In creating functional spaces for aging residents, designers need to understand vision changes. Although this adds complexity to color and pattern selection, certain overriding principles still remain:

  • Brighter colors may be used to emphasize more important areas of a room, supported by color contrast and additional light.
  • Color can encourage or discourage movement into certain areas.
  • Color may be incorporated into wayfinding and orientation.
  • Color can be used on the walls in stairwells, corridors, and bathrooms to contrast with handrails and help with navigation.
  • Use as matte of a surface as possible. Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) Guidelines state: “Use of non-glare finished floors should be considered to avoid compromising vision and potentially disrupting balance of residents.”
  • Avoid sparkles or speckling, as these can cause distraction or look like something to pick up, which could result in a fall.
  • FGI Guidelines state: “To prevent falls, flooring should have no pattern or a small pattern less than 1” wide or a large pattern wider than 6”. Flooring should have low-contrast patterns.”
  • FGI Guidelines for Walls: Wall surfaces shall have a matte finish. Use of highly polished, glossy, or shiny wall finishes that create glare shall not be permitted.
Senior living hallway with Altro Whiterock Digiclad