Elderly woman with a companion in the corridor of a healthcare center

Human-Centric lighting and elderly

Light is essential for the human body, as they are food and water. Receiving the right light has effects on people regardless of their age. However, light can enhance elderly people’s life quality to a greater extent. 

Lighting has an important role in avoiding problems due to visual issues of the elderly. For example, good lighting can improve daily activity, prevent falls, limit accidents, and increase mobility and autonomy. Lighting that can adapt to different visual needs makes it possible to improve the psychophysiological performance of the elderly.

Increasing the contrasts or illuminance leads to a better vision of the objects in the environment, improves the perception of the space, facilitates the movements inside, improves accuracy and speed in reading, and helps to discriminate colors [1]

Visual signals and the amount of lighting have a vital role to avoid falls in the elderly because a low level of light leads to a less stable posture.

The human immune system and well-being could be affected by SAD or sleep disturbances due to physiological and behavioral changes with age. According to Dr. Darío Acuña, melatonin is a hormone that regulates circadian rhythms, endocrine rhythms, and sleeping rhythms, and its principal function is cell protection, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. But melatonin production decreases from the age of 30 or 35, causing circadian rhythm disruptions, particularly sleep rhythms. In addition, some elderly people have difficulty walking, which can reduce their exposure to natural light, with an even larger effect on melatonin production, and thus on seniors’ body clock [2].

Circadian lighting has therefore been shown to be important in people’s wellbeing. Adapting light settings to simulate sunlight changes along the day can adjust circadian rhythms and influence the psychophysical wellness of individuals.

According to research by Maurizio Rossi, Case Study: An applied research for circadian lighting design, “The circadian purposes of artificial lighting and the fact that it can integrate the lack of natural light in interior spaces remain outside today’s lighting design criteria. In addition, the artificial lighting that is designed today is conceived in a static mode, while it should have dynamic features in a similar way to natural light.” [1]

KUMUX has developed its human-centric lighting system based on geolocation, date, and activity to mimic sunlight indoors. KUMUX provides a dynamic, customizable system to automatically adjust to the necessities of the elderly, improving their internal clock and daily activity performance.