Why is RED such an important color to use for those living with Dementia?

Red is one of the final colors that a person living with Dementia will be able to see as their eyesight deteriorates and the Dementia progresses.

So, how can this be used when caring for those living with Dementia and why is it important?

Some common things that you may have noticed when caring for someone living with Dementia may be:

  • loss of appetite or eating a lot less than usual;
  • decrease in personal hygiene standards;
  • increase in falls;

One of the reasons that may be contributing to the above issues is COLOUR! It may sound a little strange but bear with us…

If you are eating soft, mostly beige/white foods, from a white/cream plate and are losing your sight, you may well be hungry but unable to see the food you are trying to eat properly.

What about putting that food on to a bright colored plate, let’s say RED as this is one of the last colors that a person living with Dementia can see, and then put that same food – say mash potato, chicken or pasta – on to that plate. The food is so much easier to see and you may well see an increase in the amount being eaten.

What is the usual color for bathrooms, toilets and washrooms? White, right?

Well, looking at what we have considered above; consider how daunting this could be to a person living with Dementia? If you are struggling to identify white objects and spatial awareness, then imagine how intimidating your bathroom may seem. Could this be a reason, or at least be contributing to the reason, that there appears to be a decline in your loved one’s personal hygiene?

How about trying to use red towels, red bathroom accessories, a red toilet seat cover and perhaps even a red toothbrush and flanel? This could make a real difference and encourage the person living with Dementia to use these items independently, or with a little assistance, and take care (or assist with) their personal hygiene.

Now, the main reason for falls in those living with Dementia, will not always be down to color, nor can it be solved just with changing the color of the walls, but a completely white room with largely white items is not going to be helpful to someone living with Dementia. Think about highlighting key points with bright color- perhaps around the light switches, so that they can be identified – and adding objects that are brightly colored to help the person living with Dementia to see these and increase their spatial awareness.

As with all of these tips, these may not work for everyone but it may well be worth a try.

We would love to know your thoughts and hear your experiences!