The living situation where grandpa and grandma live in their retirement community, far from their children, is rather new. Some 60 years ago, the elder generation typically lived with their adult children. Or at least lived within walking distance.
From a social-economic and evolutionary point-of-view, grandparents have a very important duty. Aside from the love of their presence, grandparents exist to teach. Grandparents teach their adult children how to be better parents. Grandparents teach skills, values, and life lessons to their grandchildren. Not that I want to grow old quickly, but I do look forward to teaching and playing with my future grandchildren. When all three generations coexist under the same roof, this can be a lovely, healthy way to live. Grandchildren should not think of their grandparents as those old people who send gifts on my birthday.
Here are a couple of links about the importance of grandparents: Grandparents give human evolutionary edge and The Ties That Bind: Grandparents and Their Grandchildren.
With many disaster situations, you will often find the best retreat or survival location is with your close family members. If a fire or hurricane has destroy your home, living with your parents for a few months is a good way to get back on your feet. Merging households with your family or survival group can cause a lot of stress and result in a lot of bad feelings. This article is about “doubling up“, which is where two or more family merge into one homestead.
Doubling up was a common practice during the first Great Depression of the 1930′s. It was cheaper for multiple generations to live in one house. Grandma could watch over the children while mom and dad worked in a factory or tended to the crops in the fields. Grandpa typically worked so long as his body permitted. Until Social Security came into being, the concept of a leisurely retirement was simply not possible. I must say in with regard to men, it is actually quite healthy for men to continue working into retirement years. Studies have shown, the longer men work, the longer they live.
In the next Great Depression, doubling up will be a common event. This trend is already occurring. With the 2008/2009 financial crisis, and the resulting recession, too many people lost their jobs. After exhausting their saving, the only recourse for many was to move in with their relatives. The next Great Depression will make the 1930′s look like a Sunday picnic. Back in the 1930′s, a high percentage of people were still tied to the land and food production. Today, a mere 2% feed the other 98%. In the next Great Depression, I am expecting malnutrition and starvation to be widespread. Evidence of this prediction can now be seen in Greece, which has already entered the next Great Depression. Starving Greeks queue for food in their thousands
Many families will have no choice, but to merge their household, to “double up“. The families of adult brothers and sisters will consolidate into one. Retirement communities and retirement homes will go bankrupt or close. Grandparents will go to live with their adult children. Adult children without jobs will return to live with their parents. Grandchildren will go to live with their grandparents, as families break down or parents travel very far to find any work.
One the main reasons why doubling up will occur is safety. In the next Great Depression, crime, especially robbery and home invasions, will be come prevalent. The increases in crime were demonstrated in Argentina and Greece, as they recently entered their Great Depressions. Living alone, Grandma and grandpa will simply not be able to protect themselves. But what the grandparents can do is take a security watch, provided their eyesight is good enough. During the first couple years of the economic collapse, homesteads will need to maintain high security for 24 hours every day. A young punk with a AK-47 might be brave, but rarely wise. I’d much more fear an elderly man with a deer rifle who has been hunting all his entire life. Because crime and violence will be so widespread, a single family of two adults will be unable to maintain a homestead by themselves. A homestead will need to have at least 6 adults with shooting skills to preserve security at a home. That is 6 adults with a semi-automatic rifles, such as an AR-15, AK-47, AK-75, M1A, AR-10, or FAL. Shotguns are also very effective for close range self-defenses (50 yards on less). A pistol chambered carbine rifle is better than nothing, and useful for close-in defense. Upon a full economic collapse and break down of civil society, I can easily image where every adult member of the household is carrying a firearm. And never be more than a few steps away from their rifle or shotgun. I’ve read it many times throughout the survival prepper community, the purpose of a pistol is to allow you to fight your way towards your rifle. After a few weeks of constantly carrying a pistol, you will miss not wearing it, just as cell phones do today. Now is the time to go obtain your concealed carry license. Go through the effort. It took me 3 months in total to obtain my concealed carry license. In the non-liberty loving states of California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey, it will likely take longer, if not completely impossible.
