An elderly lady living in a three-story, historic home and suffering from an extreme case of osteoporosis, got herself out of bed in the middle of the night to use the restroom. She used a walker to help keep her upright since her spine resembled a bit of a question mark. The night-time caregiver heard the woman up and stirring about, so she got up to assist.
Before the caregiver could get closer to her patient, the elderly woman’s walker caught the threshold going into the bathroom, and she took a nasty fall from a sold hardwood floor, landing on cold porcelain bathroom tile, leading to an Emergency Room visit and leaving her wheelchair-bound for the remainder of her life. This is a true story.
Falling is an extremely serious concern for seniors and those who love them. When that concern is realized in the home, due to loose or uneven thresholds, slippery tile floors, or worn, torn carpet, it is time to consider investing in more elderly-friendly flooring options in Denver.
Denver’s cool, crisp autumns and cold winters make the thought of warm, cozy carpet most appealing to seniors, and some soft, plush carpet-types actually create that effect in living rooms, dens and bedrooms. What you may not realize is carpet does little to retain warmth or insulate from cold to actually alter a room’s intrinsic temperature. However, carpet is soft, cushiony and has a great non-slip factor if properly maintained. Carpet can work well for seniors to get around more safely and will provide a softer surface in the unfortunate event of a fall.
A few of the drawbacks of carpet include its reputation for retaining dirt, dust, and allergens requiring more thorough vacuuming, and it can create a challenge to clean spills or pet accidents when liquid soaks through to the subflooring. Carpet is not recommended for rooms with a greater potential for wetness and moisture like kitchens, bathrooms, and mudrooms.
Additionally, depending on the style of carpet you choose, some are not conducive to wheelchair use.
Cork flooring has several benefits for the elderly. It is a medium-soft surface that is relatively easy to clean, and demonstrates some thermal and sound insulation. Cork floors pose fewer tripping hazards, and walkers and wheelchairs move well on this surface.
The biggest issues with cork flooring are: they are relatively soft and can be easily damaged with spike heels, furniture legs, and other sharp objects; and they are only partially moisture resistant. This means spills should be wiped up immediately to prevent moisture from seeping into the porous surface which can damage its core.
One of the most well-known styles of durable flooring is linoleum. It is water and stain resistant, and it is easy to clean and maintain. Sheet linoleum prevents moisture from penetrating through seams, which can occur with linoleum tiles or planks damaging the subfloor. Linoleum’s hard, smooth surface is great for walkers and wheelchairs, and offers no tripping hazards.
Linoleum may not be as hard and cold as tile or porcelain floors, it is not a soft surface upon which to fall, it does feel cold underfoot, and it is usually a more expensive choice.
Vinyl flooring has many of the same characteristics as linoleum but is a lesser expensive option. It is highly durable and water-resistant, especially if installed in sheets with seams along a room’s perimeter. It is not as hard or cold as tile, and it offers a smooth surface for walkers and wheelchairs to glide easily.
The drawbacks for vinyl are that it is a form of plastic that feels that way. It is best for use in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, mudrooms, and foyers, but is less appealing for living rooms, bedrooms and dens.
Hardwood & Laminate
Although very beautiful with a reputation for longevity when properly maintained, hardwood flooring is not water or stain resistant, it can be a challenge for seniors to maintain, it is noisier, and with actual hardwood and bamboo, it is a more expensive option requiring professional installation. Laminate is the cheaper option and can be a DIY project for a family member or friend, but with this plank-style flooring, moisture can be problematic.
When searching for elderly-friendly flooring in Denver, it is strongly advised that you steer clear of natural stone and ceramic or porcelain tile.
Natural stone is a very hard surface that becomes extremely slippery when wet. It also requires a great deal of maintenance to keep it polished and looking its best.
Besides the fact ceramic and porcelain tile is hard and cold, moisture makes it very slick. Plus, uneven tile and grout lines can become a tripping hazard for shuffling feet, canes and walkers.
If a special senior someone you know and love needs to update their flooring for safety and comfort, the experts at Denver Carpet and Flooring are here to help! We offer a FREE in-home consultation, provide flooring guides and samples; answers your questions; and unbiased assistance in the decision-making to ensure the process of buying and installing elderly-friendly flooring in Denver, flows smoothly, seamlessly, and affordably!
Source: The Spruce