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Psychological Effects of Color for Seniors

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When choosing a senior living community, factors like safety, level of care, cleanliness, food choices, and social activities are all key factors to take into consideration. Believe it or not, another important factor to consider is the use of color, and the psychological effects of color in the home. While decorating choices might not be at the top of your list of items to look for when you are considering where Mom or Dad will live, the intentional use and placement of color can play an important role in both your loved one’s mental health and physical wellbeing.

Room Color Psychology

Helping your loved one feel at home is the best way to make any transition successful. Gone are the days of senior living communities that emulate a clinical environment by using stark white walls and polished floors. Instead, the relationship between colors and emotional responses is considered to create a welcoming environment through the inviting color palettes chosen for each room.

Color psychology—the study of how colors affect our perception and emotion—is highly effective in helping seniors successfully transition into their new environment. When decorating and furnishing senior living communities, many designers thoughtfully choose colors such as warm blues and lavender to evoke a sense of comfort and serenity and warm reds and oranges to increase energy levels.

How Does Color Affect Eyesight Decline?

When it comes to aging we often think of our loved ones experiencing physical and mental aging, but it is often overlooked how eyesight decline can affect their day-to-day living. As we age we are more likely to develop are cataracts, cloudy areas that cover section of the lenses; presbyopia, which makes it difficult to see small objects up-close; and floaters, small spots that drift through one’s field of vision.

Diminishing vision can affect even the simplest of tasks. Many aging adults find it difficult to distinguish the difference between colors of a similar hue or tint. Having high contrast colors in things like table settings, seating, carpeting, and prominent bathroom features helps those with poor vision navigate more easily. Being able to clearly see the seat of a chair in contrast to the color of the carpet or more easily distinguish between a spoon and a fork eases any added stress when completing tasks. Vision may fluctuate between eye exams, but bold and contrasting colors can help your loved one complete a task on their own, giving them a sense of freedom and autonomy.


Although color is useful, proper lighting is instrumental in helping seniors navigate their way around new places. Consistent light between areas and brighter lighting throughout a space allow your loved one to move about more freely.

Room Color Psychology in Senior Living

By choosing colors and lighting that simulate a positive emotional response and using high contrasting colors, senior living communities are able to make our loved ones feel welcome, comfortable, and safe.