Choosing floors for the elderly
Special floors are advisable for the elderly for several good reasons. First, older people are prone to tripping and falling, so they need slip-reducing floors to help prevent these accidents.
The elderly may also have back, knee and hip problems that will benefit from the floor which reduces the impact on the skeletal system when walking. Older people can also have incontinence problems, so the floor must be easy to clean to maintain healthy hygienic conditions at home.
Flooring to help prevent falls
Older people can suffer from balance and depth perception problems. Weak knees, back, and hips can often lead to very serious falls. Also, older people can suffer strokes and other sudden attacks that can lead to falls.
Falls that cause serious back and hip injuries can have devastating consequences. In some cases, the person never fully recovers and there is a high death rate for such people in the years after such accidents due to complications from the injury.
For this reason, it is a great idea to install special flooring for your parents, family members, or older clients. One possibility is to use non-slip tiles specially designed to provide an extra degree of traction. Modular rubber flooring is another great option. You don’t have to remove your current flooring with some of the rubber flooring options.
These rubber floors come in the form of modular tiles that are attached and simply laid over your current floor. The rubber provides an excellent non-slip surface and also helps cushion the impact on the body when walking. You can choose thicker rubber flooring for older people with particularly painful conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis, or for those recovering from hip or knee surgery. Thick rubber can also help reduce the severity of an injury in the event of a fall.
Many people already use rubber mats in the shower or bath to prevent slipping on the wet surface. Rubber and other types of non-slip tiles can fit together perfectly, which is an important safety feature. Older people often slide or drag their feet while walking, so you want as smooth a surface as possible to avoid tripping.
Benefits of a soft soil
For older people who fall frequently, a hardwood or ceramic tile floor offers no cushioning. Even if the elderly person can arrest the fall, they can still sustain hand and wrist injuries.
The rubber sole provides a softer landing and you can add extra padding under the tiles for added cushioning. Older people often have porous bones that can break with minimal impact, so every element of protection can mean the difference between a serious injury and a minor injury.
Don’t think about the rubber mats you have in your showers when viewing rubber tiles. They come in varieties that resemble common carpeted, wood, or ceramic tile floors.
In addition to providing protection against strong impacts during falls, soft floors are also ideal for seniors who suffer from joint pain and similar ailments. You can select padding of various thicknesses depending on the severity of the condition. The soft surface helps alleviate pain caused by simply walking down the hall, especially during periods of cold weather when rheumatism can be worst.
Modular floors are easy to clean
Older people have incontinence problems and this can lead to complicated accidents. To help ease the cleaning and maintenance process, modular tile floors are easy to install and remove.
You can easily separate any number of tiles to wash and dry separately. Once clean, they are just as easy to reinstall. When removing the tiles, you can also thoroughly clean the surface underneath to ensure that no growth of bacteria, mold, or fungus occurs.
Modular carpet, vinyl, and rubber tiles are relatively easy to clean and dry. For urine stains on fabric, you can apply vinegar before soap and water to break down the urea that causes the odor. Some floors have stable colored fabrics so you can wash them with bleach to completely remove all stains and odors.
Bleach and vinegar are also great at destroying unhealthy microbes that can grow on both soft and hard surfaces.
Low or no VOC flooring
Many people may not have heard of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, studies show that these compounds can cause a number of health problems, from asthma to headaches to pneumonia. Some volatile organic compounds can even cause cancer.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOC levels in the home can be substantially higher than in the outdoor environment.
Since older people have enough to deal with in terms of health problems, reducing the concentration of VOCs in the home can be of great benefit to them. In particular, you want to avoid more harmful VOCs like formaldehyde, which can have immediate health effects.
Flooring materials can differ significantly in the amount of VOCs, if any, they contain:
- Bamboo – One of the best options for attractive hardwood floors, the adhesives used to connect bamboo panels and tiles can contain VOCs. To make sure there is low or no VOC content, you should only use bamboo or other materials that meet the E1 standard.
- Carpet – Many types of carpets contain VOCs, so you will need to be careful when choosing the right product. Again, you can check that the E1 standard is on the safe side. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) issues a Green Label for low or no VOC carpets.
- cork – Cork uses toxic binders during manufacturing, but these are mainly removed during processing. Choose cork and cork stickers that display the E1 standard on the label to ensure low VOC content.
- Hardwood – The finish and adhesives used for wood floors may contain VOCs. You can refer to the E1 standard or ask the retailer or manufacturer for information on VOC content.
- Vinyl and linoleum – All natural linoleum can smell a lot after installation due to the presence of linseed oil. However, it has a low VOC content. Similar-looking vinyl, on the other hand, is another matter. Synthetic plastics used in making vinyl can emit harmful chemicals for years after installation. You need to be very careful when selecting the vinyl to make sure it is safe for the elderly.
Choosing the right flooring for the elderly will help prevent falls and improve overall health and well-being. Soft floors will provide cushioning when even walking can be difficult. Plus, modular floors are easy to clean, and many are bleach-safe so you can deal with the toughest stains and odors.