Senior living

Senior living

Senior living brochureAltro has created a complete senior living package for your convenience.  Request a full sampling package for senior living environments here.  
(Package contains sampling binder, new color leaflet,  brochure, installation and detailing guide, cleaning and maintenance guide and illustrated cleaning cards.)

Flooring and walls play a key role in creating attractive, welcoming environments. But, in a senior living facility, flooring and walling must be more than pleasant to look at. They must provide a safe, stable, and durable foundation that can handle the health needs of aging and disabled residents.

Whether the facility is independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or a CCRC, the choice of flooring and walling is critical because you need to minimize the risks to the health and safety of your residents and staff. Facilities that care for seniors and have residents with physical disabilities have even more reason to pay special attention to the properties of the material installed.

From resident showers to neighborhood common areas, Altro can help keep vulnerable people safe. Designed for senior living functionality, Altro flooring and wall cladding combines safety and durability with warm colors and tones that enhance the residents’ living environment.

Designing for an aging population

North America’s rapidly growing senior population has drastically impacted senior living and the processes behind the design and architecture of aging care communities. In order to design effectively for our aging population, it’s vital to understand the many ways that aging is likely to affect residents and their perceived physical environment. The physiological changes associated with aging alter how we perceive the environment around us and are often accompanied by declines in our sense of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. When these senses are dulled, the environment is more difficult to understand and navigate, making normal daily tasks stressful and frustrating.

As people age, they can lose their peripheral vision, experience color and night vision changes, or can experience problems with glare and blurred vision. In addition, the aging eye lens changes making all colors appear more yellow and about 20% less saturated.

Walls and floors with similar colors can make it difficult for seniors to differentiate the beginnings and ends of each surface. Contrasting colors between all surfaces, especially with steps and landings, can reduce accidental trips and falls. In bathrooms, for example, contrasting colors between the floor and the toilet can help residents navigate safely and help reduce the risk of a fall.

A person’s ability to move is impacted by the aging process which can result in unsteadiness while walking, difficulty getting in and out of a chair or even a dangerous fall. Any muscle weakness or joint problems can also contribute to mobility issues. To decrease falls, the proper flooring and lighting, with handles and other safety measures, must be included.

Architects and designers will be increasingly called upon to design supportive, livable, helpful and safe senior living accommodations to remove stress and confusion from an aging person’s everyday life.

Trends in senior living
Evidence-based design

In healthcare, evidence-based design is a field of study that deals with how the environment can influence a person’s well-being. It is believed that this kind of design can make a real difference for people as they move through the aging process, removing some of the stress, frustration and confusion from everyday living.

Designers are taking the results of these studies and applying them into their designs in order to achieve similar outcomes. Design choices, such as flooring color or location of a sink, can lead to achieving a measurable goal of reducing disorientation, loss of balance and the risk of falling.

Colors and what they mean chart

It’s not enough to consider color alone when considering how to differentiate between areas. When the difference between floors, walls, steps and doorways is too subtle, it can cause enough uncertainty to result in a fall.

Contrasting colors, however, create visual changes that help differentiate space because it is actually the amount of light reflected from surfaces that is the main factor in determining a person’s ability to identify different surfaces.

Contrasting stair nosing combined with quality safety flooring reduces the risk of slips and trips on stairs. Use contrasting colors or a stripe at the top and bottom of stairways to indicate the final step.


Light Reflectance Values (LRVs) are the best way to measure contrast. Every material has an LRV marked on a scale of 1-100 — 1 being dark (absorbing light), and 100 being light (reflecting light).

To meet requirements set by the FGI guidelines, there should be at least a 30 point variance in LRVs between adjacent surfaces such as floors and walls.

Conversely, where different types of flooring are used alongside each other and there is no step between them, it’s equally important to ensure that the LRVs of the materials are as similar as possible to avoid creating the illusion of a step where there is none.

LRVs diagram

Fit for purpose

Altro has a full spectrum of safety flooring, smooth flooring and hygienic wall systems to suit the needs of each area of your facility. In communities that need to be concerned with the well-being and safety of both the residents and care givers alike, a diverse selection of flooring and wall protection is necessary.

Entrances and reception areas

First impressions count – as well as welcoming the guests, these high traffic areas take abuse from everything from walking aids to rolling carts. As the main entrance to the
facility, floors in this area must be able to cope with high amounts traffic as well as dirt and moisture being tracked in from the street.

