The popular television series Home Improvement, followed Tim in his popular television show, Tool Time. The show demonstrated the problems and difficulties of tackling a dilemma with the wrong tools. The work was harder, possibly unsuccessful, potentially dangerous, and at risk of causing peripheral damage..

Caregiving can be much the same scenario. Too many caregivers are thrust into a caregiving role, unprepared, ill equipped and with little to no knowledge of the resources available, or even what to ask for.  The results are multifold; finances are strained, emotions become raw, relationships suffer, and the health of the caregiver and those needing care may be compromised.

The right tools can be found for most situations. Hospital beds can be ordered for large size people, walkers come in a variety of configurations, wheelchairs come in various sizes, homes can be adapted for physical limitations, medicine can be packaged to accommodate an individual’s needs, adaptive equipment is available for hearing or visual impairment, and equipment is accessible to aid with a wide range of activities of daily living.  Care provisions are available in a variety of options from home care assistance to supervised living with varied levels of care.

It is difficult to find information on the internet if you don’t know what to type in the search engine of your favorite web browser. Finding the resources and knowing what to ask for maybe the most difficult part of developing a caregiving plan. Starting with your physician, social worker, home health agency, home care provider, senior center or church are all good places to begin your journey. Discover the resources and determine which are best to meet your particular needs. Don’t guess at what you think you need, instead describe the situation of the person needing assistance as well as the family caregivers. A good plan of care does not come out in a preprinted format.  No two caregiving situations looks the same, no good plans of care are alike. Find the right tools and the right resources to deal with your individual situation, and massage the plan as needed.

My dad was a firm believer in the right tool for the right problem long before Home Improvement was even thought of, probably even before there was television.  He had a huge tool collection which I acquired after his death.  It is the most complete tool collection in the whole neighborhood.  Despite being so well equipped,  I find myself occasionally hammering in a nail with the head of  pliers, complaining when it takes too long and the wall ends up with unnecessary marks while my dad’s words “right tool” echo in my head.  Taking a few extra moments to grab the right tool makes the job easier, the frustration less, minimizes the damage, and the results are more satisfying. Whether you’re hammering a nail or struggling with caregiving duties remember to grab the right tool.