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Newsletters of Sustainable Lighting

Lighting for the Elderly

Lighting for the Elderly

Lighting recommendations are typically written for the “average eye” i.e., the eyes of young adults who are in good health.  Many eyes, however, are not average and there are populations of people who because of age, eye diseases, injury or other conditions that limit their vision have special lighting requirements. The largest of these groups is the elderly, a significant number of whom are partially sighted.

How to Provide Lighting for the Elderly

How to Provide Lighting for the Elderly

Lighting designed to meet the special needs of the aging or diseased eye is especially critical in health care facilities, senior care homes and outdoor lighting in public spaces.  The following list summarizes the lighting factors that deserve special attention (IESNA, 2007):

Medical lighting selection

Medical lighting selection

Clinical observation

We observe colour by reflection of light from objects. In simple terms an object is blue because it absorbs all the non-blue light and reflects the blue light back to our eyes. If the light source in the area has no blue component in its spectrum then we will not detect the blue colour. A formerly common example of this was the lack of colour definition provided by low pressure sodium street lights—which is one reason why they are no longer used despite their efficacy and long life.

Lighting design considerations for aged people

Lighting design considerations for aged people

Approximately 13.5% of the Australian population are over 65. To be more specific, the amount of this group of people is about 3,250,000. According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, this percentage will be up to 15.3% and continue to climb in the next 20 years. Therefore, aged people care is one of the most important affairs in our daily agenda.

When people are getting older, there will be some significant changes of their vision that occur which affect their understanding and perception of the world around them. Four changes are evident:

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