With so many facilities in aged care undergoing remodelling and renovations, it is critical to consider lighting in the design and planning process. Getting this right has immense physical and mental health benefits for your residents. It is also far easier to implement good design principles during construction, rather than trying to improve lighting in an existing structure.

As people age, eyesight deteriorates. A 75 year old needs twice as much light as a 45 year old for equivalent visual performance. 

Visual performance becomes increasingly challenging for those living with dementia. Dementia affects sensory perception and communication within the brain.

In ‘Let there be light’ published in this month’s Aged Care Insite there are many recommendations on lighting and sunlight exposure for resident wellbeing.

The Do’s of Lighting:

  • Provide clear contrast between the floor and walls
  • Use domestic style lighting fixtures
  • Utilise daylight where possible for free, high quality natural light
  • Extend curtain rails beyond windows to let in maximum daylight
  • Cut back trees as well as shrubs directly outside windows

The Don’ts of Lighting:

  • Leave corridors dimly lit 
  • Use high powered LED’s that produce a sterile office or library feel
  • Restrict residents from exposure to the 24 hour cycle of light and dark

Not only does good lighting provide numerous health benefits, it decreases the risk of falls.

Good lighting can “improve confidence, increase appetite, support mobility and therefore capacity and decision making”. 

The Benefit of Sunlight and the Outdoors 

The major health benefits of sunlight exposure include:

  • The promotion of a regular circadian rhythm for healthy sleep patterns
  • Vitamin D production for bone strength as well as muscle strength
  • Nitric oxide production for cardiovascular health and better blood flow
  • Reduced risk of seasonal affective disorder

Therefore, easy access to gardens is extremely beneficial. Residents are able to gain light exposure while enjoying light exercise or partaking in hobbies. People can still experience the benefit of light exposure in the shade. As a result only short durations in direct sunlight are advised.

Lighting in the outdoors