More than one-fourth of Americans 65 and over fall every year. These falls are the leading cause of injuries in older adults, and 65% of falls happen at home. Older adult-friendly flooring can help prevent falls and the injuries associated with them. There are a few factors to consider when deciding the best nonslip flooring for older adults and what flooring types to avoid.
Top Factors to Consider
Buying flooring as an older homeowner doesn’t have to be complicated. When you know what to look for, it’s easy to narrow down the flooring options available. These six factors will help you decide what flooring is best for you:
Affordability: As with any home renovation project, you need to know your budget. Understanding your budget will help you narrow your choices.
Slip resistance: Nonslip flooring for older adults is vital, especially in areas prone to getting wet. This helps reduce the risk of falls and resulting injuries.
Ease of travel: The flooring material needs to be easy to travel on in general and for those who use a cane, walker or wheelchair.
Cleaning and maintenance: Flooring that is easy to clean and maintain is best so you don’t have to tire yourself out cleaning the floors.
Cushion: You may want flooring that is soft to walk on barefoot or with slippers and that provides a buffer in the event of a fall.
Room in the house: Different rooms require different types of flooring. For instance, nonslip bathroom flooring for older adults is essential, but you don’t need nonslip, water-resistant flooring in the bedroom.
What Is the Safest Flooring for Older People?
Considering the abovementioned factors leaves three types of safe flooring for older adults. Here are a few pros and cons for each type which will make it easier to decide which flooring best fits your needs:
Affordability: Carpet is the least expensive flooring material.
Slip-resistance: Carpet is slip-resistant, even when wet. However, you should try to keep your carpet dry.
Ease of travel: Low carpet is easy for people who use wheelchairs, walkers, canes or oxygen tanks to travel on. However, plush or high carpeting might make some travel more challenging.
Easy cleaning and maintenance: Carpet is easy to maintain, and you usually only need to vacuum to clean it.
Versatility: Though you want to keep carpet out of wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens, it is a great option for bedrooms or living rooms.
Cushioning: Carpet is more cushioned than hardwood and provides a softer landing. Carpet can be frieze, textured, nylon, pet-proof, commercial, plush, loop or pattern, so you can find one that fits your needs.
Warmth: Hardwood flooring can get cold in the winter, but carpet usually reflects the house’s temperature. This could save homeowners on energy costs.
Noise softening: Carpet is quiet to walk on and a natural sound absorber.
Stain-resistance: Treated carpet is stain, wear and pet resistant.
Laminate flooring provides a harder surface than carpet but still offers many benefits:
Affordability: This type of flooring is more affordable than hardwood.
Slip-resistance: When treated with a waterproof coating, laminate flooring is more resistant to slips.
Ease of travel: Laminate offers a smooth surface for people who use wheelchairs, canes, walkers or oxygen tanks to travel over.
Easy cleaning and maintenance: Laminate flooring is easy to clean and maintain and doesn’t trap dirt. However, it does require sweeping and mopping.
Versatility: Laminate is an excellent option for hallways, dining rooms, living rooms and kitchens.
Beauty: Laminate flooring is beautiful and has a similar look to hardwood.
Affordability: Vinyl is more affordable than laminate.
Slip-resistance: Vinyl is water-resistant, making it good nonslip bathroom flooring for older adults.
Ease of travel: This flooring type is easy to travel on for all people because it has a flat, smooth surface.
Easy cleaning and maintenance: Vinyl is durable, making it resistant to wear and easier to clean. It does require occasional mopping and sweeping.
Versatility: Vinyl is a wonderful option for bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms and hallways.
Carpet flooring is best for bedrooms and living rooms. A low pile carpet is ideal if you have a wheelchair, walker, cane or oxygen tank. If you are concerned about falls, a plush carpet will provide the most cushion. Pet-proof carpet is an excellent option for pet owners as it makes clean-up easier by resisting stains and odors.
Laminate offers the beauty of hardwood at a more affordable price. It is easy to travel on, clean and maintain and will look best in the kitchen and dining room. Vinyl is excellent for bathrooms and hallways and is more durable and affordable than laminate.
Flooring to Avoid
While some types of flooring are safe for older adults, others must be avoided because they are hazardous. These flooring types or items can make older adults more prone to tripping and falling or increase the risk of injury from a fall. Flooring decorations and styles older adults should try to avoid include:
Area rugs: Area rugs are easy to trip over, especially when they curl up at the sides and catch your feet, walker, wheelchair or oxygen tank. They also add height to flooring, and it is recommended that flooring for older people be relatively the same height. This allows for smooth transitions from room to room, making it easier to travel.
Stone: Stone flooring is very hard and will feel as if you landed on cement in the case of a fall. This increases the risk of serious injuries.
Ceramic: Ceramic flooring is very slippery, making falls easier. It also doesn’t provide a cushion because of its hardness.
Porcelain: Similar to ceramic, porcelain flooring is also slick and hard.
Schedule an Appointment
If you think you know what flooring you want for your house or rooms, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Nothing beats professional installation and superior customer service, and Metro Flooring Contractors provides quality, brand-naming flooring for less.
Our labor comes with a lifetime warranty that is 100% transferrable. All carpet purchases receive a complimentary professional cleaning for your first recommended cleaning. We also offer financing for more expensive projects. Let us help you make your home renovation project simple and easy.