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The importance of colour

As part of the ageing process, older age groups in general have difficulty differentiating between blues and greens in the cooler colour spectrum. Those with colour blindness face similar issues with reds and blues. Dementia patients frequently have problems seeing the red end of the colour spectrum.
This knowledge can add complexity to colour selection, but certain overriding principles remain

  • Colour can be used to encourage or discourage movement into certain areas (see Worry about falling)
  • Brighter colours may be used to emphasize more important areas of a room, supported by colour contrast and more light than normally required
  • Colour coding may be used to indicate function area
  • Colours may be incorporated into way finding and orientation

The impact of key colours

Blue – restful and has a calming effect, a popular choice for sitting areas and bedrooms
Green – the most restful colour, also a popular choice for sitting areas and bedrooms, plus waiting rooms and clinical areas to help reduce stress
Red – increases brain wave activity, can stimulate the appetite and produce adrenalin.
Orange – this warm colour has a similar effect to red
Violet – this combination of colours from opposite ends of the light spectrum does not appear to have a consistent effect on mood
Yellow – a stimulating colour, ideal for activity areas, can make small rooms appear larger