The other reasons that families need to come back together is finances. It is much less costly to run one house than two. As family members lose their employment or lose their retirement incomes, the only way to survive is to live together. Today in Greece and Argentina, cuts in pensions and rises in inflation have destroyed the purchasing power of retirees’ pensions. During the 1st Great Depression, it was not uncommon for one working adult to financially support 3 non-working adults and more children. Living together, family chores can be more easily shared. Some family members can stay home to watch the children or care for bedridden family members. This allows other family members to work outside the home. During the next Great Depression, any job is better than no job. For myself, I’ll do whatever it takes to feed my children, including digging ditches, picking crops, whatever. Most parents feel the same.
The following are some preparations to make in anticipation of multiple family coming to live in your home.
Doubling Up Preparations:
- Goals of Your Homestead
- The goal of doubling up families into a single home are quite simple. You are supporting each other physically, economically, emotionally, and spiritually. You are no longer two families under one roof. You have become one family.
- If you are non-related individual coming together as a survival group, nevertheless, you are becoming a family. In order for a survival group to work, all members will need to contribute, share, and sacrifice, just as families do. Anticipate arguing, fighting, making up, kissing, and moving forth, just as families do everyday.
- The major activities that will dominated your household after an economic collapse, are: producing income, producing your own food, providing security against crime, maintaining your property, caring for family members (especially the very young and very old), preparing meals, cleaning, maintaining sanitation, sleep, trading & bartering, and attempting to enjoy life. Expect that you will have very little time for leisure. Surviving is hard work.
- Your families will live together until the economic situation improves, and perhaps never split. Elder parents will likely live with their children until death. But you will need to consider that a family member might leave, if they find a job or their circumstances improve.
- Qualifications of Entry into Your Homestead
- Family Members – In order to keep peace in your homestead, I would recommend that you create a set of qualifications for who you will permit to enter your homestead. Even among siblings and parent/children relationship, there may be such differences in personalities, such it would be impossible to live together for long-term. For family members, you will need to consider whether you can live together for a long period of time. Desperate circumstances may force incompatible families to live under the same roof. Therefore compromise, patience, and tolerance will be needed by all parties. Any difficult persons will need to be told forthright to be nice. Upfront and in the beginning, there should be an agreement among the merging families to understand if living together is expected to be a short-term or long-term situation.
- Non-family Members – For non-family members, you should establish a set of qualifications for what you will accept. I would recommend that you make a list of what values are important to you. Prioritize the lists into three categories: (1) Must Have, (2) Prefer to Have, (3) Not Important. For example, laziness and tobacco smoker are deal breakers for me. If you are not willing to work as hard as I do, out you go. In the business world, this is called a ranked (or stacked) scorecard. Some of the line items on your qualifications list may include:
- Religious Beliefs and Practices
- Moral Values
- Work Ethic (or lack thereof)
- Sexual Promiscuity
- State of Health and existence of any medical dependencies
- Personal Hygiene
- Skills and Work Capabilities
- Medical Skills (registered nurses and doctors are highly prized as survival group members)
- Complimentary Skills (You have skills in gardening and hunting, the candidate has skills in carpentry and communications, these are complimentary.) If everyone in your group knows how to hunt and fish, but no one knows how to cook or do home canning, your group is unbalanced.
- Prospect of Generating Income
- Willingness and Ability to Contribute Money to Household Expenses
- Communication Style
- Willingness to Compromise and Work as a Team
- Stress levels, anxiety, temper
- Addictions to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or any compulsive behaviors
- Sleep Cycle (ex: night owl versus morning person. If you are a morning person, then having a household member who is a night owl might be a good thing. The night owl can take the overnight security watch shift.)
