Inevitably as the years go by, we must adjust for a new population of aging adults. Now more than ever, senior care is focused on the individual experience and creating spaces where the wisest generation can continue to live life as they choose. Humana’s Director of Innovation, Busy Burr, recently presented a lecture on the importance of remembering that our loved ones, electing to live in Senior Living communities, are the same vibrant, funny, smart, and hardworking people they always were, the exception being their bodies have aged and they now have different needs. One of the most important aspects of designing for this population is acknowledging the experiences that make them unique. This mentality leads us to additional attention to detail in the way we design.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.7 million Americans were afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in 2018. It is currently the most common mental disorder diagnosed in elderly Americans. Memory care is an important aspect in any senior living environment. Every day more facilities are starting to focus on how to improve design. One holistic approach involves “tunable” LED lighting. This lighting concept uses color-adjustable lights to align with a resident’s circadian system. Traditional memory care design relies heavily on LED and fluorescent lighting of one-color temperature for a full day, independent of natural lighting and the routines by which residents have lived their entire lives. Challenges of traditional design include the side effects that accompany Alzheimer’s like paranoia, depression, irritability, and complacency.

Before the ingenuity of the man-made light, our bodies relied on nature to tell us when it was time to rest and when we should be active. Modern lighting design has the potential to stabilize the hormonal cycles that tend to fall out of sync as we age. The technological advancements in programmable lighting, allows the modern designer to ‘mirror’ the natural light of the day. Cool light colors are used in the morning and with warmer light supplementing as the day grows long. This advancement in lighting techniques can be used to fight poor sleep cycles and the side effects of memory loss.

Luckett & Farley is continuously seeking innovations to better support human nature through the use of design and technology. Thoughtfully incorporating tunable lighting in our designs is an example of how our focus on small details can make a big impact on the emotional and physical wellbeing for the residents of Senior Living communities.

If you would like more information on our portfolio within Senior Living communities, please reach out to Boz Lindgren at blindgren@luckett-farley.com.

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