According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one out of four older adults (age 65+) will fall each year in the United States, making falls a public health concern. Falls are common and costly, but they are also preventable and with proper precautions like safe flooring, falls do not have to be an inevitable part of aging.
Selecting flooring that is safe for aging adults may seem challenging, but Flowers Flooring suggests making a list of priorities that include:
- Flooring that is slip resistant.
- Flooring that is easy to walk on. Keep in mind you will want to select flooring appropriate for your home if you use a cane, walker, or wheelchair.
- Flooring that provides the most forgiveness or cushion in the event of a fall or accident.
- Flooring that is easy to clean and maintain.
- Flooring that provides the most comfort.
In addition to the top list of priorities, this blog suggests the best flooring options and the general principles for safe flooring for aging adults. Let’s talk best flooring options first.
Best Flooring Options
- Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
LVP offers great hard-wearing and low-maintenance benefits. There are both water resistant and waterproof selections available. LVP is also an excellent choice because it is generally one of the most affordable flooring options. It is relatively hard and smooth, which makes it easy to walk across.
Carpet is incredibly soft and is comfortable underfoot. It also provides protection against injury from falls. Carpet is much more pleasant to walk on a cold day than tile. Carpet provides warmth and comfort. It also absorbs sound and is almost silent to walk across. The downside of carpet is that wheelchairs do not roll as well over carpet as over hard surface flooring. Long pile carpet can present a trip hazard. Due to this, carpet for senior citizens should have a pile no more than ½ inch thick, and the padding should be firm and not thick.
While rubber flooring is traditionally used in gyms and exercise rooms, it is both shock and slip resistant. It is also extremely durable and very resistant to damage from furniture, equipment, or water.
- Hardwood and Laminate
Engineered hardwood, solid hardwood and laminate flooring is a hard surface with a soft, natural look. It’s easy to clean and maintain and is much more stain resistant than carpet. One drawback of these hard surface flooring options is they are hard and unforgiving. They offer no protection against injury from falls.
Selecting the same flooring throughout each level of your home will help reduce the number of transitions that can become a tripping hazard. Many older adults drag their feet and walking over transitions or thresholds can pose a hazard. If transitions are necessary, Flowers Flooring suggests trying to minimize the height difference and when possible make them flush across the rooms.
- Area Rugs
While area rugs provide many benefits, (click here to read area rug blogs) they pose a tripping hazard for older adults who tend to drag their feet. In addition, area rugs placed at the front door or in the kitchen or bathroom can cause someone to slip across the floor. Small area rugs simply don’t weigh enough to hold them down.
- Dry Floors
Wet floors can make almost any flooring type slippery and cause slips and falls. Be certain that spills and splashes are cleaned up right away to help prevent falls.
- Clutter Free
Make sure your floor is clear of any toys, books, clothes, or other items that can cause tripping hazards. It’s also important to make sure walkways are clear. In addition, be sure electrical wires and cords are secured and out of the way.
- Good Lighting
Many aging adults have poor eyesight, so be sure to install strong lighting in hallways, stairs, and bathrooms. Plugging in a few night lights will also help prevent falls.
- Rubber Mats
Rubber anti-fatigue mats are beneficial to people of all ages. They are excellent for wet areas in the home such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Rubber mats are heavy, and their weight naturally holds them in place. In addition, they are soft on your feet and provide comfort when standing, cooking, and cleaning.
- Avoid Socks on Hard Surfaces
Socks can make hard surfaces like hardwood or laminate slippery. Instead, it’s better to wear some sort of non-slip slipper or comfortable house shoes.
To learn more about the best flooring options for aging adults, contact Flowers Flooring at (704) 445-7750. Feel free to stop by the Flowers Flooring showroom located in Cornelius, NC to view samples. Flowers Flooring is a full-service flooring sales and installation provider. We specialize in all flooring types, including carpet, hardwood, laminate, vinyl plank, vinyl tile, ceramic tile, porcelain tile, tile floors, tile showers, area rugs and more. Call today to schedule a FREE estimate. Be sure to inquire about our current promotion and same-as-cash financing offers.