f BetterLighting - Meet Roberts

Meet Robert

Meet Robert, a 70-year-old retiree who enjoys going for walks, riding his bike and reading his paper.

Morning

After breakfast, Robert decides to try a newly opened supermarket for his groceries. He immediately likes the new place, as its bright white lighting makes it easier for him to read labels and find what he’s looking for.

The human eye contains a special sensor to detect the blue component of light, which is what triggers our circadian rhythm.

As we grow older, the lenses of our eyes deteriorate, turn yellowish and filter out the important blue component of light. This is why older people require more bright, blue-rich white light to activate their circadian system. In fact, a 70-year-old person needs two times the amount of light than a 30-year-old person.

Lunchtime

After lunch, Robert plans to go for a bike ride. But last time he was out, the bike’s gears weren’t switching properly. To fix it, he takes the bike into his garage, which is lit with a bright white light. To be able to see the gears even better, he also turns on the bright white light that hangs above his workbench.

As we grow older, the lenses of our eyes deteriorate, turn yellowish and filter out the important blue component of light. This is why older people require more bright, blue-rich white light to activate their circadian system. In fact, a 70-year-old person needs two times the amount of light than a 30-year-old person.

Afternoon

His bike fixed, Robert heads off to visit his uncle Charles at the nursing home. Charles says he feels good and, thanks to the facility’s modernised lighting, happily reports that he is sleeping better and falling less.

Throughout the entire nursing home, the lights shine bright during the day, and Robert notices that everyone seems pleased with their increased agility. Charles says that two hours before going to sleep, all the lights are dimmed and tuned to a warmer colour, so everyone gets a better sleep, and when they are sleeping all lights are off. Even the night shift nurse is happy, as she now has fewer patients to care for during the night.

The positive effects of good lighting are essential to the comfort and well-being of patients in nursing homes.

Light particularly affects the sleep of elderly people. Good lighting decreases the need for short naps during the day, meaning older people feel less stressed and more active.

Evening

Back at home, Robert likes to spend the early evening reading the newspaper in his lounge chair near the window as he likes to see from time to time the trees and the activity in the exterior. To create a warm, relaxing atmosphere, he switches on a reading light and settles in.

Because there isn’t always daylight when we need it, sometimes we must mimic it using electric lighting. With the right amount, timing, direction and spectral quality, electric light can have a similar effect on our circadian rhythm as natural light.