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How Colour Throws Light On Design In Dementia Care

What Does The Blue Flower Badge Represent

Public space: Design for dementia care (1/7)

The flower is a forget-me-not, a small blue flower that represents remembrance and is long-associated with dementia.

People with dementia may experience memory loss, among other symptoms. This makes the forget-me-not the perfect flower to represent our cause.

The blue flower pin is a symbol for anyone who wants to unite against dementia, raise awareness and support people affected by the condition.

There are a few different versions of the forget-me-not badge. We have a few available in our shop. 100 per cent of our shop profits go towards helping fight dementia.

Three examples of forget-me-not pin badges

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What Exactly Is A Lap Blanket

A lap blanket is basically just a much smaller-sized blanket that you use to cover your legs when in a seated position or your feet and legs when laying down. It is especially ideal for persons who have feet and legs that tend to get cold quickly and cramp.

You get different types and designs of lap blankets, such as the lap quilt, lap wool blanket, cotton lap blankets, and also weighted lap blankets, which are especially ideal for seniors.

For a senior person that is in a seated position or even a wheelchair most of the day, it is easy to put on a jacket or shawl. However, their feet and legs may get cold, and this is where a lap blanket can come in handy.

The lap blanket sometimes also provides warmth and comfort for their hands, and weighted lap blankets help to provide a sense of comfort and security as needed.

How Can I Make My Home Dementia Friendly

Advice 10 ways to make your home dementia friendly Blog

  • Make sure youve got good lighting.
  • Make sure your flooring is safe.
  • Make eating and drinking easier.
  • Get furniture you can see clearly.
  • Remind yourself where things are.
  • Keep things simple in the bathroom.
  • Keep clutter-free.
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    The Best Colors For Dementia Patients

    While specific colors may or may not be better for people living with memory loss, we do know that aging eyes distort colors. And, certain colors can make spaces appear or feel smaller or larger, warmer or cooler.

    When choosing colors for your facility, here are a few things to keep in mind:

    • Colors can help define an area, improving wayfinding and reminding residents of where they are based on the color.
    • Color contrasts between floors and walls can improve balance in people who have poor vision.
    • High color contrasts in small spaces can cause eyestrain and perhaps headaches.

    In addition, its important to remember that seniors cannot easily distinguish between blues and greens, so avoid attempting to differentiate two thingslike a sign and wallwith these like colors. Also, many people are colorblind and are unable to see the difference between red and green.

    Contact our interior design experts

    Considerations for how interior design affects those living with memory loss has become such a hot topic, there is even an app developed by Alzheimers Australia for those who can use help, especially in private homes. With so much to consider in interior design for dementia care homes, the task can be daunting. But, we are here to help.

    If you are interested in learning how outdoor spaces can improve the health of those living with memory loss, read our Dementia Garden Design blog.

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    Lap Blankets For The Elderly

    Colour Perception &  Contrast

    A lap blanket can be a comfortable way to provide warmth when seated and also weight if needed to feel more secure.

    A lap blanket for the elderly is a small comfort that can bring much warmth and relaxation that elderly persons usually need.

    In this article, we will look at some models of lap blankets that have the perfect design for this purpose.

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    A Brief History Of Awareness Ribbons

    The awareness ribbon made its debut in 1979. The very first ones were literally yellow ribbons tied around an old oak tree. They were used to support the American embassy during the Iranian hostage Crisis.

    Perhaps the biggest moment in ribbon history, though, came in 1991 when Charlotte Haley created pink ribbons to bring attention to breast cancer. Her ribbons were so successful, they became the symbol for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and inspired more colors for other causes, such as red ribbons for the AIDS movement in the 80s.

    From that point on, ribbons were a popular part of raising awareness. The New York Times even named 1992 The Year of the Ribbon in their publication. Today, theyre widely used by non-profits, charities, fundraisers, and other organizations around the world.

    Our Expert Interviewees Said

    • People with sight loss and dementia might benefit from high contrast hand rails, toilet seats, and door frames.
    • Contrasting edging to units may also be beneficial for people with sight loss
    • Wall finishes could be modified to ensure an appropriate level of contrast with other surfaces
    • Contrast of stair nosings can help to highlight these as a hazard
    • Colours on doors in care homes might replicate those of previous home doors to aid with way finding

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    Adjust Colors For Memory Care

    Colors are especially important in Memory Care environments. For residents with dementia, dark colors may appear as a hole or missing space. Consider using darker shades purposefully when creating a walking path or an area that residents should avoid.

    Color intensity is also an important factor in Memory Care. Refrain from intense colors, and keep in mind the vibration and saturation of the color youre selecting.

    Flooring or patterns with high contrast can play tricks on the eyes, appear as though theyre moving, or may make some residents feel dizzy. Residents with dementia may even believe something is coming out of the floor and be afraid to walk there. Solid colors in softer shades can be the best paint colors for dementia and Memory Care environments.

