With a rapidly aging population, many homeowners are making renovations to their homes, or the homes of loved ones, to ensure a safe living environment. If you find yourself in this situation, consider starting at the bottom — the floor — and working your way up.
Slips and falls are a problem in any home, especially one that houses aging residents. Here are some tips to ensure that a walk across the floor is as easy as a walk through the park!
• Whether your choosing wood, tile or carpet, it is wise to employ a sharp color contrast to identify any changes in elevation. This will help identify where the floor ends and walls, stairs and doors begin. For example, in a home with hardwood flooring, an end cap that is a few shades darker can improve both appearance and safety!
• If you or your loved one is using a walker or some other mobility aid, hardwood, linoleum or tile are the best choices as they are easily navigated and do not drag or pull when in contact with sneakers or rubber-covered devices.
• If installing tile, ask the sales representative about slip resistance, which can differ from product to product.
• Consider the flooring finish as well. Following changes in level, glare is the next largest impediment to safe mobility. For example, a matte finish on a wood floor reduces glare considerably when compared to a gloss finish.
Finally, it’s important to note that area rugs, when placed over any type of flooring, are always a slip and fall hazard!