Colours that Confuse Elderly

Certain colours are easily perceived by the elderly and some do the exact opposite.

Colours and patterns that cause confusion to the elderly should be avoided to create an age-friendly environment. They are:
1. Colours such as light salmon, pink and blue that appear similar. The reason is that of the yellowing of an elderly’s eye lens.
2. Lavender that appears muddy.
3. Purple that may appear as brown.
4. Purple and violet used in large area. These 2 colours can cast a yellow-green pallor on afterimage.
5. Yellow. It can decrease motor ability and increase shaking for people with palsy.
6. Bold patterns and small motifs.

Source: SingHealth

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Colours Easily Perceived by the Elderly

Colours which are easily perceived by the elderly:
1. Yellow
2. Beige
3. Peach
4. Coral
5. Clay
6. Orange
7. Aqua
8. Pink
9. Green
10. Brown

While ensuring our environment utilizes colours that can be easily perceived by elderly as listed above, we shall also avoid using certain colours, patterns and motifs that can cause confusion.

Older People and Colours

“Becoming old can bring about a sense of loneliness and fear so decorating with the elderly in mind needs to address warmth, security and harmony.”

“Softer shades of reds and oranges are warming and can help with circulation and energy levels. Peaches, apricots, warm tans, terracottas and pinks can also be used for this purpose. Soft blues, lavender mauves and violets are colours that connect to the spiritual or reflective mood. Studies carried out in nursing/rest homes indicate that soft pinky-beiges contrasted with soft blue/greens are emotionally supporting, physically nourishing and mentally soothing and peaceful.”

Information collated by Carolyn Atkinson, Resene Colour Consultant, 2004.

Source: SingHealth

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10 Common Symptoms of Persons with Dementia

What are the symptoms of persons with dementia? We can help our loved one with early intervention if we know what is the telltale signs of dementia.

1. Problems with recent memory

They often forget recently learnt information. They may forget important dates or events, and ask for the same information repeatedly. The memory loss can affect their daily routine.

2. Problems with visual perception

They may have difficulties identifying objects in a familiar environment, and be unable to judge distances and depths correctly. Activities like reading and driving may become challenging.

3. Changes in mood, behaviour and personality

They may have rapid mood swings, withdraw from group activities, become passive and sleep more than usual. They can become a little insensitive towards others.

4. Withdrawal from hobbies and activities

They may lose interest in their usual hobbies, lack motivation at work and avoid social activities.

5. Misplacing things

They may lose things and be unable to retrace their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur ore frequently over time.

6. Confused with places and time

They may be confused with day and night, and read the time wrongly. They may not be sure of their location and feel frustrated in unfamiliar and noisy environments, causing them to lose their way.

7. Difficulties in planning and thinking

They may have trouble handling money, paying bills and following instructions, resulting in difficulty in financial transactions. They may also have trouble concentrating and take much longer to do things.

8. Difficulties in communication

They may struggle to express themselves, and experience problems finding the right word or naming objects. They may also have problems understanding what others are saying to them and may stop conversations with no idea on how to continue. They may also repeat themselves.

9. Difficulties completing familiar tasks

They may face difficulties completing familiar tasks that they used to do well, including cooking and driving etc.

10. Poor judgement and impaired social behaviour

They may not know what is appropriate or safe. For instance, they may use crude or coarse language or make insensitive remarks.

Source: Alzheimer’s Disease Association ADA (helpline: 6377 0700)

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Enabling EDIE by Alzheimer’s Disease Association ADA

Thanks to Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) for conducting this programme of learning – Enabling EDIE. We were grateful to participate in this programme which is only available in Australia, Canada and Singapore.

In the class, we experienced how a dementia patient perceived the world with visual reality. It enabled us to feel the challenges they are facing and thus creating a supportive environment to engage, enable and empower them.

This programme simulated Edie, a dementia patient, waking up in the middle of the night and finding his way to the bathroom.

We were experiencing how Edie felt before and after a supportive change in the house (environment) he was living in. And how his wife’s quality of sleep was subsequently improved.

After completing this program, we understand that living with a dementia patient is not merely about looking after them. It also covers creating a user-friendly environment to re-enable and empower them to live independently. A small renovation to the home such as putting up appropriate signboards, using a different door colour for the bathroom and installing simple technological aids can positively change the way persons with special needs live. Helping them re-gaining sense of purpose and keeping them engaging in daily activity can certainly benefits them emotionally and physically.

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Environment Design Tips for the Elderly

The 5 principles apply to all environment design including for the elderly:
1. Safety
The environment should not cause hurt, physical injury or loss to elderly.

2. Accessibility
The environment should be easily accessible to elderly with varied disabilities.

3. Comfort
The environment should be comfortable and provide a sense of An Le 安乐 (“peace and happiness” in Mandarin). The environment should not make elderly feel anxious, frightened or upset.

4. Legibility
The environment should be easily understood and discovered by elderly with various disabilities.

5. Efficiency
The environment should be designed and organised such that elderly can get from one point of service to another effortlessly and in a timely manner.

Source: SingHealth

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