Survival of the fittest should be taken to apply as much to those who are fit of mind; how many great minds would be lost to history if only the able-bodied were able to make it through a potential survival situation? It could be you or it could be someone in your group that you can’t do without. Here are some precautions that should be taken when facing a survival situation with disabilities…
Chronic conditions can include depression, cholesterol, diabetes, high-blood pressure, asthma and heart conditions that require constant rest and medication. Many chronic medications can be legally procured ahead and stock-piled with an explaining letter from a doctor; natural measures should be taken as a complementary measure to medication and never a replacement for it. Ensure that you familiarize yourself with the medical history of each of those in your group, including their chronic conditions and allergies.
A Support System
Setting up a support system is vital, especially so if some of the people in group need a little more help to get around. Anyone in the group with special care needs – temporary or permanent – should be assigned a caregiverr; so much better if they have an existing background in dealing with the particular situation or have an existing medical background of any sort. The need for a support system is as much mental as it is physical, especially for reasons of keeping up morale or for anyone who suffers from depression or anxiety; it’s worth noting that St. John’s Wort is increasingly studied as a natural antidepressant – again, a good supplement, though not replacement.
Deaf and Hearing-Impaired
Those who are hearing-impaired might make use of a hearing-aid – it goes without saying that spare batteries should always be part of the kit; for those who are able to afford it, having a back-up hearing aid as part of the kit is worthwhile, too, for if you find yourself in a serious situation where their primary aid malfunctions and they are unable to find another one. Familiarize yourself with at least basic American Sign Language (ASL) as you never know when it might come in handy.
Sight-Impaired and Blind
Those who are sight-impaired might struggle to get around and might have more trouble navigating unfamiliar territory; where possible, a trusted guide will be an essential help. Aids like glasses should be taken exceptionally good care of – and, can be used to start a fire if nothing else is around.
Impaired mobility can be due to several reasons, including individuals who have to make use of a wheelchair. It goes without saying that they will need more help to get around when navigating certain territories. A good pair of crutches is also worth having as part of your kit – even if there is no-one who requires them in your group at the beginning of the hike.
How have you handled disabilities in a survival situation? Tell us your tips or stories in the comments.