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How to install effective lighting in care homes

The correct type of lighting arrangement is very important for care homes. As specialised care environments, residents often require a certain level of care and attention. Many care home residents typically spend long periods of time indoors, where artificial light is often the only light they come into contact with. The problem with conventional artificial lighting is that generally, it is standardised in terms of its direction, intensity, softness and colour. 

The need for proper lighting in care homes

Standardised artificial lighting can be problematic to the ageing eye in that human bodies and our respective functions are generally influenced by light, as it enables us to maintain our circadian rhythm. Put simply, the sun rising in the morning lets us know it’s approaching the time to get out of bed, and the sun setting in the evening means it’s time to think about heading off to sleep. This becomes particularly prominent when it comes to dementia patients, who can typically suffer from sundowning, which results in restlessness, confusion or irritability that can begin or worsen as daylight begins to fade.

Lighting levels and contrast levels between rooms and spaces are also particularly important considerations in care environments for older adults. The retina receives less light as one ages because pupil size becomes smaller and other changes in the eye occur. It is estimated that for the same light level, a typical 60-year old receives about one-third of the retinal illuminance of a 20-year old. Effective lighting must take into consideration the requirements of older adults as well as individual differences.

Not having proper lighting in a care home may therefore affect the residents in various ways and they may have problems maintaining their circadian cycle. This can result in feeling drowsy, further impaired mobility and other issues. 

Tips for better lighting arrangements in care homes

For better visibility and maintenance of circadian rhythm, the importance of care home lighting cannot be ignored. Here are some ideas about the ways to configure lighting in different parts of a care home.

  • Bedrooms: The bedroom is a cosy and intimate space. So, the care home should opt for a practical yet decorative light design with circadian-supportive lighting . Lights should be capable of delivering circadian stimulus through colour and brightness settings, and also be able to provide enough light in the evenings and at night without any potential disruption to the circadian cycle.Bedside lights of a suitable colour and power are a good way to provide comfort and utility of lighting without introducing lighting complications for the circadian-supportive environment.

     

  • Bathroom: Being a functional space, the bathroom should have brighter lights than the rest of the premises. but also provide a good night-time light level and setting which does not disrupt circadian cycles. The use of sensors to activate the lights is also a good way to minimise energy use.

  • Dining room: Dementia-affected persons may face it difficult to eat without proper lighting arrangements. So the care home operators should give greater importance to decorating the dining room with bright lights.A good even and wide level of illumination is important so ceiling and wall lights are particulary effective in ding areas and lounges. Care should be taken to avoid shadows and creating bright or dark areas within a room.

Corridors and circulation areas must be lit to support safe movement so they require sufficient levels of lighting with a good even spread onto floor and walls. They need higher levels of light than a typical house, or even office buildings. Again, care must be taken to ensure there are no shadows or dark areas and that contrast levels between spaces are eliminated.

Light is an essential need for living and we continue to discover how critical the correct type of lighting is for the human body, so any approach to lighting must take in a number of key factors. For better assistance in care home lighting, consult with Circadacare. They are a science-led health tech company that provides quality solutions for care home lighting and dementia-friendly lighting. You can rest assured of getting proper functional lighting arrangements to help the residents and staff of your care home.