The surprising value of colour in care homes
There’s often a lot more thought and consideration behind the colour scheme of a care home than simply whether you like it or not. Colour can change the mood of a room, encourage an active mind and make people feel at home in otherwise unfamiliar territory. We look at how colour can affect the staff and residents of your care home and ask, are there any changes you could make to yours?
Colour and dementia patients
If you care for people with dementia, colour and art are particularly important considerations, from their rooms and shared spaces right down to their cutlery and clothing. Many of those living with dementia experience difficulties with their sight and perception which leads them to easily misinterpret their surroundings. In a world already fraught with confusion and uncertainty, any steps that can be taken to alleviate this should be considered wholeheartedly. Using bright and contrasting colours for furniture and furnishings can help these to be distinguished more easily yet bold patterns and stripes should be avoided.
For those within your care, it’s important to build a relationship of trust between the staff and the residents so that residents feel safe and comfortable under their care. Staff uniforms are usually blue or green for this very reason, making them appear calming and welcoming. That’s not to say that deviations can’t be made from this, though. Many care homes opt for brightly coloured staff uniforms to make the environment appear friendly. No matter the colour, a distinctive uniform has been found to help patients distinguish members of staff and reduce confusion.
Whilst colour plays a part in setting an ambience, it also has a vital role in aiding navigation and accessibility. Having distinctive door colours for restrooms, bedrooms and shared areas can help residents find their way around, encouraging independence amongst them. This can also be applied to features such as lamps, light switches, handrails and so on, to help draw attention to them. Long corridors can be divided into distinctive colours to help break them up for residents. It enables them to make connections between the colour and their location.
Whilst many of us are trying to get away from gender stereotypes, for dementia sufferers and some elderly residents, they might not feel comfortable in a room they associate with being a typically feminine or masculine colour. Care homes tend to turn to neutral colours such as green which not only acts to make a room appear more restful but can make space seem larger and less confined. Bolder colours such as red should be avoided in bedrooms as they’re found to stimulate the mind and encourage activity, which means they would be better utilised in shared spaces and active areas.
When designing a care area for children, the focus should be on making the surroundings seem fun and vibrant to make the area appear less threatening. Use unrefined shades rather than focusing on a softer, sophisticated pallet to reduce anxiety and confusion. The aim is to make the area look anything but clinical and unwelcoming.
What to consider
Revisiting the colour of the different areas of your care home is a relatively inexpensive way to boost the mood of the residents, make it feel more like home and increase the relationship of trust between residents and staff. Focus on practicality and comfort over style and, with just a few small changes, you could dramatically improve the living environment for your residents.
At R Collins & Co we’re in the business of finding specialised insurance for care homes just like yours. Whether you’re looking at making any major changes to your care home or you simply want to review your existing cover to see if there are any improvements to be made, we can help get you the right policy. Call us on 01977 558391.