    Some History: Study Shows Red Plates For Dementia Help Patients Eat More

    Dulux BRE Dementia House Launch – Dementia Interior Design & Colours

    The email suggesting the use of red plates for dementia patients linked to an article written by Jeremy Schwab. The study showed that advanced Alzheimers patients level of food intake was 25% higher when they were served food on bright red plates instead of standard white plates, and an 84% increase in fluids when using red drinkware.

    To me, this advice would seem suitable for any elderly person who may not be eating enough calories and not just Alzheimers patients. However, the article reminded me of a piece I had read sometime in the 70s or 80s, where plate color was discussed as a dieting aid for everyone. I remember the older article suggesting it was the contrast between the food and the plate that had an influence on the amount of food one consumed.

    Im not saying the researchers didnt see a 25 percent increase in food consumption for Alzheimers patients who used red platesI just didnt think it was the whole story. I decided to do some digging for the article I had read years ago. I was unable to find it, but I did find a newer study by those same people who are now saying that blue plates work, too. However, I eventually found another study that I think tells the whole story. One you should be aware of before you buy red or blue plates for dementia patients or you might be disappointed in the results from your purchase.

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    Infobox 1 Smartphones And Sleep

    Smartphone use may delay sleep onset. One factor is the light emitted by their screens, but another may also be its entertaining character or related psychological effects, or both. Using the night shift mode of modern smartphones, the colour balance of the screen can be shifted to warmer and orangeish colours depleted in short-wavelength light. On a recent iPhone 7, this amounts to a reduction of melanopsin activation by 67% at full display brightness. This might seem like a large reduction at first, though by simply dimming the smartphone to its minimum level, the melanopsin activation can be reduced to less than 1% of the activation at maximum display brightness. Whether or not the night shift mode has an appreciable effect on the circadian system and how it interacts with other properties of smartphone use is currently not known. Recent research using so-called metameric displays, which do not differ in their appearance but only differ in the amount that they stimulate melanopsin, show that the non-visual properties of light can be modulated independently of visual appearance .

    Using Your Signature Colours

    If youre part of a care home group with its own set of signature colours, you may be inclined to use this palette throughout your new care home. Thats absolutely fine, but you should use it conservatively.

    Using the same three or four colours through an entire care home can be a bit repetitive and even disorientating for residents. To keep your care home on-brand and in-line with any other care homes you may have, wed suggest you use your signature colours in just a few areas of the building.

    This could be the reception area, the offices, and perhaps a lounge or dining area. If you use these colours in residents bedrooms, it can make your care home feel less cosy and more corporate.

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    Effects Of Light On Mood

    Mood variations have been shown to be influenced by a complex and non-additive interaction between circadian phase and the duration of prior wakefulness. Specifically, relatively moderate changes in the timing of the sleepwake cycle can significantly modulate mood .

    Light can affect mood in several ways: by directly modulating the availability of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is involved in mood regulation, and by entraining and stabilising circadian rhythms, thereby addressing circadian desynchronisation and sleep disorders, which are rather common in people suffering from mental disorders. Therefore, in the last decades, light as an interventionlight therapyhas found an increasingly widespread use for treating mood and other psychiatric disorders .

    In the following, we will provide an overview of the major clinical applications of light therapy and a brief guide to its use in daily clinical practice.

    Consider The Rooms Function

    Dementia Flooring

    When deciding whether a calm shade of pink is more appropriate than a loud red, consider the function of the room. Reds, oranges and yellows all encourage our appetites, which can help promote proper nutrition. Brighter shades of blue might be appropriate for an energizing rehabilitation gym, while softer yellows or greens would work well in a relaxing sunroom.

    An example of earthy green tones is found here in a small household living-like dining area, supported by revealing, trendy cabinets.

    Blues arent commonly found in Senior Living dining rooms because they can cast a strange hue onto food, making it look unappealing or bruised. Earthy greens, on the other hand, make dining rooms feel invigorating.

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    Designing For Dementia: Less Drugs More Benefits

    Looking at roughly 80 participants across eight dementia communities in Los Angeles and Orange counties, the study showed that early morning exposure to natural light improved the mood of residents, reducing depression and psychoactive symptoms, which are common side effects of the neurodegenerative diseases. It was a pilot, published with hopes of conducting more research on the topic, Konis said.

    Koniss work is part of an international push to seek non-medical interventions for this population, six million in the U.S., which research shows can often be overmedicated and under-stimulated. Those with early stage Alzheimers and dementia are often put on cholinesterase inhibitors, which can delay memory, learning and language symptoms. But often the disease comes with other conditions, such as depression, agitation and difficulty sleeping. Not enough exposure to daylight, especially in the morning hours, can throw us off similar to jet lag, leaving us sluggish and moody. With these populations, it can often be dealt with pharmacologically, prescribing more drugs and affecting their quality of life.