- Number of Children and Prospect of Having More Children
- Likelihood of the Candidate’s Extended Family Members needing support or making a surprise visit to your homestead. If the candidate’s grandmother shows up at the door, what will you do?
- What Tangible Goods and Tools does the person bring to the homestead
- What Survival Supplies the Person Brings to the Household
- The ability to teach, share skills, and mentor other team members, especially homeschooling of children
- Undoubtedly, You Will Have Additional Qualifications to Add to This List
- Sleeping accommodations
- You will likely not have enough bedrooms. So you will need to be creative. You might need to split rooms. Consider repurposing a living rooms, den, sitting room, or basement into bedrooms. Separate rooms by rearranging furniture to create a physical barrier. Then hang sheets to create a visual barrier. Some rooms may become bedrooms only during the night, and then become living quarters for the entire homestead during the day. Even a warm space on a hardwood floor is more desirable than sleeping on wet, cold ground with no cover.
- You will likely want consolidate all the children into a single bedroom, and not co-sleep with their parents. This is manner, the children can maintain consistent sleep and school schedules. Parents who must be awake at night to pull security watches or do shift work will then not disturb the children. Unmarried boys and girls should be separated into different bedrooms to allow for privacy. In my homestead, I am preparing to receive two families under my roof. All the boy children will go to one bedroom. All the girl children will sleep in a different bedroom. Half of the bonus room will be converted to an adult bedroom. The other half of the bonus room will remain as the children’s play room with all their toys.
- You will not likely want to purchase extra mattresses, which will be sitting unused for years. New mattresses are bulky, expensive, and take up too much space. Instead of storing extra mattresses, considered storing several sets of inflatable mattresses. Also, having a few spare camping cots is a good preparation. I plan to have a couple camping cots and a couple small roller beds available for new members to my homestead. If there is time and money are permitting at the last-minute, I’ll buy a couple of twin mattress tops for night-time use,. During the day, the twin mattress tops will be push up and against a wall to provide additional daytime living space.
- Definitely, buy and store lots of extra blankets. Wool blankets are the best, which retains heat even when wet. With several extra blankets, you can improvise bedding. Two blankets could serve as bedding and one wool blanket on top to keep you warm. One blanket can act as a pillow. Extra warm blankets will be one of the best survival preparation items for any family. I’d budget for 4 spare blankets per person. The military surplus wool blankets are perfect for this situation. You might always want to root around Goodwill Stories to find good quality blankets without stains. Wash and dry thoroughly, then store the blankets in moisture-proof plastic bags, until needed.
- If you can afford to buy some extra sleeping bags, these will not go to waste after the economic collapse. You’ll want outdoor camping-quality sleeping bags of a neutral, natural color. Select a color that best matches the predominate outdoor color of your location (in desert regions, select tan/brown color; in northern forest areas, select green camo colors). Every family member will need an outdoor quality sleeping bag, in case you need to bug-out and sleep under the stars. Children’s sleep-over bags are essentially worthless, and should not be considered. The cheap sleep-over bags are not water-proof, and do not provide sufficient warmth in the outdoors. Even for your children, you want outdoor-quality sleeping bags. The sleeping bags should be rated to the lowest expected temperatures of your region. If your region averages 30 degrees F during the Winter, I’d buy sleeping bags rated down to zero or 10 degrees F. I’d rather be too warm, rather than too cold in a sleeping bag. During the Summer, I can always sleep on top of a sleeping bag.
- Water Purification – Consider the possibility that public water and sewer are not available. You might need to carry water from a distant source and purify at your homestead. For this reason, having a ceramic water filter, such as the Big Berkey, is the top most priority for any homestead. Buy a couple spare sets of filters. You will always want lots of spare buckets. You will need spare buckets for carrying pre-purified water. You will need buckets to store purified water. You will need extra buckets for washing and cleaning. Don’t mix the use of the buckets. With black market, write on the buckets, “Dirty Water Only” or “Clean Water Only”. I recommend that every family keep a dozen spare 5 gallon food grade buckets on hand for water handling purpose. And if you can afford it, obtain a garden cart or stable wheelbarrow to haul the filled buckets around. For water storage, budget for 1 gallon of purified water per day per person for drinking and meal preparation. For sanitary usage, you will need to store even more clean water. There must be a strict rule that all water consumption must be first purified. Have a couple 55 gallon water storage barrels will serve you well for storing rain water or potable water.
