Did you know that accidental falls are one of the major causes of death or hospitalization for seniors in Canada? Unfortunately, nearly one in three seniors experience one or more falls on average every year. With a growing population of seniors in Canada, these numbers are only expected to rise.
As such, if you have a senior loved one who lives alone at home, you should do everything within your power to ensure their home is as safe and fall-proof as possible.
While there are many strategies you can use to reduce the risk of falls, ensuring rug safety in homes with seniors is amongst the most important. That is why we have dedicated an article to ensure your loved one feels safe and secure in the comfort of their home.
Understanding Different Types of Rugs & Their Benefits
While having no rugs at all is the safest way to eliminate the risk of seniors tripping, sometimes rugs are needed to protect the home’s flooring from damage, to provide comfort for footing, for noise reduction, and even to anchor furniture. Rugs are also easier to clean and help keep the living space warmer making a house feel like home!
Thus, sometimes removing rugs altogether isn’t the best choice. However, if you do plan on keeping rugs in homes with seniors you should always choose a rug that has a low and thin profile and no-slip backing to reduce the chances of accidental falls.
You should avoid having rugs that have a profile of more than a ¼ inch or are too plush, as these types of rugs and carpets can cause seniors to lose their footing and balance.
Rugs that have non-slip rubber backings are ideal for seniors as the rubber helps prevent the rug from moving or scooting along the floor when walked on.
Getting a heavy rug that isn’t plush is also a good choice. The heavier weight can prevent these rugs from slipping and can provide better insulation during winter.
Buying new rugs can be expensive, so if you want to use the existing rugs in the home invest in a rug gripper. A rug gripper is a special type of mat that is designed to fit between the floor and the rug to prevent it from moving.
Thus, when it comes to rugs for seniors you should only consider rugs of the following types:
These types of mats or rugs are designed to offer cushioning in case of a fall. These thicker mats can help soften the blow in the event of a fall and are considered much safer options in homes with seniors.
These mats are normally found in offices and commercial spaces where people tend to stand a lot more. They offer cushioning for the feet as well as support making them a suitable choice as well.
Rubber-Backed Kitchen Rugs
By far the best choice, thanks to convenience, availability, features, and design choices are rubber-backed kitchen rugs. With a rubber sole, these types of rugs don’t slip or scoot on the floor when walking even if the floor is wet.
Rug Safety Tips - How To Avoid Potential Hazards?
To ensure rug safety in homes with seniors here are our top rug safety tips.
- Remove any rugs, mats, or carpets that aren’t needed. The best way to ensure rug safety is to have no rugs at all or as few as possible.
- Place gripper tape or a gripper pad under your rug or mat to prevent them from slipping, bunching, or bulking up. A rug pad also helps protect the floor as well as reducing the chances of trips or falls.
- Make sure that the rug is vacuumed at least twice a week and washed once a month. Rugs, mats, and carpets are prone to dust settling deep into their fibers. This can cause bacteria, pollutants, micro toxins, and germs to form causing allergies and weakening the immune system.
- Opt for larger rugs instead of smaller ones. Having smaller throw rugs or multiple throw rugs can leave many edges that a senior can easily trip over. Remember, even the slightest changes in floor height can result in a trip or fall. A big rug or a fully carpeted room isn’t ideal but it is much safer as there are fewer edges to contend with.
- If you plan on carpeting the floor always opt for hypoallergenic carpets as they are better able to filter out dust and pollen.
Safer Flooring Alternatives & Their Advantages
One of the best things you can do to make your senior loved one's home safe from accidental falls is to opt for flooring that is slip-resistant, easy to move on even while using a walker or wheelchair, easy to clean and maintain, comfortable, and soft to absorb any damage in the event of a fall.
As such, the best and safest type of flooring for the elderly is rubber or cork flooring. Both types of flooring options are slip-resistant even when wet, have excellent absorbency, provide warmth and comfort, are easy to maintain, and are aesthetically pleasing.
If these flooring options are out of budget, vinyl flooring or carpeting the home can also be a safe and viable solution. Vinyl flooring is affordable, easy to maintain, slip-resistant, and available in many attractive designs and styles. The only drawback is that they aren’t shock absorbent so if that is what is most important to you opt for wall-to-wall carpeting instead. While carpets can be harder to maintain and clean they do provide warmth, comfort, and shock absorption in the event of a fall.
Home Safety Devices For Seniors - Northwood Intouch
Ensuring rug safety is just one component of home safety. There are many things within a home that need looking after as your loved ones age. You can learn more about essential home safety tips in our blog about “Home Safety Measures For Seniors With Limited Mobility”.
The use of assistive devices in fall prevention is also instrumental when it comes to reducing the chances of serious injury from falls and other home-related accidents.
To learn more about our products or for more information on senior care call us at +1 (902) 492-3346 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org