Aging in Place and Why Carpet Matters

As the Baby Boomer generation grows older and the economy remains challenging, more and more folks are either taking in their elderly parents in order to care for them; or renovating their parents’ homes to allow for aging in place. According to the Carpet and Rug Institute® (CRI) carpeting, rather than hardwoods or other non-carpeted flooring, is the best choice for households with aging individuals.

The reasons are numerous but certainly easy to understand. Carpeting is safer for seniors. As we grow older, our bones become more brittle and our balance is affected. “Slip and fall” accidents are commonplace for seniors causing serious injury. Carpeting allows for a slip resistant surface providing a safer walking environment. If someone should fall, injuries tend to be far less severe on a carpeted surface. If your aging parent or spouse uses a walker, cane, or other similar device, CRI recommends you ensure all carpets in your home are securely fastened. Low-pile carpets with extra firm cushioning is best in this scenario.

Another advantage to carpet is the noise reduction aspect. It can be disconcerting for seniors who are brought into an existing household with their children, grandkids, and pets. The new sounds and noisier environment tend to be somewhat challenging for older folks who are used to residing in a quieter home.

Carpet with extra cushioning is the most effective way to reduce unwanted noise. Seniors who may feel disjointed and unsure of their new home will appreciate the quiet, calming effects of the right carpet and corresponding cushion.

And speaking of calming the nerves, several studies indicate that color is an important component affecting one’s feelings and moods. Carpet manufacturers and retailers are aware of this fact and can recommend certain colors to enhance or change a mood, or simply provide a feeling of comfort and serenity.

According to CRI, blues, greens, teal, peach, mauve, coral and warm neutral colors are recommended to create a “soothing effect.” Conversely, warm or “hot” colors such as red can raise blood pressure while yellow can enhance feelings of anxiety and actually cause nausea…! It is remarkable that a simple color can do so much, but according to these studies, it is not only plausible but a proven fact.

In fact, the national Alzheimer’s Association claims that patients with Alzheimer’s or Dementia tend to remember colors rather than numbers. Therefore, color can be utilized to assist a patient with recalling a specific room or area and/or providing a vital memory link. This can also serve to enhance a patient’s sense of well-being and security.

Finally, carpeting is substantially warmer and softer than a hard surface. We know that seniors are more susceptible to changes in temperature; carpet will help to reduce the discomfort associated with these temperature changes and provide a warm and cozy footing for those individuals who are sensitive to excessive cold.

Overall, carpet is clearly the most sensible option for older individuals.