The term inclusive design isn't about making a place or experience accessible for those with a disability it's about making it usable for everyone.
Inclusive Design is considered best practice and is reinforced by legislation under the Equality Act 2010 which states that service providers should avoid discriminating against people based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sex.
When it comes to designing interiors for the elderly care sector there are many elements to consider to make interiors inclusive. People and their needs change all the time. Those using the space may include, elderly residents, members of staff and people who come to visit, all of whom have various needs, so considering inclusive design at the earliest stage possible will ensure everyone's needs are being met within a comfortable and beautiful interior.
By using integrated design principles for an inclusive scheme you're not having to segment people into places or areas your allowing people to utilise the whole environment and giving them access to the wider community.
There are many design considerations to take into account and an interior designer with extensive knowledge of inclusive design can guide you through the whole process. However, from danfloor's perspective, there are many features within our range of carpets that aid with inclusive design principles.
Let's take Sam, for example, they're 89 and living in a residential care home with dementia. This presents Sam with many challenges, one of which is their deteriorating eyesight. Their vision has become distorted and they no longer see colour and contrast as they used to. Plus, their hearing has been affected and they now find it hard to filter out unwanted noise like they used to. As with many older people, Sam also feels the cold and likes a warm and cosy environment.
Because of this Sam has become uneasy on their feet and uses a walking aid to navigate their bedroom, which has ensuite facilities, and the care home communal spaces where they like to join friends for social activities and mealtimes.
When considering flooring options, we need to tick many boxes here.
So, Sam uses a walking aid as their deteriorating eyesight and hearing have made them a little uneasy on their feet. This means that Sam needs to be able to push their walking aid and shuffle their feet with ease to ensure they can maintain their independence and move around their home.
How carpets can help: Carpets should be constructed so they can be used with walking aids and wheelchairs. The pile height of ranges combined with any integral foam backings should be sufficient to add that comfortable underfoot feeling but also allow for wheeled traffic, such as Sam's walking frame, to be pushed along and for shuffling movements.
A sound environment
Sam has difficulty filtering sound these days, which means they can hear the TV in the communal lounge, Sid chatting to them about their favourite TV programme, members of staff talking in the office opposite, in addition to the builders outside resurfacing the pavement.
This causes Sam much confusion so they decide to return to their room for a bit of peace and quiet. This is why acoustics and managing noise reverberation and impact levels are so important. If the noise and echoing sounds could have been reduced Sam and Sid could have chatted about their favourite programme for some time.
How carpets can help: Carpet has outstanding sound absorption properties. This means it won't only reduce sound waves bouncing around a room but will also stop sound escaping to floors underneath and reduce sounds entering a room from below, creating more acoustically sound rooms, allowing for conversations to flow and for rest and relaxation to be achieved. A sound that affects the ears can also affect balance which means acoustically sound environments will increase confidence in navigating an internal space and could reduce trips and falls.
Breaking down any barriers
When resting Sam needs to navigate their bedroom effectively so they can use the bathroom as and when nature calls without any visual barriers. This means there needs to be very little contrast in colour between the flooring finish of the bedroom carpet, the joining strip between the bedroom and the sheet vinyl finish within the ensuite. All three products need to have a Light Reflectance Value (LRV) within 8 points of each other. Achieving this means that Sam will not see any change in the flooring colour from the bedroom into the bathroom, they will not notice the strip connecting the two flooring finishes and will therefore not attempt to try and step over anything or elongate their gait at the point of transition.
How carpets can help: When selecting a carpet range look for the Light Reflectance Values or LRV of the colour. Manufacturers always offer a range of carpet colours, which means that finding other suitable finishes like joining strips and wet room flooring can be achieved, all within a beautifully designed interior.
Cosy home from home feeling
Within the UK carpet can be found in many homes and Sam used to have carpets throughout their own home. Plus, Sam now feels the cold so keeping a room well insulated, as well as feeling and looking warm, is essential for Sam's comfort
How carpets can help: Carpet is a natural insulator, keeping the warmth in and the cold out. Not only does the carpet look warmer but it will increase the warmth of the room. When Sam steps out of bed they will feel warmth underfoot, plus the care home will feel warmer and encourage movement and socialisation.
There are many other additional design features of carpets that help address inclusive design principles including reducing injuries from trips and falls, assisting with infection control, cleaning and maintenance, plus providing comfort when standing for long periods, making the environment inclusive for those that work there too.
To view the collections and see the benefits they have to offer, visit our Healthcare Collection page.