- Disposal of Trash and Human Wastes – The most likely cause of death after major disaster is waterborne diseases. Strict discipline is needed by your homestead and your community for the disposal of all wastes, including human wastes and trash. Most home plumbing systems will be under great stress with more than one active family living under one roof. During an economic collapse, I expect some public sewer systems to fail. Be prepared to turn off your home’s valve to a public sewer hookup, to prevent back-flows. With more than one families living under your roof, a home septic systems could easily become overwhelmed. If you have a home septic system, make sure you keep up with its maintenance, and occasionally use Rid-x to keep the septic system flowing well. You might want to consider constructing an out-house. If an outhouse is not possible, you will want to dig a disposal hole to contain human wastes. Use makeshift chamber pots to contain any human wastes produced overnight. Then every morning, bury human wastes. Cover the human wastes with lime, baking soda, kitty litter, wood ashes, or a small layer of dirty to reduce the smell and keep insects away. During the day, keep the hole covered with wood or plastic, which will minimize insects. Any human wastes should not be disposed near any water source. Bury human wastes at least 100 feet, perhaps more, from any water source. And dig the disposal hole about 5 to 6 feet deep. Do not let the disposal hole remain open more than a couple of days. Flies will land on the human wastes then land on people’s food to start a disease cycle. When digging your disposal hole, if you encounter ground water or very moist soil, find a different place to dig the disposal hole. You want your disposal hole to be deep and dry. After a couple of days usage, fill the hole completely with soil and dig a different disposal hole. Because your continually digging effort, having a couple of strong shovels will be among your most useful tools. This will be one of the regular chores to be performed weekly. Vegetable-matter wastes can be feed to pigs, chickens, goats, and perhaps rabbits. Non-human trash should be first composed or recycled, if possible. For example, zip-lock bags can be washed and reused to store non-food items. If the trash cannot be composted, then garbage should be buried or burned. Burial is your first choice to maintain security. Smoke of any sort will attract refugees and bad people to your homestead.
- Personal hygiene – All family members will need to have great discipline about washing their hand, brushing their teeth, and going to the bathroom. Set up strict rules about personal sanitary daily requirements and practices.
- Laundry – Keeping your clothing and bedding clean will be a huge challenge. Without automated washing machines, washing of clothing and bedding will be very tedious, very labor intensive. You will want to store lots of extra laundry detergent. Two laundry soap items that store for a very long-term, and are relatively cheap are (1) washing soda, such as Borax, and (2) Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap. For many reasons, you will want to store plenty of bleach. I recommend that you buy several large galvanized steel tubs and a very large pot to boil water. Use one galvanized tub for washing. Fill one galvanized tub with dirty clothing, hot water, and laundry soap. Then use a clean toilet bowl plunger to agitate the water. (Toilet bowl plungers are cheap, so dedicate one plungers or two to just laundry. Write “laundry” on the plunger with black marker. You certainly don’t want to mix up usage of this device.) Agitating the dirty laundry water is a good task for older children. Take your time to let the soap and agitation work into the dirty clothing. Expect stains to build up over time, that’s okay. You are attempting to get dirty, oils, and bio-matter out of the clothing. Once the clothing has reach an acceptable level of cleanliness, use a wooden pole to pull the wet clothing from the wash tub. Let most of the water drip down from the washed clothing, then drop the washed clothing into the 2nd galvanized tub filled with clean water for a manual rinse cycle. Stir the dirty clothing in the rinse tub until most of the soap is out of the clothing. If the water continues to bubble after a lot of stirring, perhaps you used too much soap. Drain some of the water and add more clean water for a 2nd rinse. Many folks make the mistake of using too much soap. You will need to gage how dirty the clothing is and measure how much laundry soap is needed. Hang the clean clothing to dry on a clothes line. During the winter, you’ll need to run a clothes line inside your home. Let the clothing dry completely before wearing or storing for future uses. The drying process is helps sanitize the clothing. For any clothing that contained human wastes, dried blood, vomit, or any other human secretions, such as baby diapers, those clothing items must be boiled and sanitized. Make a small fire away from the house. On cinder blocks or rocks, prop the metal wash tub over the fire. Let the water come to a modest rolling boil. Once the clothing is in the boiling water, reduce the flame to very low. Add laundry detergent. Add bleach for white clothing. Let the clothing boil for 10 minutes. Then go through the rinse process twice. Isn’t this fun? After you wash baby diapers in this old fashion method, you’ll dream for the days of laundry services and disposable baby diapers. Without electricity, washing clothing is very, very hard work.
