Being filial is not just about looking after our elders, but it’s about enabling them to continue living in good health, be independent and live life with dignity and purpose as they age. Age with laughter, happiness of older people is our goal.
– Janice Chia –
Founder & Managing Director, Ageing Asia, Singapore
Appropriate use of colours can uplift the look and feel of a place. And careful selection of colours in a built environment can have a glare-reduction effect and improve the ability of users especially those who are visually impaired to move around the building.
The picture above shows a poorly contrasted wall-floor colour. The floor also creates glare which is hard for people to see clearly. With glare reduction measures and right choice of colours listed below, we can enhance the accessibility of a premises.
1. Use glare-reducing treatments on exterior facing windows and all glass walls.
2. Remove, reduce or relocate materials or light sources that cause glare.
3. Use non-glare flooring materials throughout the building.
4. Use non-glare materials over wall hanging pictures and signage.
5. Filter natural daylight penetrating interior spaces to reduce direct glare.
6. Use contrasting colours between the wall-floor and floor-furniture.
7. Colours that contain a greater amount of white will reflect more light.
8. Use matter finishes in pale colours on horizontal surfaces to reduce indirect glare and enhance brightness by adding sheen.
Elderly has difficulty perceiving some colours and thus we avoid using them in our design. We put same amount of consideration when using motifs and patterns. We do not encourage our clients to use small motifs and patterns so we can create an age-friendly environment. Motifs and patterns to avoid are:
1. Bold patterns that cause confusing for elderly and have a dizzying effect.
2. Small motifs and patterns on flooring, which can be mistaken by elderly with reduced vision as items dropped on the floor.
Meanwhile, we advise our clients to paint the staircase on their premises to improve the visibility of every step in order to create a safe workplace for their older employees and customers.
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.
Colours which are easily perceived by the elderly:
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.