Grandmother-proof Washing Machine?

ilaineJanuary 15, 2011

Four adults live in the house, three with full time jobs and long commutes, and grandmother, who likes doing laundry. She's 75, in good health, but has a bad back.

Time for a new washing machine.

I was thinking about an LG wave top loader but wonder whether 5'3" grandmother can reach down into the bottom to remove the washed clothes or adapt to shaking out each item of clothing before putting them in the drier?

Also, I have doubts whether she can adapt to micromanaging laundry detergent level dispensation, as she grew up with the old time washer that had a mangle attached. You may never of heard of such a thing. You put the clothes between two rollers to squeeze them dry before hanging on the clothes line.

For the rest of us, hanging around while the clothes are washing to make sure to put them into the drier immediately after they are done is not a good option for us. We tend to start a wash before heading out the door to work and come home maybe ten hours later.

Thoughts appreciated.

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I am 71 and can manage front loaders. I can still read directions and measure. I intend to be doing the same when I am 75. I have a part time job and garden. And yes, I remember wringer washers.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 10:06PM
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Some front-loaders also come with pedestals which would make it easier to bend over to reach to the back of the machine.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 11:26PM
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Gosh, you must be young if you think 75 is too old to manage a washing machine. Don't get upset; when I was in my 20-30's I, too, thought 75 was ancient.

My late Mother was well into her 70's when she was still actively doing biological field-work in South America (think solo hiking and camping and climbing trees several days trek away from the nearest "civilization") with no problems. I'm sixty now, and unless I get some dreadful illness, I fully expect to continue on for decades.

But to your questions: FL's (espcially if you buy own with a pedestal) are great for bad backs: better even, I think, than toploaders. They operate just like dryers which are almost all FLs.

The soap-dosing thing is not hard to comprehend, if one takes the trouble to read the instructions and check on the results.

Finally, if you want to just "load and go" with your wash, then spend the extra money to get a machine with a delay start feature. That way you can load and go and set the delay start so it begins in enough time to be just finishing up when you return. That way things aren't sitting around wet, waiting for you to get back. I often use this to run a load overnight or while I'm out of the house. It turns out to be one of my favorite features.

I have several machines, one of whicch is an old fashioned wringer-style washer. I don't keep it just for nostalgia, there are certain things it does better than any of my fancier modern machines. It is espcially handy when we have extended power outages as running its motor doesn't tax the generator like my 220V European FLs would. It doesn't have a delay start, however!


    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 4:07AM
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There are wide variations in age and ability these days. My elders are very long-lived, typically are active into their 90s. At the same time, I've known of people in their 70s (even 60s) who are affected by Alzheimer's Disease as well as other forms of dementia.

A washer repairman (IIRC, that was his moniker) used to post here quite frequently. He said his grandmother, who was very active in her 70s or 80s, had a Maytag Bravos (an HE toploader) and loved it. I don't recall any other posts about age and washing machines.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 2:00PM
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Lol, I anticipated a discussion about machines that prevented older folks from using them. I guess it is in a way.

My front loading machines are on pedestals and I have to only slightly bend to reach in the back. I'm barely 30 and 5'11". You know Gran better than I do, so hope that helps. In terms of re-education it's really about less amounts of a new (HE) detergent formula. It sounds like she had to do more micromanaging in the old days than she would now.

And I think I read a Stephen King story about a laundry mangler. :\

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 4:08PM
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Can't speak about the elderly part, but I'm 5'2" thirtysomething with a bad-ish back who wouldn't go back to a top loader for anything. I got a front loader with pedestals for both w&d, and the height is perfect! (I got my pedestals thrown in when I purchased them from a local dealer - another reason to buy local!)

I've never had to shake anything out after having come out of my Duet to avoid wrinkles, but I know it does a couple of tumbles after it spins to loosen things up. (I have read accounts of excessive wrinkling, especially with denim, in those HE top loaders, fwiw.)

The only thing I would worry about with everyone (not just your "set in her ways" gradnmother) is detergent usage, as new machines and new detergents require much less. I have a set of measuring spoons in my detergent to make it easier - those scoops and caps can be hard to read, even for young eyes!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 6:38PM
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I have read accounts of excessive wrinkling, especially with denim, in those HE top loaders

I've had an HE toploader for several years (Maytag Bravos), and I've never had any problems with wrinkling at all, with any type of fabric. My laundry actually comes out much smoother than it ever has before.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 10:20AM
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I have to second mara's point. Haven't used a top loading machine since college but my jeans never get as twisted/mutilated looking in the front loader. The spin is high speed so of course there's wrinkles when they're wet. I guess I just don't consider it a phenomenon exclusive to front loading machines. Easily solved either way with a dryer or hanging/folding when barely damp lol.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 10:33AM
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Mara 2008 I believe you may have been referring to me in your previous post.

Yes I bought my grandmother a Bravos and she LOVED it!!! And she had no problems reaching to the bottom of the tub as she would just turn the tub towards her and grab the clothes out.

I am speaking in past tense because unfortunately my beloved grandmother passed away this past December :o( but while she was living she used the Bravos with no problems up until the ripe old age of 91. She would always rave about it when I would go visit her.

Hope this info helps.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 11:57PM
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Kevin, it's great to see you here again. I apologize for mangling your moniker (and job) so badly.

And I am really sorry to hear of the loss of your dear grandmother. My heart goes out to you.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 5:50PM
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