An effective dirt barrier, such as a large entry mat, should be considered in the specification stage which will greatly reduce dirt trafficked into the area. Test your mat in an
inconspicuous area before using.

Top product choices

Hallways and corridors

The operational requirements of senior living facilities are complex and widely differ between facilities. Depending on the level of care needed, the requirements of the floors and walls
are different.

The FGI Guidelines for Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities state that flooring surfaces must meet the following requirements:

• Flooring surfaces shall allow for ease of ambulation and self-propulsion.

• Flooring surfaces shall allow easy movement of all wheeled equipment used in the facility.

• Flooring surfaces shall be stable, firm and slip resistant.

Top product choices

Dining rooms

The atmosphere of a senior living community is often created in the common areas where residents gather and interact. Because the meal time experience can be one of the most
exciting parts of a day for a resident, dining areas are a key part of the senior living community and can be attractive for potential clients.

Materials that are beautiful, durable and easy to maintain are paramount in creating a warm, welcoming gathering space.

Top product choices

Resident rooms

To keep people safe without compromising the look and feel of their home environment, our products are available in a wide range of colors and designs, so there’s something
to suit practically every taste and d├ęcor. Our products help create a soothing home-like environment while at the same time are easily cleaned, are highly durable and provide
safety under foot (to help prevent slip and fall incidents).

Top product choices

Showers, tubrooms and wet areas

FGI guidelines state that the slip resistance ratings of flooring surfaces shall be appropriate for the areas of use, especially important for wet environments. It also states that slip
resistant flooring products shall be used for surfaces in bathing areas and wet areas.

What’s more, you must consider the types of foot traffic in these areas. In modern senior living facilities, both barefoot and sole shoed traffic is to be expected; therefore the
flooring specified should work well for both.

Altro Aquarius, an award winning safety flooring innovation, is great for areas that receive both barefoot and shoe traffic. Its unique texture affords slip resistant SCoF ratings of .88
Dry and 1.03 Wet, allowing for maximum traction regardless of the type of traffic.

Top product choices


These areas also need to be easy to clean and durable enough to handle the facilities recommended cleaning regime. FGI Guidelines require that floors and wall bases of
any wet areas shall be constructed of materials that are not physically affected by germicidal or other types of cleaning solutions. They must also have sealed joints and if coved
they should be continuous and sealed to the wall without voids.

FGI Guidelines also state that in resident bathrooms, bathrooms in dwelling units, and central bathing rooms or areas with showers, there must be a flush transition between
the flooring and the shower floor and the floor must slope towards the drain.

Top product choices


Whether employing a full commercial kitchen or serving meals brought from a central kitchen, the food preparation areas in any senior living facility present their own design

FGI guidelines state that flooring surfaces must meet the following requirements:

• Floors in areas used for food preparation and assembly shall be water-resistant.

• Floor surfaces, including tile joints, shall be resistant to food acids.

• Floor construction in dietary and food preparation areas shall be free of spaces that can harbor pests. All joints shall be sealed.

• Slip-resistant flooring products shall be used throughout kitchens, including wet areas.

Altro offers the most hygienic, safe and cost effective floor and wall finishes for kitchen areas. With over 50 years of experience in the food and beverage sector, Altro’s floor
and wall finishes have been designed to meet the rigorous demands of modern commercial kitchens.

Altro safety flooring combined with Altro Whiterock wall cladding system creates the only hygienic wall and slip resistant floor system in the industry. This system is
seamless, water-tight and completely impervious. It prevents water penetration (and subsequently mold) from floor to ceiling and offers easy maintenance, excellent cleanability and
excellent resistance to staining.

Top product choices

Back of house, laundry areas, service corridors

When it comes to areas that need rugged, hardwearing flooring and wall protection, Altro safety flooring and Altro Whiterock are the perfect choice.

Altro traditional safety flooring is engineered with quartz, silicon carbide and aluminum trioxide for longterm durability and slip resistance. Designed for low maintenance, it
incorporates Altro Easyclean™ Original Technology for a lasting attractive appearance and savings in time and cleaning costs.

Altro Whiterock is highly impact resistant and known to withstand damage normally caused by laundry carts, food wagons and maintenance equipment.

Top product choices