Rubber Flooring - Elderly Safety Considerations
Many older homes in communities around the country were designed for easy upkeep and beauty, with hardwood floors, linoleum tiles and flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, and common areas. In other homes, shag carpeting reminiscent of the 60s and 70s, indoor/outdoor carpeting and rugs, runners or carpet sections increases the hazards and fall risks in mom or dad's home.
While ripping out the carpeting or placing hardwood flooring or other smooth surfaced flooring in the home is not financially feasible for many, you can help prevent accidents and increase the safety and security of your loved one by placing sections of rubber flooring in certain areas of the elder's home.
Flooring provides the ultimate safety in bathrooms, where tiles and linoleum flooring can prove especially hazardous after a bath or shower. This type of flooring prevents slips not only from your loved one's feet, but from either single or quad canes or walkers.
Today, modern technology is able to create flooring that looks just like a hardwood floor. Sections or squares of flooring fit together with interlocking tabs much like those found in jigsaw puzzles. Others are available in rolls or larger squares to cut down on the chance of pieces not fitting together properly.
Flooring also comes in a variety of thicknesses and may help seniors who have foot problems, have experienced pain or instability due to knee or hip replacements, or conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis.
Sections of flooring, depending on the manufacture and brand, can fit together seamlessly, offering safer mobility for seniors with gait problems. For example, seniors with Parkinson's disease tend to shuffle their feet, hesitant to lift their feet off the floor. This type of flooring may help provide added stability and support.
In worst-case scenarios, a senior who experiences frequent falls may find this type of flooring helps to protect the body more than hard wood or linoleum or tile floors provide. Additional padding placed beneath rubber floor tiles or sections can help provide even more protection.
Some of the most common selections today for flooring include a variety of color choices such as dark blue, light blue, olive green, brown, and varying shades of gray. Rubber flooring looks very similar to a carpet-like surface, and those designed to look like wood offer beautiful detail in up to five different colors that mimic the grain and color of everything from oak to cherry wood to mahogany.
Flooring and sections are very common in a child's playroom, and have only recently become more popular in the homes of seniors around the country. Determine what type of flooring would look best in your parent's home environment and take into consideration the difference in thicknesses that may provide greater comfort or ease of mobility for your loved one.
The cost of flooring naturally depends on the surface area to be covered as well as the manufacturer or provider you choose. On average, you can spend between a $1.95 a square foot or up to $4.00 a square foot. Flooring may also come prepackaged in boxes at your local home improvement store.
Flooring squares generally come in 2x2 foot sizes, or you can order larger rubber mats that mimic the look of bamboo or wood in squares measuring 5 feet by 10 feet.
When choosing flooring, research your options, determine what you're looking for and how this type of flooring will help improve the quality of life, mobility or protection and safety of your loved one. Do your homework and ask around. Log onto the Internet and look for providers who may offer more options than your local home improvement store. While you'll need to take into consideration the cost of shipping and handling when ordering online, you'll likely have more options in color, size, and type when ordering over the Internet.