Monthly Archives: October 2017

Optimize Senior Care with 9 LED Lighting Design Tips

LED lighting design features health, safety and cost benefits for senior living design

Are you curious about senior living architecture elements that can potentially reduce costs, improve resident well-being and increase community appeal? If so, LED lighting may be a great fit in your senior living community’s lighting design.

Lighting design’s multi-faceted impact on senior living architecture

As senior living community leaders consider operational costs and resident health, LED lighting may be a beneficial senior living design option. As we age, our eyes become more sensitive to glare and light variations because the pupil becomes less responsive, and the eye lens looses elasticity. The Lighting Research Center reports that these vision changes cause older adults to require approximately 70 percent more light to see objects that were readily visible earlier in life.

Aging eyes not only require more light, they also require better focused light in specific color tones.  Over time, the eye lens yellows, making cooler colors like blue, green and violet become difficult to see. 2,900 to 3,500 Kelvins is light output recommendation for senior living communities. Not only does LED lighting meet this guideline, it also provides use flexibility in the form of dimming and color tones.

LED lighting design benefits

Senior health and lighting design

Advances in lighting design now allow senior living communities to mimic natural light and light/dark patterns. Multiple studies have demonstrated the benefits of natural lighting on senior health. For example, a study published in the U.S. Library of Medicine showed that consistent light/dark patterns improved sleep and decreased agitation among residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Other studies also linked quality, natural lighting to reduced headaches, nausea, mood disorders, sleep disruption and stress. LED lighting often works well in natural lighting design because of color control and brightness options.

A light color rendering of CRI 80+ is always recommended for senior vision. Communities utilizing light tones that meet resident needs can also expect increased satisfaction as residents view spaces lit to 80+ CRI as more attractive than traditional fluorescent lighting.

Senior living community safety

Well-placed supplementary lighting helps residents get in and out of bed and around their space comfortably. It also provides increased fall protection. Illuminating handrails, floors, stairs and doorways with LEDs helps residents gain confidence navigating their spaces while maintaining natural lighting health benefits. The entire community benefits from these lighting enhancements as nighttime staff complete work safely and efficiently with less disruption to residents.

LED lighting operational cost considerations

LED is known to reduce overall operational costs because the technology requires less electricity to provide more focused light. While power needs are reduced, community managers also need to consider material costs. LEDs can reduce light bulb material costs thanks to some models with a 50,000-hour (8-9 year) lifespan. However, Senior Housing News reports that LED fixtures can cost one and a half to two times as much as standard fixtures.

Watch out for less expensive LED fixtures that are designed, but not labeled, as one-and-done models. When the first LED dies, the fixture dies with it. As LED technology progresses, fewer and fewer one-use models are on the market.

Tip—Make sure your lighting design project is estimated with multi-use fixtures to save on costly changes.

LED lighting best practices

Are you considering community lighting upgrades? Use these senior living design lighting best practices to save time, costs and frustration.

  • Not all locations and fixtures are a perfect fit for LED (i.e. spaces where the lights aren’t on all day provide less ROI).
  • Multi-use spaces are great LED candidates thanks to dimmer compatibility. Lighting needs vary by use, and LEDs can provide the right lighting for a yoga class or a game night without changing spaces.
  • Consider how LED lighting can be used in transitional spaces to provide consistent lighting for the senior eye.

If you want to discuss how senior living architecture and design elements, including lighting design, can maximize resident health while saving costs, contact our Community Living Solutions team at 920-969-9344.

Focus on Wellness in Senior Living Communities

Senior wellness programs improve quality of life

Wellness, as described by the National Wellness Institute, is an active process through which people make health and lifestyle choices toward a better life. For those who strive to improve their quality of life, they reduce their dependency on others and thrive from care tailored to their unique medical and non-medical needs.

That’s why senior wellness programs, especially in long-term senior living communities, are becoming more popular. Wellness programs offer residents opportunities to be more social, be active and promote a healthy lifestyle within the community for a better quality of life. Wellness programs have been known to help with overall well-being. Issues like depression, reduced mobility, lack of independence, safety concerns, and age-specific health issues can be addressed through senior wellness programs.

Many long-term care senior living facilities are recognizing these benefits and are beginning to offer a variety of wellness programs including nutrition, exercise classes and other mindfulness activities.

Wellness trends in senior living communities

Let’s take a look at the latest wellness trends that long-term care facilities are adding to their communities.

  • Aquatic pools: Swimming is an ideal workout for the elderly, mainly because of low impact exercise has a low risk of injury. Water exercises benefit all muscle groups in the body for a complete workout for seniors. Pools offer excellent walking lanes as well.
  • Therapy pools: Typically, therapy pools offer a warm-water experience and can help with lowering heart rate, blood pressure and stress. Aqua yoga and Pilates classes are hot trends in therapy pools.
  • Open exercise space: Staying active longer in life shows to improve strength, balance and ability to perform activities of daily living and maintain a healthy and long-lived life. Open multipurpose spaces, with hideaway storage for equipment to help reduce clutter can make the environment attractive, yet practical. Group low-impact aerobics, yoga and other classes designed for seniors are ideal to host in this space.
  • Nutrition programs: More long-term care facilities are focusing on nutrition programs as part of their overall commitment to wellness. Multi-purpose spaces are a great area for nutrition classes, where group discussions and education for proper senior nutrition in mind: lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plenty of opportunities for hydration.
  • Meditation rooms: Setting aside places for guided, or self-lead, meditation can help residents focus on mindfulness. A study in Journal of Social Behavior and Personality reportedly found that seniors who practiced meditation had significantly fewer hospitalizations. Other benefits of mindfulness include decreases in physical pain, reduced stress, and increases in relaxation, energy, self-esteem and even cognitive functioning.

Get the local community involved

Wellness programs do not have to be limited to your residents. Opening the space for the public to participate in wellness programs can be a great way for residents in long-term care facilities to help connect with the local community socially. Welcoming the public in this way also introduces your facility to the community so they can get to know you before they need you.

How to start a wellness programs for seniors in long-term care

Preventative programs, like senior wellness programs, are a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle for a better quality of life. Over time, wellness programs will move from a trend to the norm for long-term care senior living facilities. Ask us about how to implement spaces for wellness programs into your current campus or a new facility. Call (920) 969-9344 for a free consultation.