On a global level, the ageing population is increasing which will undoubtedly result in an increased demand for care facilities and more complex care requirements. Individuals living in permanent residential care facilities can often be subjected to a number of unnecessary stresses due to feelings of institutionalisation, with a change of surrounding and loss of possessions leading to confusion and exacerbation of pre-existing dementia problems. It is believed that creating environments that are as comfortable and homely as possible can help to relieve negative emotions and improve the quality of life of the individuals. This paper aims to investigate this issue.
This study brought together care home residents, interior designers and textile manufacturers to research pattern design and colour preferences for bedding for residents in a care home. Results were implemented in the design and building of a new care home in Dornbirn, Austria, with the intention that residents will feel happier in surroundings they prefer.
Following collection and analysis of results, it was seen that both residents and non-residents tended to prefer patterns that were representative of the era when they were young, perhaps because of the positive feelings they experienced during these times, and the positive memories the familiar patterns evoked of these times. Respondents preferred colour schemes that were bright and vibrant and linked these colours to feelings of happiness. Respondents did not like the muted colour schemes, which could have been related to reduced colour sensitivity with age, rendering the paler schemes dull and drab.
While the authors acknowledge that case study was carried out in Austria and reflected the thoughts and opinions of Austrian citizens, the research methodology is easily transferrable to other countries and areas of research.
The authors wish to thank all staff at the Pflegeheim Höchsterstraße Dornbirn for their kind assistance setting up the experiment, and their continued assistance in engaging and assisting residents in questionnaire completion.
Stevens, K., Fröis, T., Masal, S., Winder, A. and Bechtold, T. (2016), "Design and colour preferences for older individuals in residential care", Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 87-101. https://doi.org/10.1108/RJTA-03-2015-0010Download as .RIS
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