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How Lighting Can Influence Resident Health and Wellness in Senior Care Settings


Lighting plays an important role in a building’s architecture, as it can enhance a space, create an aesthetic, and draw attention to different elements. But in senior care settings, lighting plays an even bigger role. When used strategically, lighting can influence resident health and wellness, as well as safety.


How Lighting Can Address Health Concerns


Lighting plays an important role in creating an environment that is safe for residents. “Seniors generally benefit from higher lighting levels, more uniformity, and less glare. Together, these create a safer environment than poorly lit homes, reducing the risk of falls, and minimizing the difficulty of reading medicine labels,” explains Ebert.

Since seniors are more sensitive to glare than younger individuals, designers can reduce that glare with window shades, light shields, and finishes that aren’t overly reflective. “It is also important to provide uniform lighting through careful selection and placement of indirect and shielded direct lighting,” he says.


Circadian lighting can also help improve sleep and reduce agitation and depression. This kind of lighting changes color throughout the day, mimicking the way that sunlight changes during the day. Ebert notes that circadian lighting has also been shown to be especially helpful for seniors with memory issues like Alzheimer’s disease.


Older and outdated lighting systems may lack the versatility needed to fully take advantage of lighting to support residents. Ebert notes that most legacy systems lack the ability to adjust lighting levels and color to reflect the types of activities conducted in the space. “For example, many facilities may use a space for aerobics in the morning and dining in the evening; activities that benefit from very different lighting strategies,” says Ebert. “Often, older systems rely heavily on fluorescent lighting which tends to be very white light and clinical, which is great in an office or exercise room but may be uncomfortable in a living or dining room. Additionally, florescent lighting is very difficult to dim or change color, again making it difficult to fine-tune the lighting.”


He explains that the use of LED lighting can also enhance a senior care space. In addition to energy savings, LED offers other advantages. “LED lighting allows for simple installations of very uniform light...,” Ebert says. “They are also very easy to dim and change color so light levels can be fine-tuned. LED fixtures can come in a wider variety of sizes and styles than traditional fixtures allowing more targeted placement options.”


Updating and redesigning lighting can have a significant impact on resident health and safety, and projects don’t necessarily have to be major renovations, notes Ebert. “Lighting projects can be as simple as replacing fixtures in existing locations, all the way up to relocating, rewiring, and installing complex lighting control systems.”


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Read the whole article from iAdvance Senior Care here




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