- Personal cleanliness – Keeping your body clean will be a challenge also. First, you will be sweating more than ever from the hard work needed to maintain your homestead. On a day-to-day basis, you will be likely dealing with garden soil, animal wastes, and disposal of human wastes. Expect to be dirty more frequently and for longer durations. Personal discipline is required to clean yourself at the end of each day’s labor. Keeping your body clean will help you avoid diseases. For this reason, I store lots of extra bath soap. Good old fashion soap and water is a wonder to maintain personal cleanliness. A full bath will be considered a lovely luxury. On a weekly basis, every member of your household should take a full bath, if possible. It is a lot of work to boil the water and haul it to a bathtub. A sponge bath from bastion or large bowl will be your most likely daily option. For a sponge bath, use ne wash cloth to apply wet soap, and another wash clots to rinse-wipe your body. And then a clean towel to dry your self. For a short-term disaster situations, my family stores lots of baby wipes and toddler wipes for personal cleanliness. Consider also storing a couple of camping showers, even to be used indoors over your bathtubs. Examples: Outdoor Solar Bath Bag and Solar Heating Shower.
- Wounds or Injuries – Any wounds, injuries, or cuts must be cleaned and sterilized immediately. Make this a household rule. Any puncture wound or any cut that produces blood MUST be reported to whomever is designated as your household’s medical coordinator. You cannot risk getting lockjaw or an infection. Every adult should get a tetanus shot every 10 years. Even the smallest cuts should be immediately cleaned and then covered with antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Do not let even the smallest cut go unattended for more than a few minutes. You will likely not have access to antibiotic medicines. And you will likely not be able to access or afford care at a hospital. In the next Great Depression, even the small infection will be life threatening. Having someone in your homestead with medical skills will be invaluable. A registered nurse or MD doctor will be in great demand after the economic collapse.
- Disease Control - You might need to allocate one room of the house as the sick room. If someone becomes ill, they should be moved into the sick room. This will allow other family members to get their needed sleep. And the sanitary needs of the ill person is better controlled from a single room. Eventually and likely every year, each family member will become ill with a flu, cold, injury or ailment. Do your best to prevent the spread of a cold or flu to other family members. In my family, we believe in vaccines. Our family gets a flu shot or flu mist every year. It is my opinion that older people and those with chronic illnesses should also get a pneumonia vaccine shot. After the economic collapse, newly arriving members to your homestead should be kept in isolation for about two weeks. It can take a long time for a disease express itself, as diseases are easily spread by travelers and refugees. I would expect diseases such as cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis, other infectious diseases, and food borne diseases to make a resurgence during the next Great Depression. When there is lack of clean water, lack of sanitation, lack of sufficient food, many diseases will increase suffering during the next Great Depression. Have a plan to deal with one or all family members becoming ill.
