A Home To Retire In: Three Floor Design Ideas To Make Your Home Elder-Friendly

2 May 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


When it comes to life expectancy per country, Australia ranks 8th in the world with a life expectancy of 83 years. This means it is reasonable to assume that, barring illness, you have a good chance of becoming an octogenarian, or older! Now that your children have grown and moved out, it is the perfect time to design and build a home just for you and your spouse in your twilight years. By using these flooring design tips, you can improve the chances of your octogenarian years being kind to your health.

Level Floors

As you advance in years, you will find that your sense of balance becomes less of a skill you can rely on. This loss can be attributed to both muscle and brain degeneration. While having a step-down living room or dining area is appealing now, it is not going to be as inviting once you are coping with arthritis or unsteady balance.

Additionally, multi-level flooring is a big challenge if you need to rely on a wheelchair or walking frame to move around the home in your elderly years. At this point of your life, it is wise to look at a home design that only has one level of flooring so you don't have to install ramps at a later time.

Underfloor Heating

Considering that your home is being constructed to your needs, both current and future ones, underfloor heating is a must for the rooms of your home that will not be carpeted. The health benefits of underfloor heating include the following:

  • Reduction in respiratory illness. You already know that heat rises, and that includes the heat radiating from the tubes laid under your floor. This heat will help to warm your home, and that lessens the need for circulated air heating from devices such as heaters and air conditioners. This reduction of swirling air in the home means fewer dust mites and allergens being moved around in the air, and that will help you breathe a lot easier.
  • Your feet have over 7,000 nerve endings in them, and the pain you can feel when arthritis takes hold of your toe joints is no fun. Heat therapy from the underfloor heating helps to soothe the sore nerve endings because heat improves blood circulation in your feet. This increased circulation dilates the blood vessels in your feet and allows extra oxygen from the blood to be delivered. The oxygen is a natural healing agent for any sore area in the body it can access.

Underfloor heating has to be installed before the flooring is put into your new home, as it is a series of tubes that run beneath the floor covering. These tubes carry continuous heated water which, in turn, helps to keep the floor warm and toasty. Therefore, to take advantage of heated floors you must include it in the design stage of your home.

Flooring Covers

During the building design process, you will also be giving some consideration to what types of flooring cover you will have in place. Tiles, carpet, and timber laminate floors are the most commonly used products in a home.

Forward-planning about floor covering can be a little tricky. Non-carpeted flooring such as tiles or wood panel may suit your needs now, but as you get older they can become a slip hazard once you lose your easy-going stability. Carpet, on the other hand, provides a slip protection now but can become difficult to move across when you are wheelchair or walking frame dependent.

Make sure you discuss with your flooring consultant your concerns about the future. For example, choose a carpet has a very low pile so you can walk now without fear of slipping, and it will also not make it difficult for wheelchair movement in later years if one is required to move around.

Building design means you get exactly what you need in the home of your dreams, so use these flooring tips to make sure your home is elder-friendly for many years to come.