Colour & people in Care
Wherever you’re from, whatever dialect you speak, or even if you don’t speak, colour can communicate to people around the world emotion, feelings and attitudes towards something. Take a warning sign as an example, if this was painted in a light aqua green for example, would you take the warning as seriously?
The enjoyment of colourful interiors isn’t just appreciated by those below the age of 18, in
fact it can be thought of as being more crucial the older you are, as the right tones can help
the elderly who are more likely to feel lonely, feel secure and warm. Colour can come in a
variety of shades, tones and hues and for any designer working on a scheme the colour
wheel is their main tool for decision making.
People that live in care, can be for a variety of reasons whether that’s physical impairment,
visual and mobility, sensory requirements or dementia to name a few. The design of the
space for people with specific needs is crucial. The scheme designed for example, where
residence have a high sensitivity to colour such as Autism should avoid an over use of
contrasting colours. This can cause noise, confusion, over stimulation or even avoidance to
going into a space. It is more appropriate in cases such as this to focus on more subdued
colours, such as pastel tones or mono-chromatic schemes in generic spaces. Then, when an
activity or a change in space needs to be communicated, opt for a subtle change in colour to
help change the mood in that space. Yellow has been shown to increase appetite, so for a
dining area this could work well.
Dementia and visual impairments, focus more on light reflecting values. This doesn’t
necessarily mean the colour itself, but more a contrast in tones across a space. It is almost
like looking at the world through a monochrome lens, you won’t see the colour but you will
see the different grey tones which will dictate where a chair is, where the walls are and
other elements of the interiors which will aid with way-finding.
Colour shouldn’t be narrowed down to Red, Yellow, Blue, it’s a mixtures of tones, shades,
hues and the importance of how these are used in a Care setting makes them a excellent
way of enhancing moods, aiding independence and overall benefiting the client experience
of living in supported environments.