Aged Care Lighting: Best Practice

Australia has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, and our aging demographic continues to grow. 

In 2019, 16% of our population, or roughly four million Australians where 65 and over. 

Our current life expectancy, 81 for males and 85 females, increases by almost a year every four years. 

As members of the Architecture industry, it is essential that we design environments that are suitable for this part of our community.

Aged care living facilities contain areas that span three varying roles; residential, common or socialisation areas and administration. Each location will have slightly different design needs. However, there are several overarching best practices for lighting in an aged care facility.

Aged care lighting | Best practice:

  1. Follow human-centric lighting practices to ensure the right colour temperatures and lighting levels throughout the day. Using dimmable, tuneable LED luminaires is an excellent way to achieve this.
  2. Use warm Amber coloured light for guide lights at night.
  3. Reduce glare wherever possible by using low UGR luminaries.
  4. Reduce reflections by combining the right interior materials with correct lighting (i.e. be especially careful of floor finishes).
  5. Create uniform, brighter than average lighting to eliminate shadows with consideration to illuminating vertical surfaces.
  6. Use direct and indirect light sources to makes spaces seem larger and brighter.
  7. Ensure task lighting is directional and has a higher lumen output. Task lighting refers to activities such a reading, meal preparation, or care examinations.
  8. Ensure that both the resident and the care staff can independently control the lighting when required.

These best practices result in the following benefits:

  • Less need for intensive overnight care due to the return of normalised sleep/wake cycles
  • Less risk of medication or care errors
  • Healthier residents - as sleep/wake cycles improve, hormone levels balance out.
  • Happier residents - light exposure reduces depression and anxiety.
  • Happier staff - well-designed workspace lighting results in positive, focused, and motivated staff
  • A better quality of life for all individuals who reside or interact within the facility

For further information or assistance in selecting luminaires for an aged care facility, feel free to contact our friendly and knowledgeable team.