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Choosing Flooring

Caregiving Tips. July 17, 2017

If you have a choice of flooring or if you're planning on replacing what you have now, what's best for Parkinson's patients? That's carpet. Hardwood or regular tile is poor, ceramic tile is the worst. Why? Drop a crystal glass onto each type of floor and imagine it's your loved one's hip or elbow.

Also, when a hard floor gets wet, it's slippery. That's not advisable for the surefooted, never mind Parkinson's patients or those who are helping them.

But there's another reason. Some people with Parkinson's tend to lean sideways or backward as they walk. If you're holding onto your loved one and she is leaning, her feet will slip. They'll slip less on carpet than on the other types of floor. If you don't want to change your hardwood floors, consider putting down area rugs with rubber backing. Don't use throw rugs unless you have a lot of medical insurance and really love visiting the hospital.

Since carpet is a poor choice for bathrooms and kitchens, in our bathroom, we put rubber-backed bathmats on the floor and around the toilet. In the kitchen, she's on her own but since I do all the cooking, she's seldom there.

Carpet does have one disadvantage over hard flooring: it's more difficult to clean if there's a spill (although a glass of red wine spilled onto tile grouting can be a problem). Buy yourself a carpet steam cleaner. It will come in handy.

The only exception to carpet is if your loved one is confined to a wheelchair and can move herself around. It's easier to move a wheelchair on a hard floor than on carpet.