Did you know that in 2016 there were around one million Americans living in some type of senior living community and that number is expected to double by 2030? This rapid growth of individuals moving into senior living centers is also causing an increase in the number of facilities throughout the United States in order to accommodate these individuals. As more senior living centers and communities are developed, we at Warner Design Associates, try to provide up-to-date interior design recommendations that will help new residents and their families feel safe, and, most importantly, at home.
Some of the biggest changes in senior living communities are the new amenity offerings such as dining accommodations, fitness areas, community rooms for arts & crafts, and more. We want to ensure that residents can enjoy these new spaces while moving safely throughout the facility .
Choosing the right flooring is a big part of this process. Flooring can help prevent slippage and even decrease the risk of healthcare-associated infections. Here are a few tips on how to select proper flooring in a senior living community center.
There are a variety of flooring options to choose from and there often needs to be different material for the different types of spaces. The first step to understanding what flooring is suitable for each space is to interview the staff and stakeholders to get a better idea of how each space will be used. We will also typically ask for more information on past incidents, falls, or injuries (if available). Once we have an understanding of the room use and the safety hazards, we can research which products will meet the safety needs of the residents.
As seniors age, their eyes begin to yellow so one thing we recommend is looking at color through yellow glasses to get a better understanding of how an aging person would see it. We typically recommend that the color of the floor be in contrast to the walls or doors so that it’s easy to distinguish. It’s also important to take glare into consideration since it can often look like the floor is wet or dangerous to a resident. Selecting a matte finish flooring is often preferred.
As mentioned previously, we want to ensure that seniors feel safe moving between rooms which is why flooring transition is so important. If moving from a carpeted common area to a vinyl hallway, it’s important that there is little height difference between the materials so that there is little change in depth to the residents. This also helps support mobility devices easily move between surfaces.
When selecting a flooring type for each space, it’s extremely important for the designer to consider how that space will be used and how often it needs to be cleaned. We recommend interviewing the staff and stakeholders to discuss maintenance schedules and types of cleaners to get a better understanding of whether the material is suitable for a given space. When selecting carpet, for example, it’s important that the carpet has a moisture barrier backing in the event of a spill. Our biggest piece of advice is to select flooring types that are bleach resistant and easy to clean.
At Warner Design Associates, we often suggest broadloom or carpet squares for common areas, vinyl plank tiles for the dining rooms, vinyl planks or sheets for a resident’s room to give a wood-styled look, and carpet in assisted living environments. Still, we try to customize the flooring to fit the style, safety, and needs of the designated space. If you have any questions on which type of flooring is best for your community, feel free to contact us with any questions.