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Rugs, Carpets, or Bare Floors: What’s Best for Senior Safety Issues?

Senior Home Safety

Senior Home Safety

When seniors have safety issues at home, whether it’s due to a health emergency, major surgery, injuries sustained in an accident, or simply the natural process of aging, they may have difficulty with mobility first. Getting up and down the stairs often becomes more challenging for somebody in their late 70s, 80s, or 90s.

Getting out of bed and walking down the hall could require a cane or walker. When it comes to these safety issues for elderly individuals, no matter what their physical conditions, family and friends may look to various parts of their house with concern.

One commonly overlooked aspect of any home is the floor surface.

Floors are usually either carpeted with wall-to-wall carpeting, hardwood floors, vinyl floors, rugs, or even ceramic tile. There are several factors to consider with regard to safety for seniors with these different floor surfaces that can impact their safety.

Carpeting may be best.

Plush wall-to-wall carpeting may very well be one of the best floor surfaces. Even though it doesn’t necessarily offer the smoothest transition across the floor surface, especially if the senior has a tendency to drag their feet, it is soft and consistent.

A rug can be a liability, especially if the lip gets turned up.

Area rugs can look great. Even if they are brand-new, completely flat, and have no other issues, one little slip, a toe grabbing the corner, can cause a tripping hazard. The older a rug is, the more likely there is going to be problems with maintaining a completely flat surface to the floor underneath.

Ceramic tile can be extremely dangerous when it gets wet.

Many bathrooms and some kitchens have ceramic tile as their main floor surface. Even if it’s linoleum tile, when water spills on the surface it can create a much slicker floor. That can pose serious issues for elderly individuals as they begin struggling with their balance and mobility.

On ceramic tile and linoleum floor surfaces, placing nonslip pads around the areas that are most likely to get wet can be one way to help keep seniors safer. However, they would also need to be aware of the potential for these pads to get flipped up, have a lip, and cause a tripping hazard in that regard.

In the bathroom and kitchen, wall-to-wall carpeting is not practical or sanitary, but in most other rooms in the house this could be the better option.

It’s best to consult the senior first.

While this may be a parent or other loved one, they should be able to decide what changes get made in their house. Never take it upon yourself to make these decisions for them; respect them enough to discuss your concerns and get their approval before making any changes that can improve safety for them at home.


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Christy Swadkins

Christy Swadkins is the owner of Golden Heart Senior Care serving Summerlin and the Las Vegas area.Her personal and professional background brings a unique and rich quality to the care she provides for her clients.

Christy has a M.A. degree in Psychology and has worked helping families for over 25 years. She has worked in various settings including social service agencies, nursing homes and schools. Christy's ultimate professional goal is to use her talents and experience to make a difference in the lives of others.

Several years ago Christy's dad started showing signs of Dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Her family was faced with emotionally challenging decisions and she realized how difficult this situation can be for families. Christy wanted to use her personal experience to support others who are in the process of taking care of their elderly loved ones.

Christy has developed an exceptional support program for those providing care for elderly family members. Educational information and emotional support is available to help families cope with the stress and physical demands of caring for senior loved ones. It is Christy's philosophy that each stage of life is precious and individuals of all ages need to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

Christy seeks out Golden Heart team members who demonstrate a nurturing, respectful and professional demeanor.Christy truly appreciates the caregivers who work for Golden Heart and provides them with exceptional educational, emotional and professional support.

Christy is honored to be supporting the families of the Las Vegas valley.

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