What should older adults be keeping around their home to improve their mood?
27th February 2018
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
Staying upbeat at this time of year can be difficult with the winter weather lingering. This can be especially trying for those who are less able to get out and about due to limited mobility. There are many tips and tricks for improving a person’s mood and some of these are as simple as easy additions to the home.
Lighting has an enormous impact on the mood of a room and poor lighting in the home could be a reason why people may be feeling a little less positive. Natural light is often a great way to boost your mood, however those who are able to get out less may struggle to enjoy natural light regularly, especially at this time of year.
Lighting is also important as it exposes any trip hazards that may lurk in shadowy corners. The additional brightness will assist those who are visually impaired and help keep them on their feet.
Christine McVeigh from the blog Decorated Life knows the importance of light and has written a blog post on the subject: “Dark rooms might be great to increase your melatonin levels and help you sleep but to increase your Vitamin D levels, which is a crucial mood builder, you need a lot of natural light.”
“This is particularly the case if you are housebound or unwell. You need a lot of indoor natural light to increase your Vitamin D ‘happiness quotient’. Don’t underestimate Vitamin D which can also protect you against inflammation, help to lower your high blood pressure, improve muscles and even brain function.”
Changing the curtains
Heavy drapes and those in a dark fabric will absorb any natural light that is coming into the room and reduce the light you can enjoy. While window dressings offer privacy, if it alters the mood of the room it may be time to consider a change.
Christine also feels that changing the window dressing will help the attitude of a room: “One way of allowing more light in is to change your curtains. If your curtains are reducing the amount of natural light entering your rooms, hallways and living spaces, it’s time to rethink your window treatments. Curtains perform a few different functions, from added security, keeping out the elements, making your room look more attractive and of course, controlling the amount of natural light entering your rooms.”
“Other window treatments you should consider are blinds and shutters. If you suffer with allergies, curtains are a breeding ground for dust mites. This tiny bug lives in house dust, and curtains love to collect dust and breed dust mites. If you suffer from hay fever, have difficulty breathing or experience asthma your dusty curtains could be contributing to your allergic reactions. While curtain fabrics can be textured and luxurious, rich freshly painted window shutters can lift your mood, and sun faded old curtains can bring you down. If you feel like it might be time for a change, changing your curtains for new curtains, blinds or shutters could be just what you need to naturally improve your mood.”
Look at the light bulbs
Light bulbs come in many shapes and sizes and have a range of different intensities and these can have an enormous impact on the attitude of the room. The colour and brightness of a bulb makes all the difference and some do not suit the purpose of the room. If the room is too dull, consider a bulb with higher lumens (intensity) while a room that feels stark may need a bulb with an alternative colour, like a warmer yellow light.
Mary from Creating Mary’s Home knew she was not happy with lights of a cooler temperature and how they affected her mood:
“The light felt so much harsher and it glowed a different colour. I didn’t like pulling in to my house at night to see the blue light glowing from within, it felt unnatural. And there was a reason I was feeling that way. Since then I’ve figured out that I have a preference for light temperature and colour, and something tells me that you might have a preference too.
“I love BRIGHT. I like things to feel bright, open, and I like to be able to see well when there are lights on. I’ve figured out my preference for colour is between soft white and bright white, which is a little brighter than is normally recommended for most rooms. I think it is important to know what YOU LOVE. What light suits you best?
“And when you’re shopping for lights, don’t just go off of the name, because one company’s ‘bright white’ might look like another company’s ‘daylight’ – and both are vastly different to me. Use the number. I usually aim for between 3,000k to 3,500k. When you shop with the degrees in Kelvin, you can be confident that you’re getting just the right colour temperature that you want.”
Plants are a great way of bringing the outside indoors and brightening any room in the home. Whether people are buying useful plants like herbs for the kitchen or aesthetically pleasing plants for other areas of the house, they can do much to brighten a mood. Melyssa says on her blog how much she loves incorporating houseplants into her interiors:
“I’ve become obsessed with interiors that use lots of plants (and from the looks of things, so has Pinterest!) They just have a way of making any space feel bright, lively, and gorgeous.”
For those who do not want to commit to a live plant, freshly cut flowers are a great way to connect with the seasons. The tradition of giving fresh flowers means that fresh flowers usually have positive associations in our psyche. Not only do they offer a splash of colour and scent but they allow people to feel like they are treating themselves with a very small purchase. They can also be moved all over the home to help brighten any room.
For those who are green-fingered and confident in keeping a plant alive, having a couple of plants growing around the home can be a great mood booster. Some may be to aid culinary endeavours in the kitchen and unlimited basil could be great for those who are inspired by Mediterranean food. A peace lily (spathyphillum) can make functional disability bathrooms more attractive.
There have been in-depth studies to how colour is linked to different moods and it is pervasive in every aspect of society, with paramedics wearing green as the colour is thought to be the most calming, while many social media platforms have blue logos as this colour is meant to represent communication.
People can introduce colour to their homes in many different ways and is completely up to personal taste. Art is often a popular choice, with people choosing bright and bold visuals to adorn the walls.
Soft furnishings are another way to introduce colour into a room with limited cost. A couple of scatter cushions in a bold hue and an interesting texture do much to brighten a room and therefore the mood of those using it. Cara, who explains her interior ideas on the blog Within These Walls talks about what a difference the cushions make:
“When it comes to updating a room I always change the cushions first as it is usually the most inexpensive way that can often make the biggest difference. Sometimes just some fresh fabrics are all you need to feel like you have given the room a completely new look and when choosing cushions (or throws) I think it’s important to experiment with texture as well as using different shades.”
Though most of the cues people take their mood from is visual, the sense of smell can have an impact on how people feel about a certain space. Some scent could be conveyed by flowers but there are other alternatives to introducing a favourite aroma.
Candles and incense are fire hazards and unless people can guarantee they will be closely monitored while lit, they should be avoided. This does not mean that scent cannot be added to the home. Potpourri and home air fresheners are a great way to safely introduce scent into your home.