Does CIBSE regulations meet the needs for interior lighting of older adults?

It has been well documented that scientific research has shown a decline in the visual and perceptual system of older people. They need much more light than a younger person, to see to perform their daily tasks and to help them with their mobility.

Everyone needs exposure to quality natural light on a daily basis. However, people aged 40 plus, as well as older people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, need higher levels of quality light to sustain their health and wellbeing than younger people.

Yet the reality is that many older people spend a great deal of their time indoors in artificial lighting, which is no substitute for natural light. This light deficiency can ultimately cause disruption to the circadian system.

The disruptions can give rise to confusion in their daily routines, increases the frequent of daytime napping, interrupted night sleep, as well as alteration in mood often resulting in feelings of agitation, anxiety and depression which is usually exacerbated in people with dementia.

A more scientifically supported approach is need when considering the lighting of healthy environments for older people, particularly people with dementia, to keep them live at home independently for longer, as well as improve their quality of life.

To achieve these conditions requires the involvement of the architect and the client, and not just the specialist lighting designer. At the early design stages of a project the orientation of the building, its basic shape and the planning of circulation routes should be determined.

Lighting can be designed to make a positive difference to the lives of older people. Designing innovative lighting solutions can provide a comfortable visual environment as well as enhance their health and well-being.

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