Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.

Episode 27: Best Flooring Options for Seniors

October 10, 2022 Janet Engel, OT/L, CAPS Season 3 Episode 27
Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.
Episode 27: Best Flooring Options for Seniors
Show Notes Transcript

In order for flooring to be considered low maintenance it must be easy to clean, require little to no upkeep, and durable. Some of the most common choices available are luxury vinyl plank (LVT), linoleum, bamboo, engineered wood, ceramic, porcelain, laminate, and natural stone. Please listen to learn more on how to choose the best flooring for your home and decrease your fall risk while increasing the value of your home.

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[00:00:00] Janet: Good evening everyone, and thank you for listening. Today I want to talk about the best flooring options out there for seniors. So I've been doing some research and I came up with a list of products that are sure to be. A hit in your home. If whether you're renovating or you're building a new home, please consider these products because they're going to make your home more amenable to aging in place.

[00:00:33] Janet: So let's just go right into it. In order for flooring to be considered low maintenance, it must have three things. It must be easy to clean. It must require little to no upkeep. It must be durable. Floors that can be easily cleaned using a mop or vacuum are best flooring that has grout lines will ultimately require [00:01:00] scrubbing and or refilling.

[00:01:02] Janet: So this is going to make them a less durable option because they're going to need maintenance in the long term. Non porous surfaces will prevent extra work later, so they do not have to be sealed. So this would be floors like ceramic or porcelain would be non porous. They will also be resistant to staining and water damage.

And these are huge advantages, especially in humid climates like in Florida or Georgia where I live, or Texas or Alabama. And these are places that also get hit with hurricanes. So something else that you wanna consider when you're putting in new flooring is is it going to be water resistant in case you have flooding?

So avoiding surfaces that require sanding staining and polishing are also good tips to keep [00:02:00] in mind when it comes to durability. We need to choose finishes that will hold up well to foot traffic and pets, so that scratches and scuffs are not so easily noticeable, but yet are very likely to occur. So some of the most common choices available are luxury vinyl plank, also known as L V T, Linoleum, bamboo engineered wood, ceramic, porcelain laminate, and natural stone.

Some of these flooring options may be durable, but not low maintenance, such as natural stone or maybe low maintenance, but not durable, such as laminate. So engineered wood, l v t, ceramic and porcelain are truly the best flooring options for people who want to stay in their homes and age in place. In [00:03:00] addition, linoleum and bamboo are also environmentally friendly, making these even more attractive options.

 They will stand the test of time. They will maintain their beauty and not require you to spend additional money and time in future maintenance and require use of costly cleaning supplies. So that's something that. I have in my bathroom, it's all marble flooring and I didn't put it in, it was the original owner.

And I have to buy special types of cleaners that will not etch the marble and it's a pain. So I would require, or I would suggest that you by. Materials that are gonna be low maintenance and can be cleaned with, you know, just your everyday cleaning solutions that are easily available at the supermarket or at the store.

So as you. No, I've [00:04:00] mentioned many times that falls avoiding a fall is the most important aspect to successful aging. So the statistics say that every second of every day, an older adult age, 65 or over suffers a fall in the US making falls, the leading cause of injury and death in this age group. So falls is definitely a public health concern, particularly in the aging population.

So whatever we can do to avoid a fall, which one of those things is making our home safer, then that is a, an investment worth investing in. So, One thing we want to make sure that we do is install non-slip flooring in our homes. That is key to creating a safe environment. So consider flooring that has a matte finish in order to avoid glare that is often associated with polished finishes.[00:05:00] 

So I in particular, I love the polished look, but it's not friendly.  To, to anyone, but especially to the aging eye. So when you have a polished floor from a distance, the floor is going to look like it's wet, which is going to mess with your depth perception and put you at a higher risk for fall. So that's why Matt finishes our Better for the Aging Eye.

Really for everyone, but especially as we get older, because our depth perception isn't as good as it was when we were younger. So also avoiding patterns like a checkered pattern, a black and white pattern. Because that is going to make your floor look like it's floating. So that's also going to mess with your depth perception.

And I know that that's back in style. It used to be the, you know, design [00:06:00] preference, you know, back in probably the Forties and fifties, and now it's back in style, which I like it as well, but it's not friendly for seniors. So I would suggest that you just stay away from them all together. So when we are creating our design, we wanna keep a few things in mind.

So I created a list of five things. We wanna create contrast in our decor. All right. We wanna make the walls and flooring a different color. From each other, make your furniture a different color from the walls and from the floor. Texture is also an additional method of adding contrast into your design.

So, for example, if you have a couch that has a, a fabric that is kind of knobby, that you, you know, stands out, that's not [00:07:00] smooth, that will provide texture. So add heavy rugs, heavy area rugs to your design or to your decor to create coziness and comfort and avoid carpet altogether. So I always hear I want carpet because I like how it feels on my feet, but the truth of the matter is that carpet creates friction across the floor, so it's harder to move across.

The floor when you have carpet, especially if you're using a walker or a wheelchair. Another thing is that it also traps all kinds of pathogens and dust. And so your air quality is gonna go down in your home. It's not as easy to clean, right? You can vacuum it, but you can't mop it. So essentially it's still dirty.

 It just creates more maintenance over time, so it's better [00:08:00] to have a solid floor surface and use rugs. If you still want the feel of a rug on your feet, just use them sparingly throughout your house and it will add to your decor. And then that way you can add different colors and textures that you wouldn't be able to with just normal carpeting.

And, you know, you can always have that area rug cleaned. You can tape it down or you can use. Rug liners so that it won't move on the floor. So the key is you want a heavier rug, something like at least a five by eight, because that's less likely to move. And then place a runner underneath so that it's adhered well to the floor.

Or you can use double sided tape, which I personally don't prefer because it leaves a mark, but there are a lot. [00:09:00] Things out there that will allow you to use a rug safely and will really bring down the maintenance and will be far less maintenance than it is required If you had regular carpeting. So these are some ways that we can create a home design that will promote safety, function and independence.

And don't be afraid to use color to express your style. It's using color is a great way to add contrast in your decor, which is going to make your home safer. Because when you have different colors, you're going to be able to differentiate. You know, one item from another. So your fall risk is not going to be as high as if you had just a neutral palette where the walls, the furniture, and the floors are about the same color.

So that's something that you definitely want to avoid. So please tune [00:10:00] in for my next. Podcast episode. I'm not sure what it's going to be on yet, but I look forward to hearing from you. Please email me if you have any ideas on episodes that you would like me to create. It is info@agingmatters.health, and thank you so much for listening.