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Three Essential Flooring Considerations for Senior Living Facilities

senior exercise facility with synthetic floorsAs Americans age and life expectancy climbs, there is a growing demographic of seniors and new businesses emerging to serve them. Architects who understand how to design buildings for baby boomers stand to win plenty of new opportunities.

There are 75 million baby boomers in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center. The oldest among them are now entering their seventies, and even the youngest will be retiring in the next decade. This generation’s needs and expectations for retirement are unique.

While athletic flooring systems may not be the first thing that comes to mind when specifying floors for a facility serving seniors, the quality, performance attributes and tangible benefits of sports floors provide a lot of value to these end users.

Choosing the right flooring helps protect the health and safety of aging Americans while offering functionality, durability and design options that your clients will appreciate. Floors used by seniors for recreational purposes should offer performance attributes that provide cushion and comfort through adequate shock absorption. Not only does this protect aging joints, it can also extend the time seniors are able to play. Flooring used in rehab or physical therapy areas must provide uniformity and a consistent feel/friction to protect patient safety.

These are aspects for which sports flooring can fill the bill, offering a better experience and living conditions for the people your clients aim to serve.

When specifying floor systems for senior living facilities such as retirement communities, nursing homes, physical therapy and rehabilitation centers as well as independent or assisted living complexes, keep these three factors in mind.

1. Shock Absorption

Author and doctor, Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., told AARP The Magazine that “Baby boomers led an unprecedented fitness revolution.” He notes how less than 25 percent of American adults exercised regularly in 1968 but, by the mid-1980s as boomers entered their 30s and 40s, that number rose to nearly 60 percent.

This is the generation that brought us Jane Fonda exercise videos, encouraging us to “feel the burn.” In fact, the idea of jogging for exercise became popularizes in the sixties and seventies, as boomers came of age.

Boomers are expected to continue leading active lifestyles into their later years, even though in some cases, exercise will be doctor’s orders. Retirement communities and independent living facilities should plan to support seniors’ desires for fitness and recreation.

Designing an experience these end users appreciate requires quality sports flooring with adequate shock absorption to help protect aging joints. There will be seniors looking to practice yoga, play tennis or pickleball, lift weights and more.

Hardwood maple sports flooring from Action Floor Systems® provides beneficial performance attributes as well as a warm aesthetic appeal. You’ll find selections that are ideal for yoga, aerobics, stretching, rehab and exercise areas. One such system is the Action Aero Studio, an anchored resilient system that meets or exceeds standards outlined in ASTM F2772 Athletic Performance of Indoor Sport Systems.

Synthetic sports flooring options also offer many advantages, and the Action Herculan line of systems still provides plenty of shock absorption for seniors. That’s because the systems include a cushioned, shock-absorbent underlayment beneath the durable polyurethane top layer. Action Herculan MF (multi-function) is a versatile selection, allowing you to choose the level of shock absorption based on the thickness of the underlayment.

There are also synthetic sports floor systems designed for specific activities. If residents at a retirement community want to play tennis, Action Herculan TC is an excellent choice, especially when compared to typical tennis court surfaces. Baby boomers are quickly adopting the sport of pickleball, as it’s less spirited than tennis. Action Herculan PB delivers the ideal pickleball courts.

Action ReFlex Spin brings flexibility to fitness areas while alleviating some of the physical impact of exercise. This seamless system makes it easy to allow treadmills, station bikes and weight-lifting equipment in rooms where seniors are working out.

2. Safety

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) says slips and falls are the leading cause of death and injury among Americans 65 and older. So, the safety factor should be a priority when selecting surfaces.

An important attribute of Action ReFlex Spin is its slip resistance, which should certainly be considered in facilities designed for seniors, especially for areas where older end users are going through physical therapy or rehabilitation and may have reduced mobility. Safe flooring is also uniform with a consistent friction. This gives seniors confidence that every step will feel the same.

When you specify slip-resistant commercial flooring for senior facilities, you’re showing your clients you have the health and safety of senior residents in mind.

Action Herculan IG is commercial flooring used in various facility types, from education and healthcare to retail and hospitality. It is anti-slip flooring that is easily applied over existing surfaces, so it can be used in new construction as well as renovations. Besides safety, Action Herculan IG offers design flexibility. Read our blog post about how color chip flooring helps maximize design options.

Floor transitions are another safety factor. Joseph Lewitin, flooring expert for The Spruce, had this to say about the issue:

“As people get older the gait of their walk changes, and slowly over time they tend to start shuffling their feet more. This can be particularly dangerous if the floor beneath them is uneven in any way, as they will be prone to trip on the dimensional dip. To avoid this, make sure that the flooring material is flat, and that the levels of your floors do not change across transitions from one room to another.”

Action Herculan IG utilizes low VOC epoxy. That means inconvenient building evacuations won’t be required, and the installation causes minimal disruption of daily activities. The pad-and-pour synthetic sports floor system, Action Herculan MF, is a FloorScore® certified product that promotes good indoor air quality (IAQ).

Action Floors is pleased to offer FloorScore® certified systems including all our hardwood maple floors. Find out more about how we meet the IAQ standards that architects and owners expect. Eco-friendly Action Herculan systems can also contribute to facility LEED points.

3. Cleaning and Maintenance

Yet another health benefit of a synthetic floor system such as Action Herculan IG is how it is an appropriate choice for areas where it’s vital to keep floors clean and germ-free. That’s because this flooring is seamless and nonporous, which means there are far fewer places for bacteria to hide and grow.

In fact, because all offerings within the Action Herculan line are seamless, they make janitorial work much easier. Floors that are easy-to-clean are a lifesaver in facilities where spills and accidents are a common occurrence.

While carpeting is soft and provides cushion for comfort, it can also be a breeding ground for allergens, mold and bacteria. Not to mention, carpet wears out quickly and stains easily. Choosing synthetic flooring, especially in certain rooms, is more hygienic and will last longer.

Action Herculan IG is stain-resistant and highly durable. It’s perfect for high-traffic areas, including places where chairs and tables are being moved around and wheelchairs are coming in and out.

If your client loves the look of hardwood, but wants to avoid the investment required to clean and maintain wood flooring, Action V-Sport creates a similar look with much less maintenance. This vinyl sheet flooring works for athletic and non-sport applications. It provides point elastic shock absorption, and it is factory treated to resist mold and bacteria. Plus, Action V-Sport never requires refinishing.

Count on Action Floors and Find Flooring for All Ages

Action Floors is proud to provide sports flooring solutions for all sorts of people, young and old.

You’ll find our sports floor systems in professional basketball venues including hardwood courts for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brisbane Bullets. Whether your end users are preschoolers, elite athletes, or senior citizens, you’ll find floor systems that meet the specifications of your next project.

Contact us today or give us a call at 800-746-3512 to connect with Action Floors and get your questions answered. You can also visit our Architect Resource Center to download system specifications, data sheets and more.

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