Older adults spend relatively more time in indoor residential environments than young people. As their visual and cognitive abilities decline, they experience a high risk of accidents in indoor environments; thus, understanding their gaze behavior while considering cognitive capacity is essential in preventing potential accidents and planning for aging-friendly environments. The purpose of this study was to examine whether the use of color in living environments affects the visual attention of older adults. The following two experiments were conducted using eye-tracking technology: Experiment 1: Older adults' gaze behaviors were measured while viewing four images consisting of nine sets of door-door frames with different color combinations of safety colors, black and white; and Experiment 2: Based on results from Experiment 1, images of simulated living environments were created, and older adults' gaze behaviors were measured while viewing eight images in which two door colors were applied to verify spatial color visibility. Their cognitive state represented by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was then compared with their gaze behavior. The results show that: (a) participants paid more attention to doors with color combinations including red (red-black and white-red) and remained longer on the red-black combination; (b) older adults looked at red-black doors faster than white doors in the same position; (c) the dwell time on a red-black door was longer than on that of the corresponding position of a white door; and (d) based on participants' MMSE values, the gaze behaviors of the group with low cognition were less focused and observable than those of the group with normal cognition. The results of this study are significant in that they reveal that indoor color can improve the visibility of elements that can impact safety in the living environments of older adults and enhance their quality of life.
Keywords: color visibility; eye-tracking; indoor residential environment; older adults.