Uplifting environments for ‘Friends of the Elderly’ dementia home

The Ian Williams team works in many sensitive environments, with much of our activity in the homes of older people or those who are vulnerable. We recently completed a project in a Dementia Unit for The Retired Nurses National Home (RNNH) in Bournemouth, on behalf of the charity Friends of the Elderly, who look after residents in care homes as well as those needing specialist dementia, nursing and respite care.

The unit, which has its own lounge, dining room and kitchenette, allows residents to get involved with activities that are specifically tailored to how each person would like to spend their time. A significant part of the person-centred care is to encourage independence by supporting residents to be involved in daily life tasks such as cooking and gardening, something that provides reassurance and continuity to dementia residents.

Andy Price, Ian Williams Business Manager commented: “Our brief was to refurbish 16 rooms in the unit as well as introducing a new lounge area and wet rooms across an entire floor of the building. As one of the UK’s leading painters and decorators, we have a lot of experience and expertise in the difference that colour can play in the homes of those living with dementia. Scientific research has unequivocally shown that the way people engage with a building, positive or otherwise, can be directly affected by the colour and design of the space.

“For example, visually impaired people can discern colour differences, so the use of contrast can make movement and building navigation much easier – e.g. painting whole doors and architraves in a contrasting colour with the surrounding surfaces; making the skirting boards the same or a similar colour as the wall gives visually impaired people an accurate indication of the size of the floor; using a colour that contrasts with the background draws attention to key features like switches, sockets and handrails. There is also research that shows that some people struggling with dementia can sometimes remember colours more easily than numbers or words – so painting their individual room the ‘green’ room can be helpful. We worked closely with Friends of the Elderly to ensure that we optimised the use of colour throughout the unit and are delighted that in this way, we’ve been able to support the charity with their person-centred care approach.”