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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: hoyahoyasaxa on December 14, 2015, 01:09:10 PM

Title: Advice for Elderly friendly flooring
Post by: hoyahoyasaxa on December 14, 2015, 01:09:10 PM
Without going into too much detail, my parents, both 70, are being priced out of their apartment. I essentially did a financial intervention with them and a certified financial planner showed them why they need to move pronto. They have dragged their feet and so I got further involved and found them a few rental places near me which I think would work just fine. My father has Parkinson's and is mostly confined to a wheelchair (he can move very short distances with a walker) and they came up this weekend to look at a place in a 55 and over community. It has 99% of the "must haves" on my mother's list, but she is going to turn them down because the apartment has heavy carpeting and it would be out of their price range to install new hardwood floors. I told them not to say "no" and that I'm sure we could figure something out that could accommodate my father.

So, Mustachians, I'm appealing to you for advice. My father would not have full range of any apartment because of his disability - he would likely just walk with his walker from his bedroom to the bathroom, and maybe from the bedroom to the TV room and kitchen. Is there anything that could be placed over the carpet that you think would make it easier for a person with a walker or wheelchair to navigate it?
Title: Re: Advice for Elderly friendly flooring
Post by: lbmustache on December 14, 2015, 01:15:39 PM
Not to be a dick but googling "wheelchair over carpet," came up with a million results:
^ This seems like your best bet.
Title: Re: Advice for Elderly friendly flooring
Post by: Craft_endlessly on December 14, 2015, 01:21:31 PM
Laminate flooring is cheap and can be laid over some types of flooring. I don't think it can be laid over high carpet though. It has the appearance of hardwood flooring but is much cheaper and is laid in larger pieces. It snaps together pretty quickly and might work as a total floor cover. My parents have found stuff for around a dollar a square foot (sometimes it can be had even cheaper). You can install it with a laminate floor block (fits over the grooves), a hammer, and a jigsaw.

Another option is computer mats. You could cut them to size for the hallways and navigable areas. They have spikes on one side that fit into the carpet and make the surface smooth and keeps it from sliding around. They are not squishy- made of hard clear plastic for computer chair wheels. I think it would work with a walker or wheelchair provided you don't have too large an area (seams could be problematic). 
Title: Re: Advice for Elderly friendly flooring
Post by: justchristine on December 14, 2015, 01:39:34 PM
How thick is that carpet that a wheelchair or walker can't be used?  My parent's house is completely carpeted in all the areas that my dad uses and he does fine with his walker.
Title: Re: Advice for Elderly friendly flooring
Post by: Gggirl on December 14, 2015, 02:38:56 PM
If the apartment is on the first floor ask them if it can be replaced with laminate. I work in medical field in people homes. I have never seen anything go over the carpet. It would make the threshold from tile (bathroom) into bedroom even higher. Lush carpet is not a friend to a person with Parkinson's. On the second floor apartments are less likely due to noise level. Will they replace the carpet with thin carpet? They might do that for second floor. If they do change the floors don't let your parents go bonkers with rugs. It would defeat the purpose of laminate.
Title: Re: Advice for Elderly friendly flooring
Post by: lizzzi on December 14, 2015, 06:37:02 PM
Retired public health nurse here, and also long-time caregiver for elderly relative who used walker on wall-to-wall carpet for years. The carpet will be less slippery underfoot, and also a bit softer if your dad falls. As long as it isn't a super plush carpet, it should be fine. I realize that a hardwood or laminate would be easier to clean up in case of spills or incontinence (if not wearing an incontinence product)...but I have found that benefit outweighed by the slipperiness. A wheelchair goes fine on carpet as long as it isn't overly plush.