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Color Therapy for Dementia and For Everyone Else

Color therapy can be beneficial for those with memory loss. Dementia specialists recommend using different colors to provide contrast in spaces and to help distinguish different objects.

For example, painting a door a color that contrasts with the wall makes the door easier to find. Putting colorful tape on the handles of walkers makes them easier to locate.

Some researchers suggest using the color pink will reduce combative behavior. The “pink effect” may reduce feelings of aggression and anger.

If wandering is an issue, some therapists recommend placing black mats in front of doors or stairs since Alzheimer’s patients perceive them to be holes and thus tend to avoid walking on them.

RED is associated with strength and vitality. It is the most emotionally intense color. Red stimulates a faster heartbeat and faster breathing. If patients are not eating enough, using red plates may increase their appetites.

ORANGE is associated with sociability and happiness. Wearing orange may stimulate enthusiasm and creativity.

YELLOW speeds metabolism. Although yellow is usually considered a cheerful color, research shows that people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms.

GREEN is a calming, tranquil color. It is closely associated with nature and is thought to evoke feelings of generosity and relaxation. Green is the easiest color on the eyes and can improve vision. Green is the last color dementia patients lose the ability to see; so green is a good color for caregivers to wear.

BLUE is the color of the sky and ocean and is universally the most popular color. Blue is associated with tranquility and creativity. It is a popular color for bedrooms since it causes the body to produce the calming hormone melatonin, resulting in more peaceful sleep

PURPLE is the color of royalty. It is considered to be a spiritual color and is associated with mystery. Dementia patients may think of purple objects as sacred.

Color suggestions that may enrich our lives :

  • Spend time outdoors and focus on the colors of nature

  • Decorate with colorful flowers

  • Take time to observe paintings, photographs, and other colorful artwork

  • Paint with bright colors, and use colored pencils for adult coloring books

  • Look at colorful illustrations in books, magazines, etc.

  • Create artistic meals with foods of various colors

  • Incorporate a variety of colors in clothing and furnishings

  • Take time to enjoy the colors of the world around us

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents in fifty facilities for seniors. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk at the Jewish Pavilion (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

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