A new style of extended care is emerging following the pandemic. Called patient-centered care models, these residential, household and apartment-style environments prioritize positive patient outcomes.
While patient-centered care models are fitting for all types of healthcare and extended care settings, this trend is having a significant impact on senior living design. Designing with a focus on the overall health, safety and well-being of residents has a direct correlation to quality of life, and flooring plays a key role in delivering each of these priorities.
Related: “Less about Senior, More about Living” video
When designing for senior care spaces, safety and accessibility should be top of mind, but you don’t have to compromise design for function. In fact, the most talked about senior living destinations seamlessly offer both, often taking inspiration from segments outside of healthcare. Here are four things to consider when specifying flooring for environments catering to an aging population:
Find flooring inspiration in hospitality design.
Radiant pops of color. Unique, stunning patterns. A plush, luxurious feel. These are phrases often used to describe hospitality flooring, but these same attributes are important in senior living as both environments are focused on creating a warm, welcoming feel.
In addition to setting an inviting tone and ensuring residents feel comfortable, an intentional use of carpet patterns and colors helps with wayfinding – a critical consideration for older individuals with limited mobility and memory concerns.
Wayfinding is the use of design elements to help residents navigate an environment. For senior living, the use of wayfinding in flooring choices helps older residents more easily and safely move about their community. For example, Galerie Living, Corso Atlanta, a sophisticated senior living community in Buckhead, turned to a custom Mannington Commercial Carpet collection to achieve a unique aesthetic that also supported the community’s wayfinding needs through the use of uniform color, but differing patterns per floor. The thought process behind this being, when the elevator door opens, residents know which floor they’re on because of the distinct pattern used. At Corso Atlanta, the floors alternate patterns in the same colorway to provide fluidity to the community. An additional wayfinding tool found at Corso Atlanta is seen at the resident unit entry doors. Entry doors have their own color per floor, with all secondary doors remaining the typical trim color. This concept, combined with the pattern change in the carpeting, allows the resident to feel confident they are on the right floor.
Senior living often draws from hospitality design to help achieve its boutique luxury feel. Galerie Living’s Corso Atlanta team took a high-end residential setting, elevated its look with a hospitality flair and grounded it by using a holistic wellness approach. This accomplishment was due in part by selecting carpet in a 36-ounce product weight and tip-sheared finish. The weight and finish is a standard in hospitality soft surface, and is thicker than the typical 22 or 24 ounces used in other segments like workplace and education. A tip-sheared finish is typically seen in residential styling because it provides a warm feeling and soft hand, above that of any looped product. The tip-sheared attribute lends that home-like feeling. Both the weight and finish result in a more dense and luxurious carpet for senior living.
“Everyone loves the carpeting,” said Stephanie Hagans, Galerie Living’s Director of Interior Design. “Residents often comment on how light and airy the common spaces are, and what a difference it makes in their moods. As Tim Gary, CEO of Galerie Living, always says, 'we create unexpected happiness in our communities every day' and that's exactly what we've done with the Mannington carpeting here.”
Hear more from Hagans as she discusses why she selected a custom Mannington Commercial Carpet collection in the video below.
Watch now: Corso Atlanta Video
Residential design is influencing senior living now more than ever.
As patient-centered care models set a new standard for senior living environments, residential design trends are heavily influencing the senior living segment. We’re starting to see an increased mix of flooring types in senior living environments, ranging from carpet in common areas, LVT in private living spaces and rubber in multi-purpose areas.
Color might be the most important element to keep in mind. Residential design has seen plenty of gray and is trending toward warmer color schemes, with the use of bleached-blonde, dirty-blonde and natural toned finishes becoming increasingly more popular. Ensure your senior living space stays ahead of the design curve by selecting flooring that conveys coziness and works well with gold, beige and taupe neutrals. Designers also often draw from natural elements – specifically, the coastline and ocean – to find color schemes that evoke calmness and provide a hospitality look with a spa-like feeling. Corso Atlanta chose a serene palette of greens and blues, and the use of mixed metals, to provide residents with a feeling of sophistication coupled with inner peace.
Proper flooring maintenance never goes out of style.
With a medium-to-high traffic environment like senior living, regular and proper flooring maintenance is critically important. The best way to maintain your flooring investment is to create a cleaning plan and routine, and then abide by it. Keeping up maintenance is sure to increase the longevity of your flooring.
Since installation, Corso Atlanta has adopted a regular maintenance and cleaning schedule to preserve the newness of its light-colored carpeting. “If I could give one piece of advice, it’s to not just clean to remove staining and soiling,” said Hagans. “You have to be proactive, even when the carpet looks new and perfect.”
While there are different approaches to cleaning, Mannington Commercial recommends hot water extraction for carpet as it allows fibers to be fully saturated and loosened before any soiling is extracted through a powerful vacuum.
Related: How to Clean and Maintain Commercial Carpet
Safety and ADA compliance should be top of mind.
Across senior living, hospitality and residential, designers must comply with variety of flooring requirements as outlined by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design) to get their certificate of occupancy (CO). However, senior living requires many more specific safety considerations for the aging population.
In an environment like senior living, the durability of flooring is a top concern. Designers must choose flooring that is able to withstand a good amount of traffic and prioritizes resident ease-of-use, maneuverability and comfort.
Other senior living-specific considerations include:
- Accessibility factors like ramps and handrails, as well as accessible routes for wheelchair, walker and cane users.
- Floor surfaces should have slip-resistant properties to prevent falls or other accidents.
- Color contrast between walls and flooring is important as it helps create a distinction. Designers must consider how color choices might impact depth perception. Avoid dark colors that might appear as holes/drop offs to aging eyes.
It’s also critically important to seamlessly merge different flooring types to minimize tripping and fall hazards. To address this need, Mannington Commercial offers a variety of transition solutions to support resident safety and accessibility.
With 108 years of experience, Mannington Commercial is your trusted expert in flooring solutions for senior living. We offer carpet, LVT, rubber and resilient sheet options to enhance a variety of spaces. With a focus on performance and luxury, Mannington works with designers to provide options that prioritize resident wellbeing and comfort.