Is there a special dishwasher for the elderly?
I was over at my mom's house the other day and noticed she was having a hard time leaning down to put in the dishes. Is there dishwashers out there where you don't have to bend down so much?
The solution to an accessible dishwasher for seniors is to raise the dishwasher 6"-12" so that the top rack of the dishwasher is level with the adjacent countertop.
How difficult this is will depend in large part on what type of countertops your mom has. If the countertops are laminate, it would be relatively easy to cut out the top and raise the dishwasher. If the countertops are granite or other solid surface the job will be more involved. To raise the dishwasher, it will have to be removed, have the countertop cut out or removed, and a platform built to support it in the raised location. Then a new top would be installed at the higher location and a panel that matches the cabinetry would be installed underneath the dishwasher. Here's an example:
You might want to consult a consult a contractor to help you make this modification. To find a contractor go to our directory of contractors You might also look at other areas in the kitchen that could be modified to make your mom's life a little easier. Here is an article I wrote on Universal Design in the Kitchen. Go to this web page http://roanokeva.com/SNJune/and click on page 12 You can also find more ideas on Universal Design in kitchens at http://www.geappliances.com/design_center/universal_design/
Dish drawers may be an easier option. Kitchenaid and Fischer and Paykel both offer drawer units in single and doubles that load from the top once the drawer is opened. They fit in the same space as a standard dishwasher and connect to plumbing and electrical the same way. No countertop cutting required.
A countertop dishwasher is an even easier option. The best part is that they are relatively small, which is excellent for a person who either lives alone, or who is better off doing small loads on a regular basis (so as not to get tired out). They are fairly inexpensive and a very easy install.