– Renowned colour response expert Anjel OBryant says the colour of walls and furnishings in a home, nursing home or hospital can profoundly affect the mood, behaviour, appetite and motivation of people living with dementia.
‘Colour affects people physically, mentally and emotionally,’ OBryant says. A member of the Alzheimer’s Association, she aims to raise awareness about the impact of colour on people living with dementia.
‘Every three seconds someone around the world develops dementia and there are over 400,000 Australians with this condition. We need to use every tool at our disposal to improve their quality of life.
‘September’s World Alzheimer’s Month is a timely reminder for us to step up our efforts to improve the physical environment of people with dementia.
‘Repeated scientific research reveals that changing the colour of walls, carpets, curtains, furniture and fittings can calm dementia patients when they are agitated.
‘Pale blue sheets are particularly calming, and they can help to improve sleep. Colours such as peach, coral and soft apricot tones increase appetite and can encourage eating and drinking when used in a dining room.
‘The colour of clothes worn by people with dementia, as well as their carers and family, can change the way they respond to people in a very positive way.
‘Dementia often creates confusion with respect to time and place. Bright contrasting colours can help people with dementia to find their way around, particularly in unfamiliar places.
‘The design and decor of each room should be varied so the experience of one room is different from another to reduce disorientation and confusion.
‘It’s vital that rooms are personalised by hanging favourite photos or small mementos on the bedroom door to make them easier to find and more relevant to the residents of nursing homes.
‘Important signs should be emphasised to orient residents of nursing homes.
‘During World Alzheimer’s Month let’s join together to use scientifically-backed colour response approaches to improve the life of people living with dementia,’ she adds.
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