- Death – After the economic collapse, you might need to deal with death at home. As sad as it can only be, you must deal with this matter quickly. If the rule of law is in existence, call your local police to get their guidance. If the rule of law does not exist WROL), then you must handle this on your own. To handle a death, there are several things you must do. First, take pictures of the deceased, if possible. Second, take notes about the time and cause of death. Third, wrap the body in plastic sheeting or in large trash bags. Fourth, find a good spot to bury the deceased. The hole should be 5 to 6 feet deep to prevent animals from digging it up. The burial site should be far away from any sources of water. Fifth, after the burial, place a marker on the grave and have a remembrance session. Sixth, sterilize any closing or bedding that was used by the deceased. Throughout this entire process, wear sterile gloves and face mask if possible. And continually wash and sterilize your hands to prevent passing any diseases. Seventh, take a picture of the burial site. Eight, collect all the photos, notes, and paperwork of the deceased are organized into a single folder or envelope. Ninth, collect and store any of the decease’s worldly goods to be handled by a will, if exists, or given the deceased’s closest relatives. Keep an inventory of the collected items, so that there will be no disputes later. Tenth, go back to living and your daily work. The deceased person would have wanted you to go on and have a great life. As harsh as it might sound, morn the dead briefly and then get back to work. You have people who rely upon you. If you become depressed or non-functional, other people will suffer as a result.
- Kitchen Sanitation – In the kitchen, set up specific zones for meal preparation and washing of dirty dishes. Meat cutting areas should not be reused for other meal preparation activities. Meal preparations areas should be sanitized before every meal. Places where dirty dishes are staged and washed should not also be the location of where meal preparations. All dishes must be completely clean and dry before storing or using for the next meal. Do not stack wet plates on top of one another. Most folks don’t realize, it is not the soap the sterilized plates, but the drying process. Soap and drying both are essential to cleaning any eating utensils or cookware. In a survival situation, there may be a need to eat food that is questionable or past expiration. Any food items that smell bad or have an “off” taste should be disposed. I would suggest a practice that the healthiest member of your family sample the food 30 minutes before the rest of the family eats. If that person start to have an upset stomach, dispose of the food immediately. It is better to go hungry than eat bad food. I have had food poisoning before. Food poisoning is a miserable experience. That was one week that I’ll never want to repeat. During my food illness, I had access to doctors and antibiotics. In an economic collapse situation, any food related illness can easily result in a painful death. Incorporate discipline in all meal preparation to limit your risks. Since I expect some of my long-term stored food will go bad, I store more than I need. When in doubt, throw it out. I’d rather lose 5 pounds due to thin meals, rather than 25 pounds due to food poisoning.
- Sharing Workloads
- Governance of the home will be tricky. Generally the views and opinions of all adult members of the homestead should be respected. But when it comes down to the hard, final decisions, the owner of the home has the final word. There is an old saying, “If you take the King’s pound, you take the King’s law.” I am generally a very tolerant and flexible person when it comes to other people’s views, religions, and beliefs. However you decide to govern your home, clearly communicate the decision-making process in your home, before anyone comes to live with you.
- What I can’t tolerate is slackers and malcontents. If you live in my house, you work and do chores. No excuses. There is no sitting around playing video games while I’m working my ass off. Every adult should be assigned a full set of chores and work duties. Every child from age 6 and above should be given some type of chore. Older children in the teens should be given a full load of work, but not some much that it interferes with their school work.
- There should be an agreement about all residents of your survival homestead about workloads. Hard work, each and every day, is essential for survival. Gardens need to be tended. Animals needed to be tended. Meals need to be created. Water needs to be hauled and purified. Cleaning will be an endless task. If you ever have a spare moment not filled with work, you are doing something wrong. Every able-bodied adult and older children should have a full day’s of work assigned. Only when ill or injured should an adult have a restful day. Even grandma and grandpa can be assigned chores. Workloads should be assigned based on skills and physical abilities. If grandma and grandpa are no longer able to work, perhaps they can take security watches, provided their eyes are good. Grandpa and grandma could babysit the young children. Or assist with meal preparation. One of the realities of life is the longer you work into your older years, the longer you will live.
