Choosing the floor is simple for senior homeowners who want to remain in their homes as they age. Non-slip flooring is essential for seniors to prevent falls and injuries. However, the biggest cause of significant injuries and mortality among the elderly is falling, which occurs frequently. In addition, falls among senior citizens often result in immobility and early nursing home admission. Furthermore, falling once increases a senior’s risk of tumbling again by twofold, especially in those with medical disorders including arthritis, osteoporosis, gait problems, or physical limitations.
When choosing the best flooring for seniors, it is important to consider options that are slip-resistant, easy to clean and provide a cushioned surface to reduce the risk of injury from falls. Some popular choices include vinyl, cork, and carpet with low pile height.
Even though older people frequently fall, this is not a typical aspect of aging. You can do many things to reduce the risk of falling, whether you are an older adult homeowner, run a retirement facility, or have an elderly relative living with you. Start by addressing improper flooring choice, the leading risk factor that can be eliminated for falls in older people.
Seniors’ convenience and safety should be the priority when selecting the best flooring. You may make an informed decision in favor of the security and welfare of your seniors with the information provided in this article. Prioritizing the six key factors provided below is crucial for each flooring type and how and where you’ll use it.
The six Elements Are
The floor covering should provide a non-slip surface so the elderly can walk safely and independently. It is suggested to use a material with a high coefficient of friction because it is incredibly slip-resistant.
Ease of travel
The flooring material should be simple for someone using a wheelchair, cane, or walker to navigate.
Cleaning and upkeep
How much effort is required to maintain the flooring in good condition? Of course, you want a surface that needs significantly less maintenance.
How comfortable is the flooring to walk on? Our knees, legs, and feet can become injured by some flooring, including ceramic and vinyl tiles, which are hard on our feet. This frequently causes joint discomfort and causes feet to become tired after prolonged standing or movement. Choose flooring with a mild springiness so that older people may move about easily.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, you want the flooring to look fantastic and complement your overall décor.
Does the flooring have shock-absorbing properties in case of a fall? The flooring should lessen the effect of a fall if your senior trips due to vertigo or another medical condition. For instance, rubber flooring absorbs stress better than vinyl or timber floors, lowering the chance of major accidents. Depending on the environment, these attributes may have varying degrees of value. When choosing bathroom flooring, for instance, it’s crucial to pick a material that’s pleasant to walk on and simple to clean and maintain. The convenience of movement can be critical in a hallway, but comfort might be vital in a living room.
Carpet flooring is popular for its softness, warmth, and sound insulation. It comes in various materials, colors, and patterns to fit any decor style.
Benefits of Carpet Flooring
The carpet is a reasonably padded material that is comfortable to walk on and offers protection against injuries sustained in falls. The comfort and security of the flooring may be significantly increased by adding a high-quality carpet pad underneath the carpet.
The carpet doesn’t retain extreme heat or cold like many hard flooring materials, making it a rather temperature-neutral option. Of course, it doesn’t provide insulation from the cold, but it is considerably more comfortable for the feet than a ceramic floor on a chilly morning.
The carpet absorbs noise, making it practically silent to walk on.
Drawbacks of Carpet Flooring
Removing debris with a vacuum might be challenging since carpet fibers gather dust and grime that flies through the air. This may be a concern for those with severe allergies or respiratory sensitivities. In addition, when they are new and fresh, certain carpeting may release pollutants like formaldehyde into the air. Again, those who are chemically sensitive may find this to be an issue.
It is tough to clean deep and is particularly prone to stains. Thus carpets should be cleaned professionally, which is expensive.
Wheelchairs don’t move as easily on the carpet as they do on concrete or other hard surfaces. The particularly long-pile carpet might be a trip risk. As a result, the carpet intended for older residents should have a pile that is no thicker than 1/2 inch, and the padding beneath it should be firm but not excessively so. Padding made of high-quality felt or foam might be a suitable option.
Cork flooring is a sustainable and eco-friendly option for homeowners looking for durable and comfortable flooring material. It is also resistant to moisture, mold, and mildew, making it ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, and other high-moisture areas and suitable for older people.
Advantages of Cork Flooring
Cork is the middle choice between hard and soft flooring materials. Even though the surface is smooth and washable, there is some cushioning. Additionally, it has some thermal and acoustic insulation qualities and is not as noisy as rigid materials. Finally, the cork is sufficiently firm for wheelchair travel and won’t trap the wheels the way carpets may, making the movement smooth.
A cork floor is simple to clean and maintain as long as it is maintained properly. To keep the porous material looking its best, sweep or vacuum frequently, as the sealer over the surface protects it from stains.
Disadvantages of Cork Flooring
Water and Damage
Because cork is so delicate, it is susceptible to tearing from sharp objects like furniture legs, pointed shoes, or anything else that pokes or scrapes its surface. It has mediocre water resistance. Spills should be cleaned up every once since standing water can penetrate the joints of flooring planks or tiles and harm the core of the material.
Linoleum, which was made primarily of organic plant materials, served as the first resilient flooring material. Linoleum has made a comeback after being largely replaced by vinyl flooring for a long time due to its natural qualities and other advantages.
Benefits of Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum is simple to keep clean and maintain. In contrast to carpets, it doesn’t trap dust, pollen, and other airborne irritants.
Linoleum tiles and planks can become wet and stained because it is water- and stain-resistant. It is good to be used in bathrooms and kitchens. More water can be repelled by sheet linoleum.
Smooth and Hard
Linoleum is suitable for wheelchairs and walkers because it has a smooth surface and is laid immediately over subflooring or wood underlayment.
