Specialist Flooring: Care Home, Residential home and Retirement living Flooring
Retirement Living - Flooring
Hamilton Flooring are specialists in commercial, residential and medical & healthcare flooring, here we discuss an area which requires aspects of all three - Care home flooring.
According to a 2016 survey, approximately 416,000 people live in care and residential homes for the elderly in the UK. One aspect that is a particularly hot topic is living conditions and with a growing market of care homes, nursing homes and communal living for the elderly, the design and implementation of living spaces plays a huge part in happiness and life-satisfaction for our older communities. Life satisfaction and Well-being are two of the main indicators of positive ageing and something that gerontologists, policy makers and health professionals have been working towards for the past three decades. This is particularly notable with the growth of retirement villages, mirroring the US model as well as more traditional properties and luxury apartment living. With numerous policies, strategies and interventions in force it's no wonder that it can be an absolute minefield for those putting measures into practice.
Hamilton Flooring utilises thoughtful design and appropriate product selection to help create beautiful yet practical living spaces and flooring, meaning the transition to a new home can be made more enjoyable with stylish living not being sacrificed for practicality. Working with care home owners, staff and operators in mind we ensure the safety, longevity and ease of maintenance of all the flooring solutions we offer as well as expert preparation, installation and aftercare advice.
Choosing the right flooring
A challenge faced by care homes is that all residents will have different needs and desires and the custodians of the care homes will have specific budgets and requirements to be catered for. It is a fine balancing act and one that Hamilton Flooring has mastered through years of experience and know-how. The main starting point for flooring any care home or shared residential space for the elderly, is that the space must feel like home and not a clinic or medical facility. The importance of independence affecting well-being is a key factor in not just emotional health but more recent studies demonstrate its impact on physical health too. A care home or retirement home may be a space where one moves to on a permanent basis or it may be a place of recuperation for medium to short term, irrespective of this it should feel welcoming and homely whilst maintaining safety and hygiene features.
Residents may present with physical difficulties, emotional requirements or additional needs of a number of varieties and so care homes must account for this in its decor. At Hamilton flooring our aim is to work with clients to create welcoming, inclusive, and safe spaces that are attractive and durable, developed specifically with consideration so that residents may live well physically and emotionally.
Designing with purpose: Dementia friendly flooring
One of the main foci when designing care home flooring for use in spaces aimed at the elderly is the impact of Dementia. Estimations project that by 2025, over a million people in the UK will be living with Dementia and similar conditions with cognitive impact. With that in mind, many residential homes are looking to future proof their spaces by ensuring that interiors are inclusive to the needs of those with Dementia.
Companies such as Danfloor, JHS, Forbo and Polyflor are dedicated to ensuring that Dementia needs are met with their care home flooring and are engaging with experts in the field to provide appropriate surfaces which support people with Dementia and allow them to move around with confidence. Forbo in particularly has, in collaboration with the University of Stirlings’ Dementia Services
Development Centre, reviewed over 1000 of their flooring coverings to assess their suitability for use in dementia friendly environments. Creating a comprehensive resource and coding system to rate levels of inclusivity each of their flooring types offer. This dedication is something that Hamilton Flooring is proud to continue through their own work and do so by ensuring that they are always fully informed of all recommendations and requirements and that they remain at the highest level of expertise in this area which is of such great importance.
Understanding the role flooring plays in a dementia friendly environment is key. With flooring there are many aspects of design, texture and finish that can confuse or agitate individuals living with this condition. As an example, flooring with distinct patterns such as coloured strips or blocks may cause people to step differently and avoid areas, perceiving these designs to be level changes which is a serious problem as changes in gait can cause an increase in the likelihood of falls and instability.
Similarly, high shine surfaces give the appearance of wetness which impacts the confidence of walking on the surface. Additionally, overly shiny floors can create glare which again hampers confidence when navigating the space. The same should be noted for threshold strips, which traditionally are shiny metal and so not at all suitable for this environment. All the flooring we use in homes for aged residents are matte and devoid of flecks and patterns to refrain from creating visual illusions or distortions which may promote anxiety and frustration. This is not to mean that uninspired choices are required. Low contrast, textured appearances, and a positive use of colour can still contribute to a homely feel whilst not exacerbating symptoms and difficulties associated with dementia and poor vision. It is recommended that mid toned colours are used to differentiate flooring from walls and aide in confident walking but not so dark that they may be mistaken as holes or gaps. Combining colours with minimal contrast particularly when transitioning between rooms. The LRV (Light Reflectance Value) of surfaces is also very key and over 25 years of research has gone into providing distinct guidance on LRV values, of which Hamilton Flooring specialists are well versed.
In some circumstances, flooring can be used to support navigation, however, it is well established that when considering wayfinding and orientation for the elderly (especially in unfamiliar surroundings) objects at eye level are safer and more effective than using colour changes in flooring which can obscure depth perception.
A further key consideration is the role of acoustics and noise pollution reduction. Noise can provide distressing distraction and disorientation for those living with dementia as the condition can be affected by sensory changes. Noise absorbing flooring is also more conducive to communal living, whether in adjacent rooms and apartments or in shared living spaces, noise reduction helps improve the feeling of privacy. This is especially important in residences where there is significant support from healthcare professionals who may be up and about all through the day and night walking around.
Hamilton Flooring specialises in laying safety flooring for a number of purposes and only work with the highest quality suppliers to ensure that safety and durability factors are met. Polyflor, Altro and Forbo are key players in dementia friendly safety flooring and are constantly changing and evolving to incorporate the best in bacteria management, durability and anti slip technology. For example, Forbo’s marmoleum flooring is proven to inhibit the spread of MRSA, Norovirus and E-coli.
With In-depth knowledge of the types of flooring on the market and a huge range of dementia friendly options available to them, the professionals at Hamilton Flooring are experts in consulting for flooring in care homes and similar spaces ensuring that high-quality, highly durable yet homely and welcoming floors are fitted to the highest standard. For more information or for a consultation please contact one of our flooring specialists.