US & Canada

US & Canada


Aging gracefully

4-5 million people in the US suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Barring a medical breakthrough, Alzheimer’s patients could triple by 2050 (Alzheimer’s Association 2016 Facts and Figures).  We know that dementia affects memory but symptoms also have an impact on visual perception. Choosing surroundings that won’t exacerbate these symptoms, and play a role in alleviating them, makes a huge difference to living well with dementia. The ever-growing number of people affected means that installations should be designed with this in mind. We’ve done research to see what environments best suit those suffering from dementia. 

When developing new shades of Altro Aquarius, we conducted research and interviewed various senior living firms and designers that work on senior living projects. Our findings told us the following happen to seniors as they age:
  • Senses in general dull, making everyday walking and navigating more stressful
  • Eyesight changes: People lose peripheral vision, experience color and night vision changes, blurred vision, a 20% less color saturation and yellowing of the eyes
  • Mobility issues caused by muscle weakness and joint problems: Walking, getting in and out of chairs, etc. become difficult, and a simple walk to the living room can result in a dangerous fall
  • 15,000 Americans age 65+ die annually as a result of slips and falls
So, how do we avoid making these symptoms worse and create somewhere that feels safe when specifying appropriate flooring and wall cladding? We’ve created a full page of our senior living solutions, which you can find here. 

We’ve summarized this information so that you can see our suggestions for best practice at a glance. 
  • Use slip resistant flooring
  • Use sparkle-free flooring
  • Flooring should have no pattern, a small pattern less than 1 inch wide or a large pattern wider than 6 inches. A small pattern can make it seem like something is on the ground that needs to be picked up, resulting in a fall
  • Always choose flooring with a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of ≥36, which offers a one in a million chance of slipping for the lifetime of the flooring.
  • In wet environments, avoid overly textured flooring that could hurt sensitive bare feet. Our Altro Aquarius is suited for both bare feet and shoes.
  • Avoid steps or the misperception of steps due to reflection or patterns in general areas that those with dementia may negotiate alone
  • Bright colors may be used to emphasize important areas of a room
  • Color is important in wayfinding
  • Use flooring and wall solutions to create a calm, welcoming, homely appearance
  • Use art and wall cladding to aid familiarity and help with wayfinding as well as make people feel welcome, offering a pleasant and enjoyable stay
  • Ensure the colors of walls, doors, floors and ceilings contrast to demark them unless trying to conceal an entrance, for example, to a service corridor or kitchen
  • Ensure the Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of walls, flooring and any other critical surfaces differs by at least 30 points
  • Consider few colors in one area to avoid creating confusing surroundings
  • Consider a hygienic, impervious system such as Altro Aquarius and Altro Whiterock for wet environments