Creating independence with colour

A pile of brightly coloured squares sit untidily on top of each other. The colours are very bright.Colour is important for giving visual cues about the position of objects and helps us navigate around obstacles. But as we grow older this ability tends to decrease along with vision loss. Colour coding is one strategy to gain or direct attention and increase independent movement. 

A study on using colour for safe movement in the home found that bright, clear or strong colour helps older eyes distinguish things. It is also good for people of any age who have low vision. Luminance contrast was also likely to be just as important, if not more so.  

The report of the study is a second edition and is titled, Use of Colour for Safe Movement. The aim of the study was to see how colour and colour contrast helps older people stay safe and comfortable at home.  Bright colours and high contrast improves spatial orientation, recognition of objects, and improves mood. The study has particular use for people involved in home modifications.

Related to this research is an Industry Checklist: Colours for the homes of people with ageing eyes or vision impairment.  This is useful for doing a home assessment and customising for individual needs and preferences. 

There is also a consumer factsheet, How can colours support movement of people with ageing eyes or impaired sight?  This has self-help tips such as marking objects with a bright colour such as buttons on a remote control. 

While this study was about home environments, there is much to take away for the public domain.