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How Colors Affect Those With Alzheimer’s

Allyson Schrier, founder and CEO of Zinnia TV, joins Suzanne to talk about how those with dementia and Alzheimer’s are affected by different colors in their environment. Environmental wellness is one of the 8 foundational principles of wellness, a focus of the Vitality Revolution podcast series sponsored by Humana.

Allyson says, “We’ll talk about specific colors. We’ll also talk about colors in general. People who are living with dementia have challenges seeing contrast. An example, the bathroom at my house has a white floor, white walls, and white toilet. My husband [who had dementia] would go into the bathroom and he would shut the door and he would urinate on the wall. Why couldn’t he see the toilet? Because it’s the same color as the floor, same color as the walls. So what do we do? We replace the toilet seat with a bright-colored toilet seat.

“As far as colors themselves go, red is a color that’s associated with warmth. And it’s also an appetite enhancer. It is the most common color of a plate that is used in long-term care settings – it creates contrast, and because it enhances appetite. So if I give somebody a white plate and on that I put some white pasta or rice, it’s very hard for them to actually see the rice or the pasta or the plate. Therefore, a contrasting color is really helpful.

“Blue by comparison is considered an appetite suppressant. So maybe I wouldn’t want to have blue plates. Blue is also a color that promotes peace and calm, and can lower blood pressure and anxiety. So if I’m going to have a snuggly blanket that I’m going to cover somebody with, if it’s a red blanket, that kind of promotes thoughts about warmth. If it’s a blue blanket, then maybe that would promote a sense of ease and calm.

“Which is something that the color green also does. And I think that it has to do with the fact that these are the colors in nature, right? If somebody runs to high anxiety, maybe I want to dress them in colors that will promote calm and soothing. Maybe a green top, for instance, with patterns. Lime green green is a color that draws lots of attention. If I’m going to put labels on cabinets, for instance, or I want to put instructions next to the coffee maker, maybe I use lime green paper or lime green sticky notes.”

Learn more about
* Zinnia TV subscriptions, with a two-week free trial: https://www.zinniatv.com/
* Allyson Schrier: https://www.zinniatv.com/about
* The Vitality Revolution podcast series: https://answersforelders.com/vitality-revolution/
* Humana: https://www.humana.com/
* Answers for Elders: https://answersforelders.com/welcome-to-answers-for-elders/

Hear more
* Podcasts with Allyson Schrier at Answers for Elders: https://answersforelders.com/tag/allyson-schrier/
* Articles and podcasts about Environmental Wellness: https://answersforelders.com/vitality-revolution/environmental-wellness/

Answers for Elders is part of the SeniorResource Network: https://www.seniorresource.com/
Check out our affiliate podcast Alzheimer’s Speaks: https://alzheimersspeaks.com/