Today we will continue with the flooring theme. I have seen many different styles of carpeting in facilities meant for older adults. People do not truly appreciate the difference a good carpet choice can make. We will focus on the pattern of the carpet today.
Patterns are important to people since it is the first attribute they notice when walking into the space. When colors are used properly, it can be useful. Contrast can be used to differentiate thresholds, the rise from the tread on stairs, and even highlight a clear pathway.
When older adults have vision problems, contrast makes a huge difference. However, when there are many colors and patterns running throughout the carpet, the contrast of colors has been negated. Also, when light and dark spaces are not used strategically, people with dementia might think it is a hole in the ground. They will refuse to walk over it. People with Parkinson’s have trouble processing information from the environment (be it visual, auditory, etc) while doing other things, like walking. If a flooring is too busy and distracting, they are too occupied with processing the floor that they are unable to also move. Then you see the stereotypical freezing patterns associated with the disorder.
This carpet is a new installation in an assisted living building. The vines are attractive to the eye. The use of the green against the gray walls and gray carpet entering another room (Seen at the bottom of the picture) make for good contrast and visual cues that there is a room change. The picture does not show it well, but the bright green diamonds and vines are very bright. It actually hurt my eyes when I entered the facility after installation. The juxtaposition of the bright green against the dark green can be a problem for people who cannot see well or process what they see accurately. This is a good example of a kind of carpet someone with dementia might think are holes in the floor or would cause freezing in someone with Parkinson’s Disease. Luckily, the pile on the carpet is low, and it is durable, so people in wheelchairs and walkers do not have a difficult time getting down to the dining room.
This picture with a more detailed explanation can be found here: Bright Green Diamond Carpet