Being the Handy Man for your Elderly Parents - A Non Handy man's Do It Yourself Guide
Elderly Parents – A Non Handy man’s guide
As an elderly parent caregiver you are called upon to do a number of things that fall outside the guideline (there are guidelines?) of just a caregiver; personal nurse, cook, maid, psychologist, peacekeeper, self help guru and many, many more.
One role that few think about is the commonly known term of handy man.
Even though this type of chore may be uncharted territory for most of us driving up to see our parent on a ladder trying to repair something is enough to give us all chills. Once this situation happens, we begin to take on this role as well as what we do for them currently.
A handy man/caregiver repair person is:
Someone who repairs or replaces light bulbs, fixes the commode, stops a leak, levels a picture or painting, props up the fence that has blown down, rakes the yard of debris and a whole host of chores inside and out.
To get ready for just such an occasion (and it will arrive before you know it)……… it is good to prepare with the correct equipment for the job(s) that come up almost seemingly daily. A do it yourself kit is a really convenience for both you and your parent.
A great deal of the time, looking for an elderly parents' tool kit or any tools really, at their home takes up more time than running out to the car or truck and retrieving your own set as you know just where you put them and what is located in the kit.
Some helpful tools that can be “life savers” and time savers include:
- A small handy man tool box – this can be placed in the trunk of a car for the occasional visit to an elderly parents home for the almost certain request when something is no longer working.
The tool box should include some if not all of the following:
- Duct Tape – this product is in and of itself a lifesaver for a number of temporary fixes.
- Wire Cutters/Strippers - these are invaluable for those jobs to repair or replace a lamp cord or fix a light in the garage.
- Expandable wrench – several sizes are helpful in tight situations, or for big jobs.
- Pliers - several sizes are good as many jobs require the use of one size or another.
- Several sizes of screwdrivers both slot head and Phillips for home or computer repair.
- Measuring tape – hanging pictures, rearranging furniture for safety
- Plumbing tape – Teflon tape to stop leaks in a shower head, etc.
- Adjustable clamps of various sizes, for auto repair and possible leak repair.
- Box of different size screws and nails, one box each – repair furniture, hang pictures, hold a gate together temporarily, etc.
- Small pen knife - for cutting duct tape and striping wires
- Flashlight - how many times are we called out just after dark?
- Small First Aid Kit
- Air Gauge - for safety, check the tires on the ground AND in the trunk before they drive - short or long trips.
- Set of Battery Cables - small infrequent trips make these a "must have"
- Small battery operated drill with multiple sized bits, both slotted and Phillips
- Books – Plumbing for Dummies, Home Improvement for Dummies (great ideas for small repairs and maintenance).
- WD-40 or other spray lubricant.
- 10’ +/- of rope – hauling away items
Bungee Cords – for wrapping items securely and attaching to the truck
bed or in the trunk so the item does not come loose and shift from side
- Small saw – for those pesky limbs that go "bump" in the night
- can come in many sizes and configurations, please take a moment to
think about the small jobs that will come up before choosing the perfect
- Socket Set – for simple auto repairs
- Extension Cord or two (you may have to leave one)
- Ladder – A step ladder is great for inside work, a larger ladder 5’-6’ for outside more versatile situations.
- Safety Goggles - to protect the eyes from small objects
- Small First Aid Kit - comes in handy for small cuts and abrasions, that WILL occur from time to time.
This list is small as every situation is different in each elderly parents home. To be armed with what seems to be trunk full of tools that you may never have used before is a scary thought, however not to have them with you when being a handy man is required, is a scarier thought indeed.
Any clerk at a home improvement store will be glad to provide a "kit" that includes all of the above and many things that through their experience can help you become and stay prepared.
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