The goal of invisible accessibility is to give you as much independence as you can have when living in your own home. This means critically thinking about the everyday tasks that we do, and how to make them more functional as we age, and especially as mobility begins to deteriorate.
Many seniors underestimate the challenges of doing laundry as they age. While it may seem like an easy activity, there are few other household tasks that require you to lift a significant amount of weight, turn knobs, and bend in ways that may be difficult.
Creating a laundry room that is accessible isn’t the simplest fix. When you’re thinking about renovating your laundry room to make it more accessible, take these four things into consideration.
1. The Location of Your Laundry Room Should Ideally Be Near Your Bedroom
We’ve talked a lot on IA Living about having as much as possible on the first floor of your home. If you’re able to have your bedroom on the first floor, the laundry room should be in the same location. However, if your home isn’t able to accommodate this, and your bedroom is still on the second floor, having the laundry room in the same location can be extremely helpful. Most of the laundry done for your home will constitute clothing, so it’s helpful to have your laundry room a short distance from your closet or bedroom.
2. Front Loading Machines Are Preferable To Top Loading
Front-loading laundry machines help you minimize the effort needed to do laundry. By avoiding the motions of reaching into the laundry machine and taking clothes out, the machines minimize the risk for injury or slipping.
3. With Front Loading Machines, Pay Attention To Height
While front-loading machines are easier to use, it’s crucial that they are installed at the right height. Having to bend over in order to take items out of the laundry machine is not ideal, so make sure that your washer and dryer are at least 10 inches above the ground. This makes it easier to take items out of the laundry machine without bending over, and also makes the floor by the machines much easier to clean. You also have the option to add accessible storage below the machines if they are on pedestals that are hollow, which may help with the organization of your space.
4. Invest In A Machine With Adjustable Digital Controls
Digital controls on your laundry machine work well when it comes to limited mobility. Digital buttons are much easier to use than turnable knobs, but make sure that the size what appears on the screen can be adjusted. As vision deteriorates, most seniors require larger numbers and letters on the machinery that they use. If your washer is digital but you can’t see what you’re doing, it won’t be effective as an accessible machine.
No matter what the layout of your home is, if you’re committed to ageing in place, it’s the everyday tasks that you need to focus most on so that you can remain in your home long-term. If you’re looking for more accessibility information, click here for the full IA Checklist.