Blue Care Kenmore – Murals for dementia that enhance the space
>> The brief: Mural A) Turn the outside exit into “something else”, so residents no longer see the door. Mural B) Transform the inner hall into a cosy seating nook. Blue Care Kenmore manager, Cassie, wanted the Sharron’s Blue Care Rothwell fireplace, but with different memory cues, a real clock and, something for the adjoining wall.
>> Our strategy: Mural A) Inspired by the spaces gum trees, country styled gardens and architecture; Sharron designed tree trunks to conceal the door’s lines, handle, and keypad where frustrated residents try to escape. A country themed perspective leads the eye out to horse riders, their homestead, and the Glass House Mountains while a sharp, white picket fence, hides the door’s horizontal lines and suggests to the resident; I can see there, but not go there. To encourage them to move away from the danger spot of the inward swinging fire door, Sharron placed a fearful crowing rooster but balanced this menace by a “come and pat me” Blue Cattle Dog, leading them to the safer corner. Still, we do not want residents lingering at the door, so a goanna up a tree, with long talons clearly visible, says back away now. The mural and real space are combined through painted bark at the murals’ base which matches the actual gardens bark and hides the door’s gap.
>> Our strategy: Mural B) A ‘Rustic Chinoiserie Garden’ theme set the stage for cultural and homely memory cues, a point of difference and a bold colour palette to assist wayfinding. Persons with dementia will perceive red and blue as darker than other hues while yellow is evident to them, so Sharron kept the colours vibrant. Embodying this is a striking, hand painted wallpaper pattern of vine and bird, positioned above a faux dado rail, to keep the handrail visible and relevant and contrast chairs, flooring and fireplace’s warm red background. Books with classic titles on the fireplace mantel provided reading cues, while the butterfly lamp, natural timber fireplace tools set and rustic wooden coal basket created talking points without losing a homely, familiar feel.
>> Our results: The fiddling at the outside exit door stopped and for the interior mural, “We have had some lovely comments from residents, staff and visitors of how much it has changed the whole atmosphere and makes the place much cosier and homelike. One staff member has on three occasions went to put flowers on the mantle piece it looks so real! Carmel has claimed the chair by the fireplace as hers and can always be found reading b the fire in Carmel’s Corner.”