The Independent Living Centre, NSW, provided us with the following general guidelines on what to look for in a dishwasher for use by someone with a disability.
If you're in a wheelchair or have back problems
There are a number of drawer, compact or benchtop type models on the market from a variety of manufacturers. The first two are built in, the third tends not to be. These can help if you have issues bending down too far as they can be installed at chest height for a wheelchair user, or higher if you are on crutches. All tend to have smaller loading capacity due to their compact size.
- Some are pull-out drawers that contain the dishwasher compartment, such as the Fisher & Paykel range. These can also be installed in a two-drawer format called a double dishdrawer where you can use just one drawer if necessary for a smaller wash.
- Others, such as those from Bosch, have fold-down doors (like an oven door) that you roll the dishwasher stacking frame onto as you would a conventional dishwasher.
- The third type are benchtop models such as those from Omega and a number of other manufacturers which sit on top of a bench and also have a conventional loading system.
Problems with hands or strength
- light doors with latches that are easy to open and close
controls that are easy to turn and press
baskets that slide in and out easily
- large, raised dials with a crossbar, but note that dials can be more difficult to use than buttons or keypads if you lack hand strength
- buttons and keypads that require only a soft touch to activate
filters that can easily be removed, cleaned and replaced.
For poor vision
- controls that are easy to read - large, well-spaced and with good contrast, and well-labelled
positive feedback such as lights and/or beeps, and other tactile, audio and visual feedback is helpful
well-defined baskets - in a contrasting colour.
For someone with dementia
- an audible end-of-cycle signal and fault alarm.