Rainbow over spring fieldThere has been considerable research into color and how different colors stimulate the way people think, feel, and respond. Healthcare professionals see the use of color as a critical tool in helping patients respond in positive ways therapeutically as well as in the course of daily activities. Researchers have determined that the careful use of color can be stimulating, which has been shown to enhance memory for some Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

Let’s take a look at color and some of its effects:

Red is an active color that can invoke fear and aggression, but it also increases appetite and raises metabolic rates. Be careful using it.

Yellow also stimulates the appetite – think of all the food marketing that contains yellow, such as food packaging and, of course, the “golden arches.” Yellow is a warm, happy color and tends to put people in a good mood.

Blue is soothing and useful for helping calm patients who may be excitable. It also provides a greater sense of security.

Orange and brown invoke a sense of safety and reliability (think UPS and Home Depot). Patients who are fearful or easily agitated may respond well to these warm, safe colors.

White while technically not a color (it is the absence of color), white connotes health, positivity, and well-being (think nurses’ uniforms and doctors’ coats). White plays a predominant role in the décor of many spas and health centers because of the aura of healthy well-being it provides. One negative regarding white is that individuals who have difficulty reading, including persons with dyslexia, find it even harder to read text on white paper because it tends to “glare” and “move”.

Black & white vs. color Studies have shown that people tend to recall images better if they’re in color rather than black & white. Individuals who have trouble recalling certain words or names can remember them easier if they’re exposed to them in colored type. In general, according to the American Psychological Association, color helps us process and store images more efficiently than colorless (black & white) scenes, and as a result we remember them better, too.

If you or someone you know is responsible for providing home healthcare for a loved one and are struggling with some aspects of their behavior, color can be very effective in helping control certain stimuli and responses. Cooler colors are more calming and can help reduce agitation and fear in some patients. Warmer, brighter colors are more stimulating and cheerful and can boost the spirits of patients who may be struggling with depression, anxiety, and loss of appetite. Carefully considering the colors used in room décor, clothing, and even dinnerware can providing a helping hand in home care

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