Designing a Laundry Room for Aging in Place

The basics of laundry room design include storage, lighting and space planning. An additional consideration is incorporating features that will accommodate the aging process. A bit of planning now will make your laundry room usable as aging limits physical abilities.

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    Senior laundry
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    While most appliances don't last a lifetime, there are design features that make appliances more user-friendly for aging eyes and bodies. Spend some time reading washer reviews online before you begin shopping.

    • Select easy to read controls located on the front of the machine. Controls at the back of the machine can be hard to reach if a wheelchair is needed.
    • Select a front loading washer.
    • Select a dryer with a side-opening door.
    • Purchase laundry pedestals or raise the machines 12 to 15 inches above-floor with built-in cabinetry.
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    Laundry Room Blue Cabinets
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    Just a few modifications in storage installation will keep cabinets useful as mobility decreases.

    • Install upper wall cabinetry 3 inches lower than conventional height.
    • Install pull-down shelving in upper cabinets.
    • Install roll-out trays and lazy susans in base cabinetry.
    • Add easy-roll storage between washer and dryer.
    • Provide open under-counter seated work area.
    • Select lever hardware for cabinet doors for easier access.
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    Lighting

    GE Laundry Light Fixture BIG
    GE Appliances

    Good lighting is essential for checking laundry for spots and stains. These recommendations are good for any room that requires task lighting.

    • Light switches should be placed in accessible locations no higher than 48 inches from the floor.
    • Install rocking or touch light switches for easy use.
    • Place a couple of electrical outlets higher on the wall for portable appliances like irons and clothes steamers.
    • There should be clear access space of 30 inches by 48 inches in front of switches, outlets and controls.
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    Placement in Home

    If you have the opportunity to build or remodel your home, the laundry room should be located in an area without stairs. If the home is two story, consider a laundry chute from the second floor to avoid having to carry baskets of clothes down steps.

    A laundry room near the master bedroom usually eliminates the most amount of walking.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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    Laundry Sorting Hamper
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    A few laundry accessories will keep a laundry room easy to use.

    • A rolling laundry cart can be used to transport clothing to and from the laundry room.
    • An adjustable ironing board will accommodate the ability to iron sitting down.
    • Install a lower hanging rod or retractable clothesline.