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The application of colour and colour contrast in the home environment of the elderly and visually impaired individuals.

Authors: N.Gohar
Published: 30th July 2009
Audience: Consumers, Government/NGOs/Peaks, Industry


Objectives: To identify and review the effectiveness of the use of colour, and colour contrasts in the home to enable the elderly and individuals with vision impairment to move safely and independently in their environment.

Four different colour interventions were identified in the literature as suitable for the environment of the elderly, visually impaired and people diagnosed with Alzheimers. The various identified colour interventions include the use of bright colours; colour coding; colour cueing (or applying effective colour contrasts); and a selection of colour choices based on the individuals and cultural preferences and associations. These colour interventions propose a selection of functional and emotional improvements in health care environments: improved vision, sight and clarity of the environment; better spatial orientation; memory and mood facilitation; and enhanced ability to function independent in the living environment. The use of colour and colour contrasts specifically was found to be effective not only for improving vision and clarity of the environment, but also in promoting better orientation, memory enhancement, a sense of safety and independence. Some guidelines for implementing these colour interventions effectively are also discussed. Further research is needed to test the applicability of the identified colour interventions using qualitative research methods while also considering the cultural diversity of the Australian population.

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