Seniority Rules | Senior Digs Color + Design

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Gretchen Schauffler Color With Benefits Protocol

The use of color as a powerful stimulus to benefit children and their families in commercial spaces, from classrooms to hospitals, is highly effective. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Adult Senior Living and Memory Care Centers. These facilities have traditionally focused on making color innocuous or not offensive, rather than impactful and beneficial. A lack of color connection, value, and harmony in the vast selection of un-curated products for the Senior market has contributed to the overall feel of spaces looking stagnant, artificial, or contrived, leaving them feeling soulless. Since 1998 I have worked as a Color Consultant with homeowners, designers, architects, and also as the Creative Director of Devine Color with product manufacturers, to produce beautiful and visceral spaces and products that improve our lives by engaging our senses on a fundamental level.  For more see Color With Benefits, a stimulating color design protocol for caregiving environments that focuses on the visceral biological, emotional and psychological benefits of color. It's the result of my years of knowledge and experience as a color expert, consultant, and product developer.

My desire to create colorfully pleasing environments for aging adults, including those living with Alzheimer's disease, started because of my grandmother, the woman who raised me to love color through her love of sewing. When she had a stroke, she lost part of her memory, and I lost a part of her. To honor her, I vowed to make "Endings As Colorful As Beginnings" and improve Senior Care environments with a design philosophy and protocol that uses color to promote emotional well-being. Not only for the patients and residents, but for the caregivers and the families that visit. About Color Counseling & Design Services.

ALZ Leadership Board Member

I Gretchen Schauffler am proud to have joined Oregon's Alzheimers Association Leadership Board 2016-2018. As a member, I intend to bring awareness to the importance of making life memorable with color until we find a cure. I believe color and memory go hand in hand and endings should be as colorful as beginnings.  My grandmother lived with my mother at the time of her stroke. If you walk into my mother’s house, you know she is from another country. She uses bright bold colors with abandon. I always think of my mother and grandmother surrounded in bright and beautiful colors. In Puerto Rico, beautiful color is an ageless commodity. No matter how wealthy or poor, young or old — having bright and beautiful color around you is the norm. I had never walked into an assisted living facility prior to this. While the people who worked there were genuine, my grandmother looked like a doll out of place. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I kept on thinking that she would have wanted to open her eyes, had the environment only been saturated with beautiful colors. 

As a 35 year old mother my destiny was ahead. All I could think about was my kids. I compared myself to other mothers. I had no time, and there was no place like home.  Twenty years later my destiny is now. I am not thinking about kids or what others think of me. I have no bedtime and, still, there is no place like home. It is with great pleasure that I share with you my knowledge, wisdom, and experience on how to make aging-in-place  environments, both residential and commercial, beneficially stimulating with color. 

Did you Know?

Color is a powerful stimulus. It has the power to suppress appetite and increase concentration. It can cause cravings and impulse purchases—fatigue, agitate and irritate. Many environments focus on color being innocuous or not offensive as opposed to beneficially impactful. Others use color theory or trends, which often lead to artificial colorful places that fall out of favor easily. There are plenty of monotonous and colorful spaces that are not beautiful.