Linoleum is manufactured from natural elements, including linseed oil, pine rosin, cork, and jute, which appeals to many homes. As a result, it serves as a natural substitute for its counterpart, vinyl flooring.
Drawbacks of Linoleum Flooring
Without considering installation, linoleum might be an expensive flooring option.
Linoleum gives very little cushioning and can be rather cold underfoot. However, it is easier and more frigid than tile.
Vinyl flooring is a popular and cost-effective flooring option that mimics the look of natural materials like hardwood, stone, and tile.
Advantages of Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl has the same long-lasting and low-maintenance advantages as linoleum in terms of cleaning and durability.
Vinyl is a material that resists water well, and luxury vinyl of the highest caliber is practically waterproof. However, stagnant water may be a concern because the vinyl tile joints and planks allow water to pass through to the subfloor. Nevertheless, sheet vinyl is perfect for bathrooms and kitchens since it has few or occasionally no seams.
Vinyl is one of the more economical flooring solutions and lends itself to do-it-yourself installation. They are available in many different price ranges.
Although reasonably smooth and firm, vinyl is not as cold or hard as tile, making it easier to move around.
Disadvantages of Vinyl Flooring
Observe and feel
Vinyl feels and looks like plastic. It is made of plastic. It’s presumably for this reason that it’s primarily used in kitchens, baths, mudrooms, laundry rooms, and entryways but rarely in living rooms or other places where comfort and aesthetics are essential. Modern luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) may be produced to effectively resemble stone or wood grains, making it far more beautiful than regular vinyl.
Rubber stands out as the ideal material for old adults because of its excellent performance, toughness, cushioning qualities, and lifespan. For senior adult housing and amenities, rubber safety flooring that is poured in place is ideal. Smooth, skid-resistant, easy to maintain, and waterproof are all qualities of rubber flooring. In addition, it provides excellent shock absorption in an accident since it is softer than hard-surface flooring materials like ceramic or vinyl tiles, or wood.
Benefits of Rubber Flooring
Rubber flooring is frequently seen in fitness centers and other spaces where it’s crucial to have a secure surface for strenuous exercise. It is resistant to both shock and slipping. Rubber flooring has a high coefficient of friction, which lowers the possibility of a slip and maintains elderly inhabitants’ safety. Rubber is hefty and highly slip-resistant, as opposed to area rugs and carpets that might provide a tripping danger. Even when wet, they don’t slide.
Rubber flooring is particularly resistant to water, machinery, or furniture damage. It may be poured over concrete to make outdoor spaces and basements more cozy and secure.
Drawbacks of Rubber Flooring
Rubber flooring has a high price tag. But simple snap-together tiles may be inexpensive, and since they are so easy to install, you can save money by installing them yourself instead of hiring a specialist.
Look and Feel
Rubber is not at all comfortable. Additionally, the styles, colors, and textures are restricted.
Hardwood, Bamboo, and Laminate
Hardwood is a popular flooring choice due to its durability and timeless appeal, while bamboo offers a sustainable and eco-friendly option. On the other hand, laminate flooring is a budget-friendly alternative that can mimic the look of hardwood or other materials.
Hard but natural
Flooring made of wood, bamboo, and laminate has a firm surface that seems soft and natural. It doesn’t become as dirty as carpet and is often simple to keep and clean.
The appearance of genuine hardwood or bamboo flooring is unmatched. In addition to looking decent, laminate is also considerably less expensive than genuine hardwood or bamboo.
Moisture and upkeep
While hardwood flooring may survive many years with the proper maintenance, it isn’t water-resistant enough for bathrooms and can be challenging to keep clean in the kitchen. It has to be vacuumed often to get rid of the grit that might harm the finish. In addition, permanent damage and stains can be made by standing water.
Bamboo and all-wood flooring are noisy and don’t offer sound absorption. Also, under firm shoes and when something is dumped on the floor, laminate makes a lot of noise.
Unforgiving and harsh
These flooring options provide little protection against falling harm and are almost as hard as ceramic tile.
Installation and Price
Bamboo and solid wood are relatively pricey and typically need professional installation. However, click-together flooring is less expensive and suitable for do-it-yourself installations. In addition, it is available with engineered hardwood, bamboo, and all laminate flooring.
Flooring Not Designed for Old Adults
A extremely rigid and hard-to-work-with material, natural stone also needs routine upkeep to stay clean. When wet, polished stone flooring is incredibly slick. In addition, stone floors may be chilly, just like ceramic or porcelain tiles, unless placed with a radiant heating system underneath the surface flooring. Hence, it is not suitable for older adults.
Ceramic or Porcelain Tile
The tile is very durable and water-resistant but also quite hard and freezing. The tiles with broad grout joints or uneven surfaces may create a trip hazard. The tile should have a coefficient of friction (COF) of 0.6 or greater if it is used anyplace to prevent slipping. Honed tiles are frequently less slick and might be a safer option. As a result, it is inappropriate for senior citizens.
Transitions and Area Rugs
On hard floors, area rugs can be slippery and bunch up to pose a significant trip danger. No matter what flooring you have, the floors should be as flat as possible to make walking easier and reduce the chance of tripping. Avoid big changes in height between rooms or flooring types. It is, therefore, not appropriate for older people.
When choosing the best non-slip flooring for seniors, several options are available such as rubber flooring, vinyl flooring, and cork flooring. These types of flooring offer better traction and reduce the risk of falls and slips. Seniors are at a higher risk of falls and injuries, making choosing the right non-slip flooring crucial.