- Happy Household
- Sharing Meals – There is nothing better than a hot meal at the end of a hard day’s work. The entire family should gather to share the big daily meal. There should be a firm rule to attend dinner, unless someone is ill or pulling guard duty. Eating meals together is the best way to create family unity.
- Holidays and Celebrations - It is important to keep and preserve your family holidays. This will provide a sense of normalcy and continuity. Even if you cannot afford a birthday cake or Christmas presents, celebrate with what you have. Many holiday decorations can be obtained from nature. It is important to include celebrations into your lives. All the toil and hard work must occasionally stop to allow time for happy moments to be shared with the household. Births, graduations, marriages, job promotions, retirements, and more should be celebrated. My instructions to my friends is to throw an old fashion Irish wake upon my death. Instead of mourning for me, rather I’d prefer that my friends roll out a keg of beer and plates of food for my wake. Tip a glass and throw back a shot glass, rather than cry and mourn for me.
- A Good Night’s Sleep – When you are working hard and long, your body needs time to refresh and recover. The average person needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Don’t cut this short. With lack of sleep, you are less productive and less mentally sharp. You are more likely to become depressed or ill, if you have insufficient amounts of sleep. Force yourself and your family members to maintain good sleep discipline. Attempt to go to bed and wake at nearly the same time very day, week day and weekend. Human bodies like consistency. There is a point in everyone’s day where you must say, I’ve done all I can do, and it is time to go to bed.
- Anxiety and Stress – After the economic collapse, some people will just frankly lose it. Many people will not be able to handle the stress and worry. Those that don’t cope or can’t make the mental adjustments will suffer greatly. Family members need to watch over one another and provide encouragement. Eating well and sleeping well are keys to reducing stress and anxiety. Faith and the belief in a better future is essential. A positive attitude is its own self reward. There will be a tendency to escape into drugs and alcohol to feel better. But drugs and alcohol start a downward spiral that is often not recoverable. If you are currently taking medicines for depression or anxiety, now is the time to heal yourself and try to wean yourself off of medicines. Work closely with your doctor reduce your dependency on any medicines. After the economic collapse, you can easily expect to lose access to many prescription medicines. If you can reduce your dependency of prescription medicines, then you will not suffer so greatly after the economic collapse. If you absolutely must rely upon medicines, such as for diabetes, then I recommend that you store lots of extra medicine and search for alternative sources of your needed medicines which can be produced naturally by yourself. For a chronic illnesses where medicines are essential to continue life, such as type 1 diabetes, I simply don’t have any good advice. If you or a family member has a chronic illness, I advise that you research how you can preserve access to the needed medicines during a disaster or economic collapse.
- Religious Practices – Whatever your religious beliefs, continue the rituals and practices that provide peace, guidance, and happiness for your family. Prayer or meditation can easy your mental burdens. Faith is an important part of happiness. You must have faith in a higher cause, faith in yourself, and faith in a better future.
- Charity or Helping Distant Family Members - Set expectation early about what material or financial resources will be shared with charity or with distant relatives. Have firm rules about what your household will and will not support. If a person’s distant relative calls asking for money, does the individual or the entire household contribute? During the next Great Depression, you can easily expect beggars, refugees, and distant relatives showing up at your homestead, asking for help. If a relative of a household or survival group members shows up unexpectantly at your homestead, what will you do? Have specific rules and procedures for handling any visitors. Since security will be at risk constantly, I recommend that charity be given at a distance, if at all. Criminals will pose as beggars to see if your homestead is a good target. Criminals will pose as delivery people, mail delivery, or as working for utilities. Don’t let anyone onto your property, until they have been properly vetted and qualified as reliable. If you are having worry about feeding your own children, then sharing with strangers cannot be permitted. If you only have enough food for your existing household, what will you do if your brother’s family suddenly arrives. Anticipate this ahead of time. Set firm rules for duration of any visit. Expect your heart to break with all the suffering that will occur. But you must focus first on your household and your survival. If and only if you have excess, then provide to charity.
