The French Alz Angels, introduced in my last blog entry, told me about the importance of color and contrast for people with dementia. Their ability to perceive hues and contrast diminishes leaving them fewer clues to their environment.
If one were to paint a thick black line on the floor many Alz people would step carefully over it because they can’t tell if it’s a hole or solid.
In a study done at Boston University, it was found that putting food on a red plate increased the amount that Alz people ate significantly. If you put white potatoes on a white plate they don’t see it as we do, and so they don’t eat it.
You can read more about this at: http://www.bu.edu/cas/magazine/spring10/golomb/index.shtml
The Angels also said, “If you want a person with dementia to go through a door, paint it a contrasting color from the wall. If you don’t want them to open a door, paint it the same color as the wall”.
We’ve been trying out these concepts because Bob has a difficult time finding the bathroom. We’re painting the bathroom a different color than the adjacent room and painting the door a contrast to both. We also put a photo of a toilet and an arrow pointing the way.
I’ve chosen contrasting hues to paint his little Bali cottage so hopefully he’ll be less confused in his surroundings. We're still in the process of getting this finished but I'm hopeful we'll see a change.
Alzheimer's is never linear. Just when you think you have a handle on some behavior your solution to the problem evaporates. Just when I think, “Ah Bob is doing better, he suddenly becomes harder to handle”. All I can do is keep dancing, following the disease’s lead.