LIGHTING FOR ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES
LIGHTING DESIGNED FOR IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE
Experts have predicted that 1.6 billion people will be over 65 by 2050. Population ageing is causing transformations in society with more and more people in need of assistance.
Senior Facilities are structures created for the elderly who may have problems taking care of themselves.
There are different types of health care and residential facilities for the elderly. We can divide them into those used to assist self-sufficient or sufficient patients and those for non-self-sufficient people
The main ones are:
- Assisted care/community
Assisted care homes are for seniors who need assistance with medication, daily activities, housekeeping, and meals. There are three meals a day provided in a central dining room. The staff is available 24/7
- Assisted care/community
Nursing homes provide 24/7 qualified nursing care for seniors in need of high levels of medical care. There is also staff specifically trained to ensure the performance of daily activities, such as meals or personal hygiene. In addition to medical rehabilitation therapies for complex physical problems, most nursing homes also offer psychological assistance.
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S E N I O R
F A C I L I T I E SL I G H T I N G
IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE
One of the main problems that arise as we age is declining vision. Not seeing well causes a reduced ability to perceive depths and colors. A professional lighting solution must be capable of responding to such difficulties. The right illumination can significantly improve the quality of life in aged care facilities. In other words, we can say that the elderly need more light, but we must keep in mind that their eyes are more sensitive to glare. Another essential factor, when analyzing the required lighting, is to keep in mind the lack of natural light in many areas of the facility.
A good lighting designer will certainly not forget energy savings. Retirement homes are facilities open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The lights are usually required to turn on at any time, so it is important that luminaires with high luminous efficiency are used. This will ensure that there is less use of electricity, maintaining excellent luminosity.
Visual comfort is essential but we must not neglect the aesthetic and design aspects. High consideration must be given to the biorhythm of sleep. When a person loses their sleep rhythm, a number of side effects can occur. You become moody, lose focus, and your immune system can be compromised. For this reason, you need to choose lighting that resembles natural light as closely as possible in order to be sure of a biological effect in the rooms. In particular, very strong illuminations (up to 1,500 Lux) in cold shades. While in the early hours of the morning and when the evening arrives, a low illuminance (up to 300 Lux) in warm shades is preferable.
HALLWAYS & PASSAGEWAYS
When you think about the lighting in the corridors, we have to make sure that it must provide orientation for patients and employees of the facility.
Many seniors suffer from senile dementia, and if they have difficulty in orientation, they can easily have panic attacks. The lighting de-signer must perform accurate calculations to obtain a balanced ratio between horizontal and vertical illuminance. This will ensure that there is less glare. Even the shaded areas should be reduced to a minimum. It would be ideal to have none at all. In addition, an excellent proportion between the two illuminances will favour a clearer view of people’s faces, preventing the onset of fear and or anxiety
In senior’s residences, the hallway connects rooms and the common areas. Precisely for this reason, it is necessary to provide a signage light. It is also essential to adjust the light levels well. The illumination must be uniform.
Typically, in the common rooms, there will be a greater illuminance than the one in the hallway. In addition, the colour temperature can change during the different hours of the day
Therefore, there must be a balanced passage between the corridor and the halls or bedrooms.
In arranging the light points in the corridor, it is necessary to provide extra lighting in extremely dangerous points. Above all, any lighting design must not miss an emergency light.
The recommended LUX level in the corridor and passage areas during the day must be about 55-60% compared to that of the community rooms, for a value that is around 200 LUX. During the night, the LUX level can drop to 50.
Common rooms are the main areas of a retirement home. In these spaces, the elderly guests of the facility meet and interact, spend time together chatting or doing recreational activities.
For these reasons, the atmosphere of these rooms must be welcoming and warm. We know that it is possible to stimulate people and create a very familiar atmosphere by choosing the right product. The light should encourage and make them active during the day.
