What kind of floor covering would be best for an Alzheimer's patient who spills things every day?

A fellow caregiver asked...

What kind of floor covering would be best for an Alzheimer's patient who spills things every day, which is ruining the carpeting, but can't have throw rugs for fear of tripping. There is tile in the bathroom, but she puts down towels and I'm afraid she'll fall.

Expert Answer

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

I would definitely install 'fake' or laminate hardwood floors for two reasons: 1. they are very easy to care for and wipe clean with a little soap and water. 2. hardwood floors are most likely what is in her long term memory as they were the primary floor covering when most current AD folks were younger. Familiarity of the environment, as it relates to older memories, helps the AD person to feel most secure. Check with your local large hardware chain for the best prices and least care options. I would suggest getting stick on treads for the bathroom; these are usually placed in the bath tub to keep someone from slipping but can be used quite successfully on the floor with the same purpose. You are so right about not using throw rugs; they are quite hazardous for the dementia person who is less than sure-footed!