FACILITIES FOR BETTER HEALTH
Lighting plays a significant role in contributing to an individual’s health and wellbeing. Improper lighting design can cause fatigue, headaches, and tension, leading to discomfort and a decline in one’s health. Lighting determines the atmosphere and dictates how people feel within a space. It also contributes to healing and promotes optimal recovery, making it imperative that appropriate lighting is used in aged care facilities.
With Australia’s large aging population, the importance of caring for the elderly has increased. Between 1999-2019, the proportion of the population aged 65 years or over had increased from 12.3% to 15.9% and is set to rapidly rise across the next decade as the baby boomers age. In correlation to this, aged care services will also increase in demand, so creating spaces that promote health and wellbeing is crucial.
To help care for the elderly, aged care centres should provide a relaxing place for recuperation. They also require practical lighting solutions so that nurses and staff can perform their jobs, without impinging on the safety of residents. Human Centric Lighting (HCL) is an intelligent concept, designed to evoke human biological responses and support health and performance.
HCL controls the spectral composition and intensity of light to help stimulate the bodies biological clock, otherwise known as our circadian rhythm. This can be achieved by using luminaires with a spectral range from 2700K (warm light) to 6500K (cool light) that can be tuned to mimic the cycle of natural daylight.
Light is crucial for how we feel when we wake up in the morning, to the evening when it is time to relax and prepare for sleep. By replicating daylight cycles indoors, patients can still experience the visual cues that align them to their biological clocks.
In many homes and facilities, the colour temperature and light intensity are fixed, meaning individuals cannot alter the mood for their environment. A cool (blue) light is one that is often seen in workplaces as it stimulates productivity. A warm (yellow) environment is often used in eldercare as it creates a relaxing atmosphere, and medium (white) temperatures can promote better sleep. By identifying areas within homes for the aged where lighting is most important, an intuitive lighting design can be created that encourages health and wellbeing.
Here are some key elements when considering lighting for seniors in aged care.
Calming light for all aged care zones
Creating an environment that is relaxing for seniors whilst also ensuring nurses and staff can perform their tasks efficiently is achievable. Aged care facilities have many areas that require different lighting solutions, from administration and reception zones to resident bedrooms.
The Pierlite range of HCL is customisable to meet the needs of staff and residents simultaneously. Ensuring there is adequate overhead lighting in staff areas will improve focus, safety, and productivity, ultimately contributing to bettering the health of elderly residents.
Pierlite recommend a blend of overhead and decorative lighting when considering options for administration and reception areas. Suitable products include Derungs ViVaa, Momentum Troffers, SIDE Drop Pendants, SIDE Solaris MCL, and DOT Downlight range.
Remain comfortable from day to night
Lighting should effortlessly transition from day to night, to care for the circadian rhythm of both staff and the elderly. This is an important factor within eldercare as it promotes wellbeing and contributes to the protection of seniors from negative health conditions. If lights must be turned on in rooms at night, making it a warm tone and slightly dimmed will ensure that sleep patterns are unharmed. When it comes to lighting, maintaining a productive and healthy balance is vital.
Recover through ambient lighting
An intuitive lighting strategy within the aged care facility will help elderly residents feel better, contribute to improving their health, and allow them to live a more enjoyable life. Designing aged care lighting to reduce glare, enhance comfort and ensure nurses are supported to do their job is vital. Pierlite recommend using the DOT Kimbal range or the Derungs Zera Wall product, to achieve these aims.
Light supports healing, but it also provides residents with the feeling of control. Protecting their dignity and autonomy can reduce depression and stress. Ensuring that the elderly have control over their lighting can be achieved with a night light, as well as an overbed light that is flexible and has an integrated nurse call feature. With the correct Pierlite products such as the Planet Lighting Overbed Light and SIDE Jogger Wall Light, a sense of control can easily be achieved.