Light can motivate seniors and get them to be more active through-out the day. Properly adjusted light helps seniors recognize the hours that pass. In fact, during the day you can go from 2700k up to6000k. We need to think about illuminating the surfaces well with a very intense light and at the same time creating shadows to give a sense of depth. The use of dimmable LED lamps will save energy for the structure. In the choice of products, we will certainly consider using lamps with a high colour rendering. This feature will help to visualize each object very clearly. In addition, they will emit a more delicate beam of light on the eyes. The ability to change the colour temperature will help create different scenarios. The indirect light given by wall lamps together with excellent ceiling lamps will give a sense of safety to the rooms and not a clinical-like effect. Surely the more positive the effect of light on the individual, the better this unity and recovery will be.
Another factor that the lighting designer has to consider is that many patients do not have the opportunity to spend time outdoors. So, the little exposure to sunlight must be compensated for by artificial light. In addition, the common rooms are also the meeting point for the elderly and their families who go to visit them.
Recommended LUX levels vary throughout the day. We have:
- In the morning from 300 to 500 Lux, with colour temperature from 4,500 to 6,500K
- During the day: up to 1,500 Lux, with a colour temperature from 4,500 to 6,500 K
- In the evening: from 300 to 500 Lux, with colour temperature from 2,700 to 3,500 K
Private rooms are the refuge for any elderly retirement home guest. They act as their dwelling. These rooms should create an atmosphere that is as private as possible. Lighting also plays a central role in the small space of any room. For the simple reason that it is often habitual to customize each room according to the tastes and needs of the person who lives in it, the light has to be of the right amount, functional and specific. The patients bring personal items such as photos, paintings, books, and sometimes even furniture
The tone of the light must surely be warm. It must not exceed 3000k.Certainly, the lighting of the rooms takes into account the state of health of the person who lives there. A person with poor mobility will definitely need an adjustable lamp near the bed. In the rooms of elderly people suffering from senile dementia, it is absolutely necessary to avoid floor lamps and use only ceiling lamps that are difficult to reach by hand. The on and off commands should be simple and easily accessible
The design of the light has to ensure safety during the night. For example, if the guest wants to go to the bathroom. In the bathroom, the light must stand out on the face and reduce the presence of shadows.
However, the designer must not neglect another detail. It should make room lighting ideal for both patients and healthcare personnel. Providing a more intense light source for medical examinations is essential.
The recommended LUX values in the rooms and private bathrooms are
- In the rooms, a minimum level of 300 Lux with the addition of area ding light with 1,000 Lux.
- Direct light on the bed with at least 1000Lux for medical examinations
- In the bathroom: 300 Lux.
The reception is the visiting card of retirement homes. It offers the patient’s first contact with his future home and, the light must be soft and welcoming. It needs to be brightly lit and friendly and provide orientation to patients. Accent lighting can add emphasis to the area.
At the same time, it must provide greater illuminance above the desk where the staff spends many hours at the computer. The computer screen often creates glare. It is therefore essential to guarantee a UGR value of at most 19 to moderate it. UGR stands for Unified Glare Rating and, lighting designers use it to measure glare. For an optimal calculation of the UGR, it is necessary to evaluate the light output of the products, their positioning, and the distance between them and the staff. Hanging lamps installed above the desk is the ideal solution
The recommended LUX value is 300.
WORK & ADMINISTRATIVE DEPTS
In these areas, it is preferable to have an average illuminance of 500 Lux with the possibility of varying during night shifts
Overall, we can say that lighting is an essential factor for the well-being of patients and nursing staff. The light must give tranquility and relaxation to the guests of the retirement homes. Thanks to the new LED technology products, it is possible to create various scenarios throughout the day. The main goal of the lighting designer when working on a project for assisted living facilities is to create lighting systems that can change the intensity of colour and power following the rhythm of the circadian cycle. Equally important is to keep in mind that the elderly need more light and that their eyes are more sensitive to glare. Another essential factor, when analyzing the lighting, is to consider the lack of natural light in many areas of the facility
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