When it comes to modifying the home, floor safety is often overlooked. However improving the flooring throughout the home can make one of the biggest differences in one’s independence and ability to safely age at home. This is especially true for those that experience shuffling or freezing episodes - common symptoms of Parkinson's.
There are a variety of ways to improve safety at home. Including fixing unsafe flooring, addressing slippery areas of the home and finding proper shoes for Parkinson’s.
Choosing the Right Flooring
It’s important to first address the type of flooring in the home.
Although there are a lot of flooring options available, not all options are going to be useful in every situation. With Parkinson's, one may develop a shuffling gait or impaired balance. In this case, it is important that the floor be stable and non-skid to accommodate these symptoms.
When deciding what type of flooring to use, here are a few things to consider:
- Dense or uneven carpeting can be a trip hazard. This type of carpeting can also be hard to grip with shoes. When considering safety for someone with Parkinson's, it is best to avoid this type of flooring.
- Tile floors can be slippery, especially if they are wet. They can also be hard on one’s joints if they have arthritis or another condition that causes joint pain. If tile is used in the home, it’s important to make sure it is textured to provide more grip.
- Vinyl or linoleum floors can also be slippery, but they are softer on your joints than tile. They are also easier to install and maintain than other types of flooring.
- Hardwood floors are common in many homes. They can be slippery, but they are also easy to grip with your shoes. If you have hardwood floors, make sure they are sealed to create a non-skid surface. Avoid waxing as this will make the surface more slippery.
- Avoid rugs whenever possible. If any rugs are found in the home, make sure they are low-pile and have a non-skid backing. There are options out there for non-slip area rugs for hardwood floors, but make sure it will not interfere with any mobility devices or shuffling gait.
It is also important to consider some additional fall prevention measures in the bathroom area, including non-slip floor tiles for the shower and non-slip bathroom floor tiles.
Non-Slip Floor Tiles for Showers
Non-slip floor tiles for showers can be a great option to maintain safety at home. Showers are a common place for falls to occur so it’s important to maximize safety in the shower to prevent slipping on wet, soapy surfaces.
When choosing non-slip floor tiles for showers, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Size - the tiles should be large enough that they will not present a trip hazard, but small enough that they can be easily installed in the shower area.
- Color - the color of the tile should contrast with the color of the grout to account for any decreased lighting or impaired vision.
- Texture - the tile should have a textured surface to provide more grip.
- Shape - the tiles should be flat with smooth edges to avoid any sharp corners or edges.
- Material - the tile should be made from a non-porous material that is resistant to mold and mildew.
- Installation - the tile should be installed by a professional to ensure it is properly sealed and grouted.
Want to explore more home safety solutions? Click the link to schedule a complimentary home safety checkup with a licensed expert. They can help you or a loved one find the most appropriate solutions.
Floor Mats for Preventing Falls
For those not ready to remodel the shower or bathroom floor, a floor mat could be another great option. Typically, mats and rugs are not recommended, but the bathroom is an exception. In areas where the floor may become wet and slippery, such as outside the shower or near the sink, a floor mat can protect a person from falls by absorbing the water.
Though one will still need to be careful around the mat, especially when using a mobility device or entering/exiting the shower. Make sure the mat is properly secured to the ground.
When choosing a floor mat, look for one that:
- Has a non-skid backing
- Is made from a water-resistant material
- Can be easily cleaned
For those looking into the best floor mat options, we personally recommend Yimobra's Memory Foam Bath Mat, built with strong PVC backing to prevent any shifting and skidding when stepping onto or off of the rug.
- Absorbent microfiber materials
- Memory foam padding
- Nonslip backing that doesn’t require any additional adhesives
- Machine washable
Best Shoes for Parkinson’s
One of the best methods of falls prevention is to wear shoes that provide good traction and support. Shoes are the starting point for balance, so it is important to keep them steady. Whether at home or in the community, always make sure to wear non-skid footwear.
When choosing shoes for Parkinson’s, look for ones that:
- have a non-slip sole
- are comfortable and provide good support
- are easy to put on and take off
- are the right size - not too big or small
If you’d like to explore more options our Client Care Team can help you find and choose the shoes based on your loved one's specific needs.
Shoes Designed for Parkinson's
For those living with Parkinson's, there are specific shoes and socks made specific to minimizing fall risk. For example Friendly Shoes provide a variety of options designed to be easy to get on and off, as well as safe for walking around.
In addition, one may want to consider non-skid socks which are a cost-effective way to increase traction on slippery flooring. We recommend GripJoy’s Non-Skid socks that are designed for both men and women.
- Machine washable
- Available in a variety of sizes and styles
- Patented grip pattern to ensure grips won’t fall off
Floor Safety Matters
Fall prevention is critical for those living with Parkinson's at home. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent falls such as installing non-slip floor tiles in the shower and finding shoes for Parkinson’s, specifically designed to address the common symptoms that increase the risk of injury at home.
If you’re interested in learning more about home modifications or floor safety you can schedule a complimentary home safety checkup with an occupational therapist through Jukebox Health. During this checkup, the therapist will come to the home and assess all safety risks that may impact your loved one’s ability to age at home.