Lighting can be of great help in supporting older people and people living with dementia. Residential care homes provide a 24-hour environment which can be very influential on the full day/night cycle of our natural circadian rhythms.
Recently TRILUX Lighting worked with WCS Care on an innovative new care home, Woodside Care Village.
WCS implemented several innovative technology and non-technology-based solutions, which are contributing to the health and wellbeing of their residents. From acoustic monitoring for night-time care and mobile care monitoring to therapy table tennis tables and side-by-side companion bikes for exercise and outdoor time, all in addition to Circadian Lighting, which is a big part of this strategy.
50% of Woodside Care Village’s residents live with dementia, so understanding their particular needs is fundamental.
1 in 5 people with Alzheimer’s Disease experience sundowning syndrome, sometimes called late-day confusion, but it can also happen generally to older people. 1 in 15 people in the UK suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder (known as SAD syndrome). Because we live in the northern hemisphere, it tends to impact people more between September and April.
These conditions and a lack of sleep can lead to depression, over-eating, poor concentration, memory problems, a lack of energy, confusion, loss of day orientation, and mood changes. Exposure to natural light for as little as 10 to 15 minutes a day can help to reduce or stop these symptoms.
Circadian Lighting also helps to alleviate the effects of not receiving enough daylight. During the day, it provides invigorating light indoors, and at night stops you from being exposed to inappropriate blue/white light, which can delay or disturb sleep patterns.
Woodside Care Village includes a complete circadian lighting system. With an expected building lifespan of at least 50 years, this isn’t a short-term solution or project – it’s not an app or gadget that will be superseded in five years or get left in a drawer, never to be used again. Because the lighting is integral to the home, its biological, positive impact on the people who live (and work) there will be experienced by generations of residents, providing an ongoing and lasting legacy. The lighting installation is controlled via the TRILUX Livelink control system which can be adapted by staff onsite. The luminaires cycle through 2700K – 6500K throughout the 24-hour day.
For many older people living in care homes, lack of mobility and complex daily routines means they don’t get enough natural daylight, so the body struggles to differentiate between waking and restful hours. The introduction of circadian lighting will help maintain healthy sleep/wake rhythms, reducing or stopping the symptoms caused by dementia, sundowning, SAD, or a lack of sleep.
WCS has a target of providing 1½ hours of outdoor time per week for all residents; however, in reality, this isn’t possible for everyone. Installing circadian lighting means all residents benefit from ‘natural’ daylight rhythms and compensate for those times that getting outside isn’t possible for whatever reason.
WCS has run a study with Coventry University into the health and wellbeing impacts for care home residents. Having retrofitted a circadian lighting system into one household and public area at their first new-build home, Drovers House in Rugby, they immediately saw significant impacts on residents’ wellbeing, including reduced sundowning symptoms and improved sleep. And staff have noted benefits for themselves too – not least of which is that their job becomes easier when residents’ dementia-related agitation is reduced. These findings led to full Circadian Lighting being implemented across the complete site at Woodside, from the general areas right through to bedroom ensuite wet rooms.
Wonderful anecdotal stories, such as an elderly gentleman finding it difficult to adjust to living in a care home, who when he transferred to Woodside Care Village settled within three days, support the feeling that a positive impact can be experienced in a very short period of time.
Medication is reduced, appetite improves, and people become more engaged during the day, possibly linked to improved sleep – factors which all contribute to resident quality of life.
TRILUX Lighting has now provided circadian lighting for many residential homes across Europe, and although the lighting cannot be isolated from other influences, the benefits are real and positive.
For further information on TRILUX’s circadian lighting please visit: Human Centric Lighting – Knowledge – Service – TRILUX Simplify Your Light
Images courtesy of WCS Care Group.