A smooth walking surface is considered essential in any living space. However, people entering the late years of their lives, those with medically diagnosed conditions or suffering from injuries that limit their mobility need a more careful approach when choosing a type of flooring. The slightest disturbance caused by a slippery floor can disturb their posture, making them more prone to falling. Today, we move away from the norm of discussing designer décor options, focusing our attention on how to choose flooring that is more suitable for people with a mobility or postural disadvantage.
Points To Remember While Choosing the Appropriate Flooring
When selecting flooring for a room or house with elderly or disabled people, the following points must be kept in mind:
- Such folks do not have a very strong grip—so the flooring should be non-slippery
- There is always a serious threat from uneven leveling—you need to smoothen all the flooring surfaces
- Back pain, weakened legs and low muscle strength are common symptoms—this can frequently lead to bad posture and tripping
Characteristics of Good Flooring for the Elderly & Physically Challenged
Choosing the correct flooring option under such circumstances can be rather demanding. Here, we try to simplify the process for you. First, you need to get familiar with characteristics associated with suitable walking surfaces for people with serious mobility, postural or balancing issues:
- The underfoot should be soft
- The flooring should provide some degree of cushioning
- Padding is good but not to the extent that it weakens the grip
- Surface should be slip resistant
Which type of flooring should be avoided?
- Glass: This is one of the hardest types of flooring to maintain, even in households where no one suffers from age related or medically diagnosed conditions. Despite the high-quality glass flooring options available today, there is always a threat of small cracks or breakages that can lead to serious falls. We strictly recommend avoiding this.
- Bricks: The rough and hard surface of bricks is unforgiving if a person falls on it. It does not provide any cushion. Not recommended for households where people have a history of losing their balance. For instance, those diagnosed with Parkinson’s are best kept away from such flooring options.
- Natural stones: The smoothened, treated natural stone flooring might have too much sheen and can prove slippery. If you want the aura of natural stones in your home, choose flooring tiles that fit seamlessly and don’t have overwhelming luster, which indicates minimal gripping.
Recommended Flooring Options for the Physically Challenged and Aged
Helping seniors or those recovering from mobility-limiting conditions need a flooring option that helps them maintain a better, steadier gait. Let us discuss different types of floorings available in market that address this requirement to some extent:
- Rubber Floors
- Benefits – This flooring is very soft, it is slip and fire-resistant. This flooring creates a safe living environment for the old and disabled people. Easy to clean and maintain.
- Drawbacks- This flooring is quite expensive and thus difficult to afford for old and disabled people as they mostly live on fixed incomes. Some rubber flooring options don’t age very well. This can be an additional, unwanted financial burden.
- Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum makes sense only with its padded version. Otherwise, it does not serve much use for this cause.
- Benefits – Due to its anti-static and anti-microbial characteristic, this flooring repels dust and micro bacteria. It is very easy to clean and requires only basic cleaning. Also, the padding can be placed between the thin linoleum and the subfloor to achieve a soft feel. The material is impressively immune to staining and spillage.
- Drawbacks –This flooring is quite expensive and additional cost is incurred for adhesive, padding, and sealers that add on to its pricing.
- Benefits – In winters, the thick body of carpets acts as an insulator in rooms and create a warm atmosphere. Carpets are soft, cushiony, & warm and they are comfortable to walk on. For seniors suffering from cold-induced issues such as cramping; carpets are a good option with their natural insulation properties.
- Drawbacks – Carpets degrade the air quality of the indoor space as their fibers attract dust. They can be a magnet for dust that can trigger dust-related allergies. This makes them a bit risky for elders suffering from respiratory problems. As they are made of cloth, they soak spills too. Hard to clean, carpets require constant maintenance.
- Benefits – These floorings are quite soft, providing ample cushion and insulation. Slip-resistant and easy-to-clean, some cork floorings also mimic the aura of wooden floorings.
- Drawbacks – Due to its soft nature, cork can be easily damaged and punctured by sharp edges. This flooring is prone to water damage and hence, risky to install in bathrooms. This also makes it a slightly risky proposition for seniors prone to spilling.
Please note that there are no rules that you have to follow. You need to approach this niche of flooring applications from a personalization perspective. You might need to combine wooden flooring with small carpets to make the flooring safer for your household requirements!