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Let it shine: the ins and outs of good lighting

After food, lighting is the most important environmental input for supporting physical wellbeing, the author of a new book on the subject says.

David McNair, a chartered lighting engineer from the UK, says lighting needs to be well designed, thoughtful and address the specific needs of older people and people with dementia.

“If you are 75 years of age, you need twice as much light as that for a 45-year-old to be able to do the same things comfortably,” McNair says.

Enlighten: Lighting for older people and people with dementia, published by the non-profit HammondCare Media, walks readers through the ins and outs of light and lighting, offering advice for care professionals and insights for engineers, architects and designers responsible for new buildings, refurbishments and alterations.

Co-author Associate Professor Colm Cunningham, director of HammondCare’s Dementia Centre, says with almost 50 million citizens globally living with dementia, there is a pressing need to build environments that provide people with the right lighting and access to outdoors.

Cunningham adds: “Staff need to be educated and empowered to understand the importance of these features to support the person with dementia.

“Most people are aware that memory loss and forgetfulness are signs of dementia, but as the disease progresses it can affect sensory perception and communication.

“Good lighting can contribute to good decision making and has been shown to improve confidence, increase appetite, support mobility and therefore capacity and decision making.”

Aged Care Insite speaks with McNair to find out his top lighting tips and how to make improvements to any environment.

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One comment

  1. What a great interview and advice from a world expert on lighting. Thank you Dallas and David. You can find the book at http://www.dementiacentre.com/shop/design-for-dementia/enlighten