True C Lisa Pilley, Colour Consultant at Dulux Trade, stresses how important colo

Globally, the number of people living with dementia is predicted to increase from 50 million in 2018 to 152 million in 2050, a 204% increase. In turn, the costs of dementia care in the UK are expected to more than double in the next 25 years, from £26bn to £55bn in 2040.

However, the UK is taking steps to minimise the impact of this and progress is being made to help people to age well and live in their homes for longer, thereby reducing the pressure on public services.

As part of this response, an increasing number of commercial and industry thought-leaders are collaborating to unify their research in order to deliver actionable insights, informing ways in which to create more supportive environments for those living with dementia. It is hoped that just by finetuning some basic approaches to design, which may include incorporating solutions that are cost neutral to implement, designers can create life-enriching spaces. Perhaps even more crucial, these relatively small adjustments to design techniques are able to produce environments that minimise harm to the occupants, where perhaps sight or mobility is impaired. What these groups are all agreed on is the importance of prioritising the avoidance of sterile or clinical environments – advocating instead, homely and personalised spaces that are interesting and can inject a sense of familiarity and security.

Educational institutions are developing new approaches to understand the impact of dementia on occupants within the built environment and the industry is seeing collaborative work across multiple fields to try and distil the insight into guidelines for architects and designers.

Examples of design guidelines include allowing for clear lines of sight and the use of colour throughout a home to help guide people towards specific rooms and reduce the risk of slips and trips. Increased natural lighting has also been shown to help people stay alert during the day and to sleep better at

night, and using materials that help with noise reduction can support a decrease in stress and agitation.

When it comes to colour, the guidelines are slightly more fluid. Colour is a highly individual and subjective matter but it does have impact beyond the aesthetic. Whilst intense colours can work brilliantly in a big retail, leisure, healthcare or even a domestic home environment, such colours need to be used sparingly in environments primarily supporting people living with dementia.

Inclusive design encourages the application of colour to enable occupants to more readily identify different areas of the entire living space - balancing their needs alongside the needs of their carers or family and giving them greater confidence to move independently within their living spaces.

Highly contrasting colour combinations can work well. Careful consideration of colour combinations is central to the set of accessibility design features. Colour has also been used within a design solution as

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