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University investigates soft flooring to reduce injuries in old people

A Canadian University is carrying out a study to find out whether soft flooring installed in an old people’s home will reduce injuries caused by falling.


non-slip flooring in Liverpool and other North West buildings is a way to prevent injuries from slipping. In old people’s homes, and health centres, floors need to be regularly cleaned, but not left in a state that could cause accidents. This means that floors, though non-slip, are hard and if elder people fall on them, they could suffer injuries.

Playgrounds often have soft surfaces to protect children. A team from Simon Fraser University fitted half of the bedrooms in an old people’s home in Burnaby, Canada with similar flooring, and the rest with conventional flooring. If the study shows that the people in the soft floor bedrooms suffer fewer fall injuries, then it will be recommended that all long-term facilities for old people such as hospitals, old peoples’ homes and senior centres need soft flooring installed.

In Canada, the bill for treating senior citizen falls is estimated to be $3 billion a year. In the UK the estimated cost to the NHS of old people falling is more than £2 billion a year. If soft floorings reduce this amount, then this could pay for the cost of installation.

Age UK continues to campaign to raise awareness of the issue. It also encourages the elderly to exercise to improve strength and flexibility so that they remain less prone to falling.

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