Well known for its ability to give warmth and style to a room, absorb unwanted noise and give firm traction, carpet has gained a reputation as the floor covering of choice for aging adults who live on their own or with their families.
Safety: Safety is a top consideration for older people, who seek a stable, slip resistant walking surface that protects them from “slip and fall” accidents. Carpeted surfaces are much more effective at preventing slips and falls than hard, smooth surfaces. And when accidents do happen, they tend to be less severe on carpet.
For those people who use braces, canes or walkers, maintaining balance can be less difficult with low pile carpet combined with an extra firm cushion. CRI also recommends securely fastening carpet and rugs to give firmer footing.
Carpet also can cut or eliminate reflected glare, which minimizes disorientation and can reduce leg fatigue associated with walking or standing on hard surfaces.
Healing colors: Studies have shown that color has psychological effects on moods. With this in mind, blues, greens, teal, mauve, coral, peach and warm neutrals are often chosen for their soothing effects. Avoid “hot” tones such as red, which may raise blood pressure for some, and yellow, which may cause nausea and anxiety to someone who already is not feeling well.
Color also plays a significant role with Alzheimer’s patients. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, patients remember colors better than numbers; therefore, color in carpet can give a memory link and better help to orient a person to a specific room or area.
Noise reduction: Lack of privacy and unwanted noise can sometimes challenge seniors, who appreciate their independence and may not be used to the noise levels created by visiting family members. Carpet with an attached or separate cushion is the most effective way to control noise and minimize sound indoors.
Comfort and warmth: Older adults, whose feet and ankles are susceptible to temperature changes, will stay warmer on carpet due to its natural insulating properties. The surface temperature of carpet is substantially higher than that of hard surfaces due to pile construction, which acts as an efficient thermal insulator.