Reasons to Pick Proper Nursing Home Flooring & the Most Suitable Types
Flooring takes up a huge part of any facility. But when it comes to aged care homes, the choice of flooring is especially important. Older individuals often have trouble moving, and depending on the type of flooring, things can get either easier or more difficult for them. The same goes for nursing home staff which will have to clean the floors daily to ensure a healthy environment. Let’s check the reasons why proper flooring makes a big difference in nursing homes and the most suitable types on the market.
It Ensures Safe & Seamless Movement in the Facility
Elderly people struggle with their balance, which is why falling is the most common cause of injury for them. Hip fractures are especially common with Alzheimer’s disease and the same goes for head injuries and broken bones on arms and legs. On average, one in three people who are older than sixty-five and two in three people older than eighty, fall at least once a year. This is why you need to invest in nursing home flooring designed to be safe and supportive so older people can easily walk and avoid getting injured.
But preventing injuries isn’t the only benefit from the right choice of flooring. When the elderly able to walk easily and safely on the floor, they tend to feel more confident and be more active. This is great for their health as moving stimulates both the brain and the body which is essential to maintain cognitive capacity. When elderly people stop walking, often their health starts to decline. This is why it is of great importance to offer residents a safe and healthy environment to move in.
Poor sight can be another reason for falling. Sometimes older people aren’t able to see things clearly, and they miss a step or aren’t able to see the doorstep. Using floors in brighter, monochromatic colours in nursing homes can help these people keep their orientation. Sudden changes in the flooring are not advised, since it may be overwhelming for elderly people who already have cognitive difficulties. Additionally, complex patterns or dark colours can cause anxiety in dementia-sufferers. If there is a black area on the floor, it can be seen as an obstacle by dementia-sufferers. This may make them feel scared that they won’t be able to walk. It’s best not to use complex patterns on the floor and ensure there are no dark zones in a corridor.
Reassuring spaces and floors that are suitable both for feet and wheels are a good option. Choose a floor that has a low roll-resistance and provides comfort when walking for both the older residents and the medical team. Transit areas and corridors should be wide enough for easy navigation of wheelchairs and beds. These areas should have visible handrails and rest points where elderly people can hold or sit on.
To avoid slipping (which can end fatally for quite old people) make sure to use non-slip flooring where people mostly walk barefoot or in slippers. This is especially important for bathrooms.
It Makes for Easier Cleaning
Maintaining and cleaning a floor costs ten times more than to install it. Within two years, cleaning and maintenance may cost as much as the flooring installation. This is why it’s important to choose a flooring solution that requires less maintenance. See this as a long-term investment and pick aged care flooring that’s durable and easy to clean, if you want to save money in the long run.
The flooring should be resistant to heavy traffic and abrasion. Also, it shouldn’t require polishing or stripping. Ideally, the flooring should resist indentation (which can easily happen when beds and wheelchairs are passing). The surface should be smooth and impenetrable, which makes them easier to clean. And finally, flooring that is stain resistant is a must (in such facilities this is especially important because of disinfectants, cleaning agents, urine, or blood).
Suitable Materials for Aged Home Flooring
Cork is a natural and soft material. Soft flooring is essential for falls because it will not cause sharp pain or fractures (it works as a cushion). Wax the cork floor to stop water damage or staining. Although soft, this material isn’t as durable as some of the other options, but once waxed it’s easier to maintain.
Vinyl flooring is one of the easiest for cleaning and maintaining. It’s water-resistant, so spills of water or other liquids won’t damage it. Padded vinyl is excellent for rooms, common spaces and bathrooms. It won’t stain and will keep its fresh look for a long period of time. It’s also easily disinfected. The padded underlayer gives warmth and softness that can absorb the impact of a fall. This flooring helps reduce injury risk for elderly residents.
Linoleum is quite similar to vinyl, but it’s natural. It’s a good option if you value natural materials that won’t emit toxic off-gassing. The con here is that it isn’t quite as stain-resistant as padded vinyl, but it’s still easy to clean, disinfect, and maintain.
Rubber is a great option for nursing home flooring. This material is the safest choice when it comes to falls as the floor spreads and dissipates impacts far more effectively than padded alternatives. It’s also easy to maintain. Rubber is naturally water and stain-resistant. The con with this material is there might be a faint rubber smell. Most people are fine with the scent, but some don’t like it.