10 Key Factors of Floor Design Every Senior Living Facility Should Consider

According to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, there are approximately 28,900 assisted living communities in the United States today, with nearly one million licensed beds. 

One of the biggest challenges for these facilities is how to balance cleanliness and mobility with a feeling of comfort and home. Choosing the right flooring system for each area is crucial in ensuring residents are happyhealthy, and safe while protecting the facility owner from risk.

Here are 10 key features of floor design every senior community or assisted living facility should consider: 


  1. Color – The color you choose for resident rooms, community spaces, and corridors are not only important in creating a sense of comfort but also in aiding those with low vision. Consider contrasting floor colors with those of the walls and doors to make navigating easier for residents. Finishes are a key factor too. Typically, a matte finish is recommended to reduce glare. 


  1. Texture & Material Compatibility - Texture is a key factor when it comes to slip resistance, especially in areas where the floor may become wet. Consult with your flooring expert to determine the level of texture for any given space. While a high texture is more slip resistant, the level of cleanability will be reduced. Finding the perfect balance for physical safety and hygienic safety is keyAnother factor to consider is mobility problems seniors can face when walking from one type of surface to another. Installing seamless floors with minimal transitions can be a perfect solution to avoid these issues. 


  1. Sanitary & Easy to Clean – Now more than ever, sanitary design is key in senior living spaces. Seamless walls and floors that are not only easy to clean but present no challenges for a complete cleaning. This saves staff time and effort, keeps your facility looking spotless, and most importantly prevents microbes from harboring and growing. With poured-in-place, nonporous, seamless floors, bacteria have no place to harbor and grow, unlike with traditional flooring. 


  1. Chemical Resistance – Cleaning chemicals used throughout the facility and in food service areas can break down a floor. A chemical-resistant, bleach-resistant flooring system will save you from failures that hinder safe and efficient operations and result in increased spending for repairs or replacement. 


  1. Stain Resistance – Medicines, food and drink spills, and other organic and chemical materials can cause stains around your facility. Stained floors look unclean and unsightly and are a poor advertisement for your business. Employees, prospective residents, the residents themselves, and their visitors want to enter a building that looks cared for and sparkling clean, not neglected. Stain-resistant floors are a vital part of your interior design. 


  1. Ergonomics – Standing on floors can be hard for staff and residents. Give them the comfort of resilient flooring. Resilient, ergonomic floors ease back and leg problems, which many residents may be already experiencing prior to coming to the facility. Floors that support the body can also affect the morale of staff, assist them in working throughout the day, and cut down on absenteeism. 


  1. Durability – A durable floor is key for senior and assisted living facilities. Equipment, furniture, and other items are constantly being moved, placed, or even dropped in these environments. High traffic, busy spaces like yours need floors formulated and installed to last. Not only are floor failures costly but they are also disruptive. Consider your residents and the difficulty that comes with unsafe flooring areas, or the efforts required in re-routing them until the area is fixed. Choose a floor that will last for many years without worry. 


  1. Wear Resistance – A wear-resistant floor will hold up under the constant foot, walker, and wheelchair traffic your space will certainly encounter. When floors wear down, they look dull and unattractive and can become hazards for both slips and falls as well as become further damaged where they are no longer able to be kept sanitary by cleaning. 


  1. Acoustic Efficiency – When choosing a resilient flooring system, an added benefit to ergonomics is acoustic efficiency. Not only is acoustic design important for making a pleasant living environment but will be important for residents who are hard of hearing and for the staff who are communicating with them. 


  1. Wayfinding – An assisted living facility may choose to provide wayfinding markings for residents, making a practical and supportive choice for those who have Alzheimer's disease or may become confused within the facility. With resinous flooring, any number of directional markers, designs, or colors can be achieved right within the floor as part of the installation. In addition to wayfinding applications, any design can be incorporated into the floor of your facility, for instance a logo can be displayed at reception or the lobby entrance. 


When selecting a floor for senior living spaces, it is most important to determine the potential issues and hazards each space will encounter. Facilities like yours include mechanical rooms, kitchens, resident rooms, bathrooms, dining areas, lobbies, corridors, and more. Each one of these areas have different requirements. Be sure to consult a flooring expert that can identify these factors and make the right recommendations. It is also important, whether embarking on a new construction or a renovation, that you work with a company who will manage the project from beginning to endA flooring installation where residents are present requires flexible scheduling as well as fine-tuned, white-glove installation procedures so as not to disrupt your day-to-day operations. Be sure to ask questions to ensure all your needs are being met. 


Stonhard and its brand Liquid Elements manufacture and install floors for senior and assisted living and long-term care facilities, healthcare facilities, and other commercial spaces every day around the world. Our flooring systems are formulated to meet the needs of specific areas within your building. Download our free brochure, Seamless Sanitary Floors for Senior Living Facilities, to learn more about how we work with you and the products we provide for the challenges you face.