The best flooring choices for seniors
As we get older, many of us become less steady on our feet. You might not have considered that the type of flooring you install in your home could have an impact on your health and safety, but some types of flooring are much easier to live with than others. Here’s a brief overview of what to think about when you’re replacing flooring for yourself or an elderly relative.
Most floors won’t be slippery on a day-to-day basis, but how about when they’re wet? It’s not just kitchens, bathrooms and utilities rooms that are prone to having wet floors – what about the hallway of your home? Any floor with an external door opening onto it is liable to get wet when people enter the home on rainy days. You should avoid any floors – such as tiles – that may become extremely slippery under wet feet. A rough bristle doormat at every entrance is a good idea to get the worst of the water off footwear, but it’s practical to only install flooring that won’t become slippery in these areas too.
Use of walking aids
If you or someone in the household uses a walking stick or frame to get around, it’s important to think about how the flooring helps or hinders. For example, a plush carpet can make it hard to manoeuvre with a walking aid as it will drag through the thick carpet pile. Vinyl flooring or laminate flooring is often much easier to use a walking stick or frame on.
In the event of a fall, how much cushioning will your flooring offer? A thick, cushioned underlay teamed with carpet will offer a potentially much less damaging fall than stone or tile. Likewise, cushioned vinyl flooring is also much softer than you might expect and will help protect you in the event of a fall.
Ease of maintenance
It’s also important to think about the cleaning and maintenance of each type of flooring before it’s installed. While hardwood might look great and be top of many people’s wish lists, it often requires specialist care to keep it looking its best. If you don’t have the skills or inclination to undertake repairs and maintenance yourself, it can be expensive to hire professionals on a regular basis. This is where laminate makes a great alternative. It looks just as good as hardwood but requires very little attention beyond basic cleaning.