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Not aging or emotional challenge, but height challenged

 
Posts: 179
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I have all 3 of these PTSD, being 60+, and I’m tiny.

My partner is NOT tiny.

So, I’m looking for adaptations, engineering suggestions, etc, to deal with aging in place for a couple whose height is > 1’ different. He’s over 6’ I’m under 5’.

What prompted this was the platform for the washer and dryer notion. I love the idea, but if it’s my height it’s too low for him, his height and I can barely reach the top of the machines...

Thanks!
 
master pollinator
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Location: southern Illinois.
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Hi Jeanie,

I am about 14 inches taller than my wife,  I am sure you are aware of the challenges. Bathroom wise, we finally ended up with each of us having our own.  I do most of the cooking, but my wife does the baking. So, we have 5 ft of counter space lowered for her.  

Washer and dryer wise, we are in the process of installing front loaders for her.  I will have the top loaders. We are fortunate in that there is just the two if use in a 3500 sq foot house.  Even better, the house is well designed so that significant portions of it can be closed off if it is desired.
 
Jennie Little
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Location: New England
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Hm. Your space is about 2x the size of ours. And ours is a log home, so hard to move walls, etc.

What we'd always figured we'll do (we havent' done the the kitchen yet, except a tiny bit) is to use upper cabinets as base cabinets so I can reach the back of everything and maybe open shelving above, but very little of it. Also a work area at the right height for each of us. We have a stove/oven we love (Bosch, bought last of the out of season a few years back, it has simmer burners, a warming drawer, a proofing function and dehydrates).

One thing I thought of, but we haven't done yet, is the idea of a "bar" with stairs or ramp on one side and not on the other so that a person in a wheelchair or the shortie can work comfortably at the counter height as a taller or "normal" person.

I think it was an old USDA house or maybe it was Cornell? But the cabinets were made to be movable, in like a oversized pegboard idea... I can't find that, but I found this recap of ideas. Why are some of these still so "weird"?

https://www.popsci.com/gadgets/article/2010-11/archive-gallery-kitchens-tomorrow-1950s-edition/
 
John F Dean
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There are shelves designed to pull down. For that matter, entire cabinets can do that.  About 10 years ago, at least, I designed a kitchen for several people with disabilities.  The shelves still work fine.
 
pollinator
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A step-stool or stepladder in every room. Because if you only have one, it will never be where you can find it.

If you get the folding kind, you can store them out of the way fairly easily. I recommend labeling them with the room they belong in, in case they start to migrate.
 
pollinator
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This may be overly simplistic, but maybe divide up certain jobs to be officially his or hers, and design that work space to the height of whomever claims that job. I think it would be safest. Maybe have two sets of things you both must use, as much as possible.
 
master steward
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:A step-stool or stepladder in every room. Because if you only have one, it will never be where you can find it.



I second this!

I am 5' 3" and have had several different step stools and ladders over the years.

This one was the first one that I got.  I mainly got it to use for my son as a toddler highchair.  It helped me reach things in tall cabinets and since it had a place at the table it was always out of the way.  Both my kids used it until they were too grownup.




Then I got one of these:




I liked it because it was easy to tuck in a corner or in the pantry.

This is the one I have now:




I recently purchased a metal folding stool similar to it at Harbor Freight but it was too tall for me step on without losing my balance.


My mother in law was under 5' and she had one similar to this that lived in front of her washer:


 
John F Dean
master pollinator
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Hi Anne,

We have a similar collection of stools and ladders.  We also keep, in the house, a 4 ft step ladder.
 
Jennie Little
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We have step stools as well. One of the beige plastic ones is in my garden for me to sit in when weeding. A folding one lives in the kitchen. An old fashioned, wood stool is elsewhere. The folding one replaced the folding step stool I’d inherited from my dad. It had started to feel unsafe, so we replaced it.

I have a peg rack on my kitchen ceiling, I hang bagged herbs there, it works. But I realized this year that doing that means multiple trips up/down the step stool. I found the perfect, folding, metal clothes rack, but that’s part of the covid unavailability. We’re pretty resigned to DH making me something similar. What I found was this:

This https://honeycando.com/collections/drying/products/large-a-frame-clothes-drying-rack-white

I like it for a few reasons: it sits flat on the ground, it folds flat when not in use, and it isn’t fancy, so fewer hinges, etc to bend or break. Less fussy.

I like simple.
 
Anne Miller
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Jennie, one of the things that I have found that I really like for my kitchen are drawers and sliding racks.  

When we were building our house I found my cabinets on Craig's list.  They were out of one of the high-end homes where the wife had gotten custom cabinets.

To me, these are "custom" cabinets.  So much nicer than any others I have had.

One of the lower cabinets is nothing but drawers and the other ones had sliding shelves.  

I put all my heavy stuff in lower cabinets.

For the upper cabinets, I put all the most used stuff on the bottom shelf.

I live in a tiny house so I use a lot of Rubbermaid cabinets so I don't have to store a lot of things in the upper cabinets.

This thread has a lot of ideas for making a kitchen work:

https://permies.com/t/84920/purity/Kitchen-Work-Share-Ideas-Tips
 
gardener
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1. I totally vote for big drawers instead of lower cabinets despite the cost - far easier to see what you want and less awkward reaching.
2. I particularly recommend the style of step stool with the grab bar at the top - Ann Miller's first picture - as humans have a strong tendency for less reliable balance as we age (although making a point of "exercising" our balance muscle can help maintain this function as long as possible.)
3. Regarding the pegs on the ceiling (which I'm having a little trouble picturing) if you and your spouse are handy, have you considered a rack with a pulley system so it can be lowered to your height when you need to access it? I'm *sure* I've seen pictures of drying and laundry racks done along those lines, although the ones I spotted with a quick look were ugly garage ones. If your pegs are holding spice, something pretty and light-duty would do the job.
Just my two cents - I had a friend who was 6 ft+ and his concept of "eye" level and mine were very different and it was interesting seeing how that impacted how he located things in his kitchen.
 
Jennie Little
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We have a laundry rack which lowers. So, yeah, I’d thought of that, but it’s for laundry, the herbs would be in the way...
 
That new kid is a freak. Show him this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6
https://permies.com/wiki/138231/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Plans-Annex
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