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How Dementia Facilities can stop gents peeing on doors and walls; and other problems.

by | In The Media

What is the point of murals for dementia? well…imagine yourself locked in a dementia facility, with your vision muted and yellowed, an inability to remember timeframes, faces, the stress of being unable to escape the typical aged care decor and also struggling to find your way to the toilet or your room.

Now imagine being a relative, and feeling the stress of experiencing your loved one ill at ease, angry and confused. The isolation, blandness, the easy clean soft and “relaxing colours” that are so unexciting, you can’t wait to escape, let alone the heated environment and lack of fresh air.

Now, put yourself in the position of a nurse, having to manage a dozen or more young to elderly people suffering “dementia” (there are 60-70 types of dementia not caused by age but stress, diet etc). Some residents, like a baby, will put anything in their mouth and eat it, wee on the curtain, wall or door for no particular reason other than that it is green, constantly lose their way or think they are in danger. This is why they are constantly looking for dementia diversion ideas.

People with dementia can’t perceive depth, the speed of an oncoming item, muted or pale colours and certain colour juxtapositions like light blue against mauve. In fact, light blue will appear as grey. So the solution is highly luminous hues that contrast against one another and depictions that are static and cannot be perceived as oncoming, thus causing a fall. Dementia facility artwork should consider all of these issues. 

Hues painted to enhance the existing architecture are best. Likewise, cues that engage the memory, pastime activities like walking the dog at their local beach, and discouraging or encouraging behaviours like staying away from the exit itself by being drawn to something else, help the overall function and happiness within a dementia facility.

Murals for Dementia, which I have painted since 2009, solve numerous issues relevant to vision, spatial awareness, wayfinding, atmosphere, decorating and colour perception in these facilities.

Yesterday for Regis Aged Care at Caboolture, I designed murals that will transform 2 bare spaces into a farmhouse decor with an entry to a Barn Nursery where residents can enter, calm themselves and interactively cuddle farmyard babies…. soft toy lamb, piggy, calf and puppy! Highly visible to the elderly, red gingham curtains will warm the space, encouraging them to stay.

The finishes will unite existing fabrics, laminates and flooring to enhance Canning Lodge’s overall sales appeal to new families. The entry wall will feature a dappled Appaloosa horse for residents to pat and a farmyard door with a sign, “To Barnyard Nursery!” encouraging them to enter, creating more time for weary staff.

Something to pee on? The door! I have been helping aged care and dementia facility managers for so long now that I can solve behavioural problems for them, explain why residents might pee on walls, curtains or doors, kiss pictures or constantly stand at a door thinking they can exit from it when it is a cupboard.

What’s the secret with the weeing? Men wth limited vision will perceive green surfaces that look like unbounded open grass with no wall to stop them, simply are ok to pee on. It’s a matter of that’s what they do in life and there’s nothing to suggest otherwise because they can’t see it! This is why most stickers over dementia exits do not work, because the psychology and colour perception isn’t geared towards their needs.

For more info see www.tailoredartworks.com.au or call Sharron Tancred on 07 3491 6400.


Story of Cooinda House Demengtia Murals installation by Sharron Tancred from Tailored Artworks