One out of three seniors (those over age 65) falls each year, per the CDC. More than 6.5 million have a severe visual impairment, with rates are predicted to double by 2030, per a study referenced on the American Federation of the Blind’s site.
That’s why senior care providers — professionals and family members alike — need to think with their feet. Whether they are caring for seniors at home or in assisted living communities, nursing homes, and elsewhere, flooring makes a huge difference when it comes to preventing falls and encouraging mobility, particularly for those with vision loss.
Case in point: sand may be soft and squishy, but it’s not easy to walk across. Imagine navigating sandy shores with a walker, cane or wheelchair — and with a visual impairment to boot? There is no traction, no level ground, no color contrast or clearly marked path. Of course, no one would dream of lining hallways with sand, but plushy carpets and rugs with a high pile pose a similar difficulty.
Hard flooring is best, but the surface should not be so smooth, slick and glossy; a slightly textured surface provides grip, reduces glare and prevents slipping.
Color and appearance is important too. A rug with a busy pattern may look lovely, but it’s hard on aging eyes. Solid tones and a contrast between walls, thresholds and rooms better guides the eyes and the feet.