What Flooring Is Safest for Seniors?

Whether you are an aging adult looking to choose safe and beautiful floors for your home, or you are helping your aging loved one find new flooring, there are a few factors to consider; safety chief among them. It is key to ensure that your new flooring choice is both slip- and trip-resistant. Of course, safety is important, but cleaning, comfort, cushion, and function should all be considered when shopping as these factors contribute to finding what flooring is safest for seniors.

Floors Seniors Should Avoid

First, let’s talk about the floors seniors should avoid. Falling is a real fear for many seniors, especially if they live alone and help is not readily available. Ensuring that the flooring inside seniors’ homes minimizes the risk of falling is a priority. 

Area rugs are a big no-no in spaces where seniors walk. Rugs often slide around, easily bunch up, and even the slightest height difference could be challenging for some individuals. Thus, area rugs can be a real tripping hazard, which, of course, should be avoided.

Natural stone is another material that should be avoided. It is very hard and requires regular maintenance, which makes it unforgiving. In addition, polished stone floor is slippery when wet and can be cold under bare feet. Ceramic and porcelain tile should also be avoided for the same reasons. Although this material requires very little maintenance, wide grout joints or uneven tiles can create a tripping risk.

Rubber Flooring Is Number One

Rubber flooring is a wonderful option for seniors because it is slip-resistant even when it is wet, making it the safest choice. Another great benefit is its absorbency. If someone were to fall on rubber flooring, it would most likely be less painful than hard surfaces. The cushioning and installation that rubber flooring offers also make it a warmer surface, which helps keep seniors more comfortable. In addition to all the great benefits that rubber flooring gives seniors, it also comes in a variety of color options, and it’s easy to maintain, making it not only a functional but aesthetically pleasing flooring solution.

Cork Flooring Is the Runner-Up

Another great option for seniors is cork flooring because it is soft, shock-absorbent, and provides traction, making it slip-resistant. Much like rubber flooring, it not only helps prevent falls but in the event of one, it cushions to reduce the chance of injury. Many cork floors are often finished with sealants, which will make it easy for seniors to wipe down and maintain. 

It is important to note that cork does not last over time and should not be placed in high-moisture areas, as it is prone to cracks, fading, and dents.

Vinyl Flooring Can Be Valuable for Seniors

When it comes to vinyl flooring, there are a lot of great benefits. It’s easy to maintain, waterproof, and easy to walk on without slipping. Compared to cork and rubber, vinyl is a harder flooring surface, making it less forgiving when it comes to falls. Modern vinyl is called luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) and comes in a variety of attractive styles, which means you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for function. This affordable flooring is an excellent option for seniors.

Carpet Shouldn’t Be Counted Out

Despite being more difficult for individuals in wheelchairs to maneuver on, carpet is still a great option for seniors. When installed correctly, wall-to-wall carpeting is smooth, soft, and comfortable. Carpet is especially ideal in colder regions because it provides warmth underfoot and a cozy feel. Plus, it is very cushiony and forgiving in case of a fall. Carpet is often overlooked as it can be tough to clean and may trap unwanted dust and debris, which can be challenging for seniors with allergies or breathing problems. Hypoallergenic carpets, however, are an ideal option for people with allergies as they better filter out pollen and dust.

Consult the Experts on Senior-Safe Flooring

If you need help figuring out what flooring types are senior-safe while also fitting your budget and style, Prestige Flooring and Tile is here to help. Give us today.