Aging in Place Appliances

A man and woman laying in bed smiling for the camera.

I prefer the rather old and battered, things with character, to the brand new.

~ Rick Allen


Aging in Place / Home Shorts Series

To my detriment, I share the sentiment of Rick Allen. Given the choice between something new and something old, hands down I’ll pick the old. I have wrestled with vintage tools, kept worn-out shoes too long, put up with the inferior sound of retro stereos, worn ill-fitting old clothes, tolerated undependable “classic” vehicles, lived uncomfortably in ancient homes, stressed out over “mid-century” appliances with frayed cords and tundra ice boxes too small to accommodate a frozen dinner–all for the love of character.

Old things have an earned presence I appreciate beyond what’s reasonable. A form-over-function philosophy takes you only so far–and when it comes to appliances the romance of elder items begins to fade when it interferes with quality of life (Activities of Daily Living /ADLs). Appliances for aging in place are best when they provide access, safety, ease, function, universal design for all, time-saving, convenience, protection, and beauty.

When it’s time to update your home appliances look for these 9 items:

Aging in Place Appliance Features

Access – Side-by-side refrigerators will provide greater access to contents and easier to view all the shelves and compartments (pick glass shelves).

Safety – Cooktops with the controls in the front or side–but NEVER in the back (for obvious reasons).

Ease – Place microwave so a seated person can reach it and well-illuminated controls at eye level.

Functional – Design for 30-inch by 48-inch clear spaces at appliances, or a 60-inch space to make turn arounds easier.

Universal Design for All – A dishwasher at 6 inches to 18 inches above the floor will make loading/unloading easier for all backs involved.

Time Savings – To save steps and make it easier to manage, locate the washer/dryer near sleeping spaces.

Convenient – Stackable W/D will save space, but a side-by-side set on raised pedestals will make them more convenient to use.

Protection – A fire extinguisher that’s easy to see and reach, located someplace other than under the sink. Learn how to use it so under pressure you can perform successfully–during a fire is not the optimal time to learn how it works!

Beauty – Form, and function are not mutually exclusive, choose visually delightful appliances that function well. You will be living with them for many years to come, make sure they add to your joy of aging in place.


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