Monthly Archives: November 2014

Lighting, Vision, and Aging in Place: The Impact of Living with Low Vision in Independent Living Facilities

Jordan Sawyer, Migette L. Kaup*, Kansas State University

Full manuscript:

Abstract: Due to the large influx of older adults choosing to live independently in retirement communities (Hegde & Rhodes, 2010), it is increasingly important that interior designers understand the physical and environmental challenges that these adults face. Visual impairments such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma make it difficult for adults with low vision to navigate the built environment (York, 2012). Improved quality of lighting in a space has the ability to help these users perform daily activities and, therefore, remain independent (Weinstein, 2011). Although independent living facilities have become an attractive housing option for many of these adults, several studies have concluded that the lighting levels in such residences are not adequate to meet the needs of low vision users (Bakker, Iofel & Lachs, 2004; Hegde & Rhodes, 2010; Lewis & Torrington, 2013). By analyzing recent case studies as well as conducting quantitative and qualitative research of lighting conditions in a local retirement community, conclusions were drawn as to what types and levels of lighting were common in these facilities and how these lighting schemes affected individuals with low vision. There were two components to the data collection: assess­ment of light levels through light meter readings and structured interviews with residents. Suggestions were made for current and future improvements of lighting design in independent living facilities based upon findings from the study.

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