Light helps in dementia fight

 Light levels can be adjusted to aide sleeping patterns and improve the safety of patients. 

Light can be an effective treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s due to its ability to improve sleep patterns and a new system from Osram is helping to do just that.

In the normal course of events a doctor would prescribe medication to eradicate sleep issues, but given dementia sufferers tend to be over-medicated, health professionals often look for a more natural prescription to solve the problem. 

At the St. Augustinua memory centre in Neuss, Germany, Osram has installed a new human centric lighting and control system for the centre’s research project. Light colour can now be modified according to the resident's wishes and a daylight ceiling of Siteco Mira luminaires has also been installed to provide calming light scenes in the relaxation rooms. 

The aim of the project is to find the ‘right light at the right time’. One of the principle effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s on the body is the gradual shifting of the patient’s day to night rhythm as the brain begins to lose the ability to process the biological effect of light. This means that the brain is slower to recognise the need to sleep, which is usually encouraged by the onset of evening. As a result of this dementia patients require higher light intensities.

For older people it's highly important to clearly identify certain objects, and this is achieved by having a higher intensity of light.

Professor Dr. Ulrich Sprick, chief physician at St. Augustinua Hospital

Osram’s system, which mixes modern LED luminaires and control components with smart devices such as phone and tablet apps, aims to re-stabilise the day-night rhythm.

It does this by appearing to extend the daytime period, allowing patients to soak up enough light to prompt a good night’s sleep.

The higher light intensity levels also encourages safety in the home. 'For older people it's highly important to clearly identify certain objects, and this is achieved by having a higher intensity of light. In fact it's why we're hoping to reduce the number of falls thanks to the corresponding light intensity, or even avoid them completely,' commented Professor Dr. Ulrich Sprick, chief physician at St. Augustinua.

 

  • Lux is hosting a special Lighting for Health and Wellbeing conference in London on Thursday 22 September. It's free for all those associated with the management of buildings services. To view the details and register for a place, click on the conference logo here.

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