    One-third of adults over age 60 report being on five or more medications, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The more drugs an elderly person is on, the more prone they are to adverse reactions and in turn increased rates of hospitalization and mortality.

    With A Focus On Furnishings And Upholstery We Brought Vibrancy And Colour To The Interiors Of This Modern Aged Care Facility

    Sometimes its the smallest design details that elevate a space and have a powerful impact on the people that utilise it. Gilmore Interior Design certainly found this to be true in our project with St Basils Homes and their St Peters-based facility.

    Our team was brought into the process to work as part of a multidisciplinary team, including Pruszinski Architectsand Sarah Constructions. Specifically, we were engaged to review the finishes that had been pre-selected for the premises and choose an array of furniture and upholstery that aligned with the St Basils brand. St Basils Homes advocates for dementia care in line with de Hogewyks Dementia Village model, which focuses on creating conditions for residents that incentivise them to stay active and engaged in shared interests. This informed our design, as we chose materiality and furnishings that reflected the relaxed, social atmosphere St Basils are known for.

    The salon presented another opportunity to play with patterns and sculptural elements, including a statement geometric print wallpaper, textured ceiling and a chandelier light fixture. We also used lighting to great effect in the kitchen area. Patterned drum lights add visual interest, alongside black pendant lighting, timber shelving unit and a textured charcoal splash-back.

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    Why Lighting Is So Important When Designing For Dementia Patients

    This is the second installment of our blog series focused on designing spaces that meet the unique needs of dementia patients. Read part one.

    Alzheimer s Disease and Related Dementia, also known as ADRD, affects more than 5 million people in the United States, according to the Alzheimers Association. By 2025, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimers disease is estimated to reach 7.1 million a 40 percent increase from the 5.1 million age 65 and older affected in 2015.1 Designing facilities that meet the needs of ADRD patients will be an important differentiating factor for facilities as this unique population continues to grow.

    ADRD causes people to interpret the world differently than those around them. Their interpretation is different from you or I, and it is different from other seniors. Understanding this helps us realize that ADRD has consequences for how people understand the world through their five senses. Designing for these differences means understanding how the brain works and how design choices can positively influence a person with dementia.

    Doors In Care Settings

    Garden space: Design for dementia care (4/7)

    In a care home, these adjustments can help to prevent residents walking into someone else’s bedroom. In their confusion the person might start searching the drawers and cupboards because they think their own things have been replaced with lots of strange things. When the room’s owner comes in they then think the person is prying, or worse, stealing. This can start a major incident, which could have been prevented.

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    Change The Environment Improve Care

    Like Konis saw, changing the environment is one way to mitigate cognitive delay and behavioral issues without the use of additional drugs. Others are seeing this too.

    In the Netherlands, Hogeweyk is a village-like community for residents with dementia. They live in houses designed according to their prior lifestyle, walk in the gardens and shop at the grocery store with special currency. Similarly, the Green House Project has communities across the U.S., including in nearby Pomona. It also mimics the feeling of home with the look of a residential neighborhood. Its elders, not patients, can have pets and set their own meal times. A study showed its residents had better health outcomes, functioning better on a daily basis than their peers in standard nursing homes.

    This is a disease or problem thats been almost totally focused on pharmaceutical cures. There are lots of other things we can do to make a difference.

    Victor Regnier, USC professor

    This is a disease or problem thats been almost totally focused on pharmaceutical cures. There are lots of other things we can do to make a difference, said Victor Regnier, a professor who has dual appointments in gerontology and architecture at USC. If you can create a setting thats more normalized less rules and more improvisational attitudes its just better.

    The Effect Of Colour In Dementia Care Homes

    In the past, Dementia Care Homes only catered to the functionality and in some instances, were felt to be uninspiring in specific design to fulfil its livable potential. Fortunately, environmental psychologists have proved that a space that is warm, positive and well-designed can improve patients mental-wellbeing and healthcare.

    So, how can colour and pattern be incorporated as a therapeutic tool in Dementia Care?

    Several myths, including elderly people cant see blue and green, can scare designers away from experimenting with colour schemes and patterns. In fact, most myths are based on little to no evidence, and blue and greens tones are said to be the most calming, friendly and relaxing colours for the mind. By implementing these colour tones into care environments can not only change a persons emotions but has proven to lower blood pressure. The myth used in the example is affiliated to a theory that elderly people particularly those living with dementia have difficulty differentiating similar colours. This is down to a reduction in saturation between colours, meaning some tones of blue and green may be interchangeable. With this example in mind, using contrasting tones in Dementia Care highlights important visual elements and can help aid unassisted living. One way to utilise contrasting colours in a dementia home is designing chairs and seats that juxtapose the tones on the floor, so it is easier for people to recognise the edge of a chair.

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