Lighting for Safety

Problem: Insufficient or inappropriate lighting can contribute to visual impairment, confusion, stress, sleep abnormalities and accidents. We are focusing on how light affects visual acuity. It’s a known fact that a 60 year old needs three times as much light as a 20 year old. With age, objects can become harder to distinguish using ordinary lighting. With normal aging, there is a need for brighter or whiter light in order to do basic tasks. And with Alzheimer’s, adequate lighting becomes more of a challenge. It takes 50% more light for a person with Alzheimer’s to see at the same level of acuity as someone without Alzheimer’s of the same age. Decreased visual perception can contribute to stress, confusion and danger to someone with Alzheimer’s. .

Colors for Health™ is the strategic use of color to serve specific, functional purposes in residential, health care, and commercial environments. Its use as a judicious, tactical asset to promote health, wellness, and independence is integral to its purpose. And because it reduces both accidents and day-to-day stress among seniors and patients, Colors for Health also eases tensions among caregivers while helping contain or reduce the costs of care, medicines, housing, and even insurance.

Consider this common situation: An elderly person in early stage Alzheimer’s cooking in their own kitchen. Older homes tend to have one light source located at the center of the ceiling, which cannot meet the visual needs of a young person, let alone someone who is elderly or has early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Poor lighting can contribute to issues with depth perception and spatial awareness. Reaching for a white handle on a white refrigerator can become confusing. If the countertop is the same value as the cabinetry, where does a person place their plate. If the countertop and stovetop are similar in value, where does a person put a put of boiling water? Can a person decipher the numbers or dials on a stove? Do shadows appear to be lurking as large, dangerous holes? If a kitchen chair is similar in value to the floor, then aiming to sit becomes a challenger and/or danger. The kitchen can be a source of stress, confusion, and avoidable accidents. All can be avoided using brighter, whiter light and even lighting, or lighting designed to help with sleep disorders.

This is where strategic use of color and lighting is vital. Knowing what kind of lighting to use and where to apply it well is essential to creating a safe environment that supports independence. In fact, it’s a priority. To patients, inappropriate or inadequate lighting can cause threatening shadows, blurred stairs, confusing hallways, undefined entrances, indistinguishable handles, and other dangerous scenarios. Colors for Health promotes patient independence and well-being by recommending appropriate lighting that clarifies their orientations, provides better visual perception, reduces patient and caregiver stress, lessens patients’ depression, meds and sleep disorders, and ultimately saves labor and time for care providers and care centers.

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