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Interior Design Considerations For Retirement Homes

1928 words - 8 pages

Interior Design Considerations for Retirement Homes

At the Waterford, you'll find the freedom to create the lifestyle you've always wanted. Each morning you'll awake to a colorful palette of possibilities from which to paint your day. Enjoy the quiet, muted tones of solitude in your spacious apartment, knowing friends and an attentive staff are close by. You'll always have a wealth of things to do right at your fingertips keeping you as active as you want to be. The Waterford proudly presents a staff of experienced, detail-oriented professionals at your service. From our executive director to our culinary chef, to our housekeepers and wait staff, you'll find warm and friendly people ...view middle of the document...

Having prior difficulties could make these residents more susceptible to the normal adjustment problems that come along with relocating to a new living environment. Or perhaps it is because the environments nursing homes create are not specifically geared towards the needs of the elderly. With about 5% of people over 65 living in nursing homes this is a serious problem, whether the resident is healthy or not, that should be demanding more attention (Hoyer, Rybash, & Roodin, 1999).

There are many factors that could contribute to depression among the aging including illness, loss of close family members, or financial problems. Unfortunately these are problems that are uncontrollable, but there are things that we can control that may provide a more agreeable environment for those living in nursing homes or retirement communities. Perhaps if we did more to accommodate the aging with an environment that is aesthetically pleasing and functional through color change, lighting, and spatial arrangement, the number of depression diagnoses would decrease among the elderly residing in retirement homes.

Through motion pictures and photographs we have some idea of what it might be like to live in a world that is colored in shades of gray. However, it would be much more difficult to imagine a world where there were colors, but they were indistinguishable in many cases and shades of certain colors were nonexistent. It would be similar to wearing glasses with yellow lenses. This is the type of colored world that many people progressively experience after the age of forty caused by a condition called presbyopia. Presbyopia is an age-related illness caused by the hardening of the variable lens, which decreases the eyes' ability to accommodate (Goldstein, 2002). This hardening of the variable lens is caused by the death of cells inside the lens with age. These dead cells cause visual images to be seen as if through a yellow lens. The process occurs so gradually that most people do not notice the colors and lights getting dimmer. This could be an explanation of why nursing homes are thought to be so drab by the elderly yet so pleasant to us (those unaffected yet). Rooms decorated in pastels or blues may seem to be just shades of dirty gray to the aging. It has been shown in several studies that the colors in our surroundings affect our moods. A study done at the University of Texas Division of Interior Design found that office colors definitely influenced mood. Females indicated more depression in white, gray, and beige offices while males reported more depression in offices colored orange or purple (Kwallek, Lewis, Lin-Hsiao, and Woodson, 1996). Therefore, it would be safe to assume that the drab colors seen by the aging in nursing homes might negatively affect their mental state. An effort should be made to decorate the interior in colors more suitable to the presbyopic eye, even though the combinations may not be as pleasing to the younger eye. Using colors...

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