Lighting is essential in every building, but its importance takes a central role when the residents are seniors. Call it science, strategy, or creativity, but lighting design can make a world of difference to aging eyes.
Today, I delve into a niche market, which has its own challenges and special lighting needs—senior living facilities.
Lighting Considerations for Seniors
Senior living facilities should feel warm, lively, and welcoming; Understanding light’s impact on senior vision goes a long way. Anyone involved with the senior care industry should know these basic considerations:
- Enhancing Vision: For most, eyesight becomes weaker with age. Generally, the elderly need two to six times more light than their younger counterparts.
The table below helps determine the degree of lumens that work best for each age group.
- Softening Contrast: Several studies show that seniors with waning eyesight are much more likely to mistake dark shadows for physical objects, falling prey to accidents. Ideal lighting arrangement would cast softer and minimal shadows.
- Reducing Glares: Just as with dark shadows, glares can be adverse for seniors. Replacing shiny surfaces with matte finishes and using opaque lamps or lamp shades enhances vision.
- Understanding Psychology: Right ambiance helps curb signs of depression. Warm (i.e., red to yellow) lights work well in public dining spaces while cool white light is best for reading, activities, and personal living areas. Source
- Maintaining Circadian Rhythm: Known as a circadian rhythm, having bright light during the daytime and dim light at nights helps regulate the biological clock. Such rhythm is essential for good health.
- Different wavelengths of light can affect this cycle. For example, exposure of blue light before bedtime can interfere with sleep, which is emitted by device screens and normal-use fluorescent and LED lights. Source
- Serving Different Purposes: Stick-on lights for closets, motion sensing lights, and automatic night lights improve visual performance for a variety of purposes.
- Installing touch-enabled lights can help Alzheimer patients
- Light dimmers allow individual control of lighting for optimal comfort.
Obviously, the type of lights you install makes a huge difference for your residents and in your overall cost. Keep an eye out for my next newsletter, where I reveal which lights are clear winners and why.
Note: The team behind Vida4 is well-versed in efficient lighting design and engineering. Drop us a note and discover how we can help serve the seniors better through our services!