Kitchens and bathrooms are where most accidents in the home occur for people of any age. And unfortunately, as we age, these two areas of the home become even more dangerous.
We can’t avoid using our kitchen or bathroom to stay safe, though, which is why smart aging-in-place design needs to place a special focus on reducing the chance of an accident occurring in the kitchen and bathroom.
Why are kitchens and bathrooms so dangerous? Simple. Water.
The majority of accidents resulting in an injury among older adults are from slips and falls on wet or slippery surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom. And, because carpeting is atypical for these rooms, the flooring is usually hard, leaving very little cushioning in the event of falls.
In an effort to address this issue, many people like to use throw rugs in front of sinks, tubs, or showers, but using substandard products can increase the likelihood of slips, trips, and falls. So, to help make sure your kitchens and bathrooms are as safe and hazard-free as possible, I’ve compiled this handy list of flooring products that meet the standards outlined in my Ultimate Guide to Flooring for Aging in Place.
Contemporary Bordered Design Runner Rug by Ottomanson
Ottomanson is known for its high-quality throw rugs, and the Ottohome Collection is among its finest. This contemporary runner rug has a non-skid rubber backing, which minimizes slip hazards, while also protecting your floors from wear and tear. The rug is resistant to fading, stains, and shedding, making it durable enough to stand up to whatever your kitchen or bathroom can throw at it. Because it’s part of the Ottohome Collection, there are a variety of other decorative rugs you can use to complement this one in your dining room or hallway.
WHY IT’S GOOD FOR AGING IN PLACE: Low pile, instead of shaggy, the Ottomanson runner rug minimizes the potential for trips; however, you’ll still want to make sure to use transition strips around the edges to smooth the path for walkers and wheelchairs.
This premium sheet vinyl is one of the more affordable high-quality vinyl sheets available. It looks like real wood and is easy to install with the double-sided tape that comes with it, so this is a great option for first-time DIY-ers. One of the biggest benefits of going with a sheet vinyl is that it’s sold in sheets, as opposed to tiles, so there’s less worry about fluid seepage at the seams.
WHY IT’S GOOD FOR AGING IN PLACE: Not only is vinyl sheeting good for wheelchair and walker accessibility, it’s also easy to clean and maintain, making it an ideal surface for aging-in-place kitchens and bathrooms.
Extra-Wide Fluted Carpet Trim by M-D Building Products
Creating a smooth transition between flooring surfaces of unequal height, this extra-wide fluted trim by M-D Building Products seems custom made for retirement-age homeowners. For those with poor vision or mobility issues, uneven flooring can be extremely dangerous. M-D Building Products’ carpet trim not only eases this transition, it also guards against fraying carpet and curling vinyl floor seams. The extra width on this product allows for an even greater transition area, ensuring the slope is more gradual, creating even less of a trip hazard. Place it along the edge of the carpet where it meets the kitchen and/or bathroom to ensure a safe, easy transition between rooms.
WHY IT’S GOOD FOR AGING IN PLACE: Where two flooring surfaces meet, there’s bound to be trouble. More often than not, the transition is uneven, and therefore a tripping hazard. MD Building Products’ extra-wide carpet trim can make the height differential easier and safer to maneuver.
The Original Kangaroo Brands Anti-Fatigue Kitchen Floor Mat
Comfortable, age-friendly, and attractive, Kangaroo Brands’ Anti Fatigue Kitchen Floor Mat doesn’t have to stay in the kitchen. Its non-toxic high-grade foam is waterproof and therefore perfect for any wet area of the home, including the bathroom. Stain-resistant, easy to clean, and non-skid, this anti-fatigue mat is also ergonomically engineered to ease pressure on the lower back, knees, and feet. Whether you’re getting ready in the morning in the bathroom or preparing a meal for the family in the kitchen, this floor mat is a great choice for those who experience chronic pain when standing. It also comes in 15 colors.
WHY IT’S GOOD FOR AGING IN PLACE: With a grooved underside that keeps it firmly in place, and beveled edges to ease the transition from floor to mat, the Kangaroo Brands floor mat won’t slide when you walk across it with a walker or pull when you ride across it in a wheelchair. While nothing can prevent slips and trips 100 percent of the time, the Kangaroo Brands floor mat helps minimize the danger.
Select a Flooring Product for Your Kitchen and Bathroom That Will Improve Your Quality of Life and Keep You Safe
When it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, the dangers are real. It’s no secret that among older Americans, slips and falls are the top causes of injury. Wet floors in bathrooms and kitchens contribute greatly to these accidents, so it makes sense to take every precaution you can when remodeling these rooms.
Add each of these kitchen and bathroom products to make an instant upgrade in the safety of your aging-in-place home.
These are four easy products to add to your aging-in-place home that you can have installed and ready to go in just a weekend. Adding each to your kitchen and bathroom is going to make an immediate impact on the safety of your aging-in-place home and give your parent or loved one even greater confidence to age in place.
As you continue to renovate your aging-in-place home, use the comments section below to send any questions my way. Good luck with your next DIY aging-in-place home project.