Conducting specialized lighting services for the senior living facility lighting has become a challenge in its own right. Senior living facilities do not want to look institutionalized and the residents need adequate light to properly and safely perform their daily routine. State authorities have focused on higher levels of lighting in these facilities for resident and staff functions, and energy codes keep shrinking wattage allowances for lighting. These are just two of the many challenges faced when catering to the needs of senior living clients.
Special Needs of the Aged
Most of us have experienced what it is like to perform an activity in an area that does not have sufficient light. Perhaps you are trying to read a book in a room with inadequate lighting. Now add on a few extra years to your eyes, a degenerative eye disease and you have just portrayed what many seniors may encounter on a daily basis. Inadequate lighting is also a safety concern because it affects depth perception, which is sometimes referred to as a “senior moment.”
Adding more light does not necessarily mean it is better light and the light source that produces a glare can make seeing even more difficult. So what kind of lighting levels or foot-candles (FC) should be provided for seniors? According to state authority criteria, lighting level requirements are higher than what you may think. In comparison to another health care facility such as a hospital, the lighting levels can be much higher.
- Corridors: senior facility, 30FC – hospital, 10FC
- Dining: senior facility, 50FC – hospital, 10FC
- Nursing station: senior facility, 100FC – hospital, 50FC
- Patient room general: senior facility, 30FC – hospital, 5FC
- Patient critical exam: senior facility, 100FC – hospital, 50FC
As you can see from the examples above, senior living facility lighting has substantially higher level requirements. In the tables commonly used for energy code compliance, the closest category to senior living facilities is clinic/healthcare with (1) watt per SF allowance or hospitals with (1.2) watts per SF allowance. Part of the challenge here is meeting the higher level requirements by using the allowable wattage restrictions.
At Schemmer, we are meeting the senior living facility lighting challenges along with other types of facilities every day. Lighting technology is constantly changing, and energy savings is a huge factor along with the numerous types and sizes of light sources. Schemmer is utilizing lighting styles that are conducive to residential-type lighting in a senior living facility. Incorporating these methods allows the lighting designer to be sensitive to the living environment, while meeting industry and regulatory requirements. Schemmer is committed to providing services that exceed your expectations. We would be interested in having a discussion with you or answer questions you may have on lighting options in your existing or future facility.