Date: September 21, 2023 8:30 am

Alzheimer’s – The Challenge of an Ageing Population

Alzheimer’s – The Challenge of an Ageing Population

Effective lighting to support the challenges of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is one of the biggest health challenges faced with an ageing population. Globally, it is currently estimated that over 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s or a form of dementia. In the UK alone there is nearly 1 million people living with some form of dementia. These figures are predicted to rise rapidly, over the next two decades.

During our 60 years we have worked with many Care Home providers. Over that time, we have experienced the increase in care homes built to accommodate residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Through our accumulated knowledge and experience over this time, we have developed an understanding about how lighting can support and make a positive impact to the day-to-day welfare of those who live with this condition.

What seems such a simple element, making small changes can have a huge impact on those people managing this awful condition.

With our understanding and experience of how lighting can improve well-being, provoke moods and evoke calmness, we work with care home providers to understand what spaces are to be used for, when and by who. Our focus and constant aim are to deliver a lighting infrastructure that will aid the well-being of those working and living in care homes, with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Lighting up their world

The use of correct lighting can be an enormous help and provide reassurance to those living with dementia.

    • Natural light has a positive effect on people’s well-being.
    • Modern LED lighting systems now better replicates natural light.
      • This is especially useful in areas which are void or have little natural light.
    • Mood lighting can support the improvement of our circadian rhythms (commonly known as our body clock) and sleep patterns.
      • A crucial element to support well-being.
    • Position of lights and use of coloured tone lighting can represent certain areas or functions, which helps those with dementia with repetitive association.
    • No glare lighting. Old style fluorescent lighting often had the tendency to flicker or produce a glare, which effects all of us, but particularly those with dementia.
    • Illuminating signs and objects to support recognition.
      • The ‘memory box’ outside the patient’s room, is helpful and comforting.
    • Sensor lighting, to prevent stark changes in lighting and avoid dark areas.
      • Many people with Alzheimer’s and dementia don’t like walking into dark spaces.

Installing an effective lighting system can have a significant impact on many of a person’s day-to-day activities. Making minor adaptions and with a focus on what type of lighting and where it should be placed can have an enormous impact.

Effective Lighting Provides Positive Impact on People’s Well-being

With dementia, light and colour can help people identify spaces, specific rooms, equipment and how they react to a place or signs. The right lighting can help them identify other people easier and enjoy activities and establish routines.

For instance, choosing a coloured tone lighting that is installed on or alongside handrails, will assist with associated recognition. It can assist people to identify where they are and a reminder that a certain colour light or specific light fitting is to guide the person around the facility.

The installation of sensor lighting to avoid rapid or vast changes in lighting levels, is another supportive use of lighting. Many people with dementia don’t like stepping into a dark area.

Individual rooms now often have an illuminated ‘memory box’ outside their room. This contains items which will aid the person’s memory, to help them associate a place and guide them into their own room.

Light Sensor, Energy Efficient Systems

A well-designed and effective automatic light sensor system can be fitted to remove the issue of lights being left on unnecessarily, or having dark uninviting areas.

Automatic lighting systems can either turn off lights; after a certain period of time, or when there is no movement. Alternatively light sensor systems that allow lights to switch on automatically, either at set times or by movement, when a person(s) enters the room or a particular space.

Corridors, for example, can also be set to dim to 10% after a preset time, then automatically increase to the required lighting level at a set time, or when movement is detected. This ensures a person doesn’t have to enter a darkened area.

Installing effective lighting systems to meet the individual needs is important in any environment, but significantly supports the well-being of those managing health conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

What seems like simple things, enable many to continue to enjoy and undertake everyday tasks and activities easier and independently.

At Gilks our years of experience and wealth of skills and expertise can provide solutions to meet a variety of requirements, which include the unique requirements of a Care Home.

We are passionate about creating the best environment, whatever the needs are of those either living or working in them. We understand the necessity to design and install the right lighting systems and electrical infrastructure to suit different environments and individual requirements.

If you need help planning and installing your effective lighting system then contact our team who will be able to help.

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