Using Color To Help Someone With Dementia

Help Someone with Dementia- Color Their World!

We all have our favorite colors to soothe the eyes and evoke pleasant associations, but not many laymen take the consistent and purposeful use of color seriously. Marketers and those who make advertisements, however, make good use of color to manipulate the senses. This is why television can be agitating to those with dementia, as many are hypersensitive to the effects of images, colors and contrasts in ways that hardly impact others.

Studies have found the use of colors to calm and direct may help someone with dementia and also make the job of the caregiver a bit easier.


Color to Calm and Help Someone with Dementia Who Has Anxiety

A first step in assessing what colors will positively affect and help someone with dementia takes no science at all. Using a person's favorite color to decorate a bedroom or another area of the house where they spend a lot of time goes a long way. Nursing facilities that are well equipped might ask in the initial assessment what your loved one's favorite colors are so that his or her personal space can have those incorporated. These can be calming on their own, but there are other choices that research says help people to relax. Green is refreshing and calming to the senses, especially in an outdoor setting. While many people find lavender and pastel blues relaxing, older people tend to see these as dull grays because of vision problems. Whatever the case, try to stick to one or two colors of preference as a rainbow variety can cause confusion.


Color to Stimulate Will Help Someone With Dementia With Both Mood and Navigation

Objects in basic colors like red, yellow, blue and green have been shown to help lift the spirits of dementia patients, direct them, and make them more interactive when they appear withdrawn. That's not to say most of the room should host these colors as in preschool settings. It's probably better to use the colors sparingly and in specific scenarios. For instance, having a bright green strip on a walker can draw the attention to such a necessary item and putting yellow strips on doors and along hallways make the way clearer.


Color to Clarify Can Help Someone With Dementia Understand Their World a Little Better

Using highly contrasting colors at the dinner table can help maintain independence while eating. If the placemats contrast with the table and dishes, and the cups have a colored rim at the top, mealtimes can go a little easier. Speaking of clarity, ever wonder why toilet seats in many hospitals are black? It's probably not so much that they found a huge lot on sale, but more so that a white toilet seat in a white bathroom can be difficult for some to see.  A nice red sign on the bathroom door can be helpful for those who mistake the closet for the bathroom, and painting the closet door the same color as the walls will help give it a low profile, so that the red sign stands out first.


Color to Contain May Help Keep someone with Dementia Safe and Comfortable.

The same principle goes for exit doors. Memory facilities certainly don't want their clients to wander out, but also might not want residents to feel trapped and under lock and key. Anything that could potentially cause danger to someone with dementia can be painted in a way so that it fades into the background, like the closet doors.

There are many more ways to help  someone with dementia  with the use of color. Few are proven. Most are trial and error. Still the essentials given above can go a long way to keep situations calm with a disease that is anything but.