Don't forget to stockpile these items and to include them in the mother's bug-out bag. Because they will be growing rapidly, you will also have to take into account their future needs for different sizes of diapers, clothes, and shoes.
Young Children - Somewhat less dependent on others, young children still have special needs. Don't forget to include entertainment (non-electronic) and education in their list of needs. Once they are walking on their own, they can carry their own (light-weight) bug-out bag, which might include a bottle of water, a change of clothes, an emergency poncho, a favorite stuffed animal or other toy, coloring/activity books (don't forget crayons & pencils), and maybe a card game or flash cards. In more long-term preps, remember and plan for the fact that young kids grow fast, so think about their future needs for larger clothes and shoes.
Children should be expected to do chores to help out around the homestead or retreat. Of course, those chores should be age & maturity appropriate. Young children can start off doing personal chores such as brushing their own teeth and picking up after themselves, then expanding those chores as they grow older.
Pregnant Women - Depending on the individual woman and the stage of her pregnancy, pregnant women may be less physically able to participate in the security of homestead/retreat, may be less mobile, and may be limited in what chores they can do. Take this into consideration when making your plans if your family or group contains a pregnant woman.
Pregnant women may also have special needs such as medicine, vitamins, special/larger clothing, etc. If you will not be able to give birth in a hospital due to a SHTF situation, be sure to plan ahead for giving birth at home, including training and special supplies.
Medical Issues - Chronic and long-term illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure, are commonplace these days. You might also be unaware that a member of your group has a chronic illness unless you ask. Special needs of this group might include special foods, vitamins, supplements, prescription medications, medical equipment, etc. It may also limit the kinds and amount of chores they can do. Ask everyone in your group if they have a chronic or long-term illness, and then listen to them about what special needs and restrictions they have.
Mentally Handicapped - Depending on the type and severity of their mental handicap, some folks will have special needs and limitations, and may even be highly dependent on others, which will restrict the ability of their caregiver to fully participate in the homestead or retreat. Be aware of this as you make your plans.
Physically Handicapped - Depending on the individual and the type/severity of their handicap, physically handicapped folks may (or may not) have certain limitations or special needs. Issues of mobility or physical limitations on the type/amount of chores they can do will be of particular concern. However, don't assume that just because someone is physically handicapped, don't just assume they cannot do certain things. Talk to them about there needs and abilities, and plan according.
The Addicted & the Mentally Ill - Alcohol and drug addiction, including tobacco addiction, will prove very problematic. Address addictions NOW, before any SHTF situation. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that you tell any folks with severe addictions that they MUST overcome their addictions or be removed from the group. The mentally ill also will have issues, particularly if they are dependent on medication. Find out what medications they are on, and what to expect if they cannot get those medications. Plan accordingly. Those suffering from addictions or mental illness will likely NOT want to discuss these issues, but you must find out and deal with these issues now, before any SHTF situation.
Elderly - Depending on their age and health, the elderly may have a number of different needs and limitations, but please never discount their knowledge and experience. Talk to them about their needs, limitations, knowledge, and experience, then plan accordingly. Pay special attention to issues of mobility and endurance. Some may still be able to help with security and other physical chores. Others may serve well as advisers, educators, baby-sitters, and help with light gardening, food preservation, and running communications, etc.
Pets - Pets are often seen as valuable family members. I certainly look at my dog that way, often jokingly referring to her as my doghter (sounds like daughter). So, don't forget to take their needs into account - food, water, toys, leashes, collars/harnesses, medications, and so forth. Pack a small bug-out bag for them. Be sure to include copies of any licenses and ownership & vaccination records, which may ease any dealings you may have with remaining authorities. Don't forget about first aid for your pets. You can get pet-centered first aid handbooks or first aid kits.
|Available on Amazon|
|Available on Amazon|