- A Positive Outlook – Your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors will all be counting on you for support. One of the devices that keeps me sane and mentally positive is to simply keeping myself too busy to worry. Work, family, and some minor hobbies absorb 26 hours of my 24 hour day. I am typically to busy to be worried, because I have something that needs to be done. One of the best devices to keep positive is to have a dream or a mission in life. And don’t have just one. Have many dreams or missions. That way, when one dream or mission fails, as often does, you can transfer your energies immediately into other goals. My dreams and goals is to raise my children into productive adults, buy a hobby farm for my retirement, and live as long as I can with interesting things to do. My dreams are simple, but that is all I want. You need to establish your own dreams, goals, and missions. Once established, your time and mental focus should be towards your goals. With single-minded determination, any obstacle to your goals simply just alters your path, and doesn’t become insurmountable barrier.
- Keep Track of Everything
- Food – It will be paramount for you to keep detail inventories of all your supplies, especially food. How much food you have in storage will guide many of your decisions. If you have lots of food in storage, you have time for discretionary activities. If your home is at risk of running out of food, you need to have a sense of when that is likely. I am a strong advocate of pre-planning how you will produce food after an economic collapse, even if you can’t grow a garden today. Will you be able to grow your own fruits, nuts, and vegetables? Can you raise small animals for protein? Can you gather wild foods near your home? Can you hunt, trap, or fish close to your home? Have you stored enough garden seeds for the future? All these questions need to be considered against your food inventory and food production plans. I highly recommend that you buy lots and lots of garden seeds. After the economic collapse, garden seeds will be more valuable, by weight, than gold or ammunition.
- Household Chores Schedule – Keep a detail schedule for household chores. But posting a weekly chores schedule, expectations about sharing workload are not misunderstood. When a chore is completed, the person should note the date and time completed. If someone slacks off or neglects their chores, the chores list will make it self-evident.
- Medical Supplies – Keep a list of what medical supplies are needed by your household, especially prescription drugs. You will need to carefully monitor the use of medicines and first aid supplies.
- Firearms and Ammunition – Keep a detailed list of what firearms you own. Record the purchase date, purchase source, serial number and any other identifying information. Keep track of number of magazines and ammunition supply. By keeping track of your ammunition, you’ll know if you have capacity for firearms training or barter with the ammo.
- Stored Fuel – You will need to carefully track the fuels you store, including gasoline, diesel, propane, lubricant oils, and firewood. Know the anticipated expiration of each stored unit, so that you don’t damage an engine with old fuel.
- Purchase / Barter Lists - Keep a running list of what items your household need and what items you have to offer in return.
- Other Lists – Here are some suggestions for other items to track:
- Precious metals, such as gold and silver coins, ingots, and jewelry
- Garden seeds
- Work and trade skills of the household, and what skills you wish to learn
- Contact list of friends, family, and service providers such as doctors
- Any financial resources you might have, such as pension plans, 401(k) plans, IRA plans, real estate ownership
- No doubt, you can think of many more
Doubling up a household is not easy. But if done correctly, the situation can become joyful for all. Set expectations early, so that no one is surprised by household rules and by shared responsibilities. Continuously communicate to avoid misunderstandings. Allow everyone a little privacy from time to time. Be patient and tolerant of little errors. Be forceful and clear about the impact of big mistakes. In preparing ahead of time for this potential, the living situation will be eased for all the members of your bigger new family. Fortunate for me, my mother-in-law is a lovely lady, so her joining my household would be easy. As for my own siblings and in-laws, they would require additional forbearance.