Is there a special dishwasher for the elderly?

A fellow caregiver asked...

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?

Expert Answer

Chris Moore is a certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) and the founder and president of Solid Rock Enterprises, Inc. He is a contractor with more than 24 years of experience in residential construction. He specializes in using the principles of universal design to help seniors age in place in their own homes. He writes a monthly column called Housing Matters on the Senior News website.

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 click on page 12 You can also find more ideas on Universal Design in kitchens at