Danish nursing home developing personalized dementia lighting

June 7, 2022
In partnership with Chromaviso and four other lighting and technology firms, an E.U.-funded initiative will investigate how to individually tailor circadian systems.

The truism “everyone is different” might well apply to lighting’s effect on individuals. Just like people have their own reaction to, say, caffeine, it is possible the exact circadian and health impact of light varies from one person to the next.

With that in mind, the Bauneparken nursing home in Denmark is working with five European lighting and technology firms to study individual reactions to light in 16 rooms occupied by dementia residents, and to tailor the lighting in each room. The care home operator will apply its findings and systems to staff as well as residents.

The PerCiLight (Personalized and Circadian active dynamic Lighting) project launched last month and will run for two and a half years, with lighting expected to be operating by early 2023. The E.U.’s Active Assisted Living Programme Ageing Well in the Digital World is providing about two-thirds of the €1.2 million budget.

“We will develop a more personal and flexible circadian lighting,” the PerCiLight consortium states. “PerCiLight will be a digital and integrative solution with the aim to improve health, sleep, and wellbeing among the individual elderly with dementia and their caretakers. PerCiLight will ensure a homely atmosphere and a user-friendly interface.”

Circadian lighting is the practice of tuning lights to mimic the spectral content and intensity of the sun over the course of a day with the objective of conforming to human circadian rhythms and thus fostering health and wellbeing.

Bauneparken, about 25 miles northwest of Copenhagen in Skævinge, is experienced at it. The nursing home has been using circadian systems in common areas from Aarhus, Denmark–based Chromaviso for about a year.

Chromaviso, itself well-heeled in circadian lighting including in dementia wards, is the coordinating partner in PerCiLight, providing what the consortium described as “software and hardware,” along with two Polish companies, Antologic and Grinn, both of Wroclaw. They will develop data-based IoT systems that help monitor conditions and reactions.

Danish firm Schmelling*, based in Hellerup, will play the role of lead lighting designer, joined by lightsphere of Zurich, Switzerland.

Bauneparken has 40 rooms in total. Manager Gitte Ellekilde Andersen said she has been encouraged by the results of Chromaviso’s circadian lighting in hallways and common areas, and is hoping for similar positive results in the 16 rooms.

We are very happy with our circadian lighting,” she said. “It supports a natural circadian rhythm, with less activity during the night and more energy during the day.”

Citing examples of a depression sufferer who now emerges more from her room into the shared areas, and of improved sleep by the night staff, Andersen expressed her expectations for the new system as “high.”

“By making the lighting more personal and installing it in the apartments where the elderly sleep and wake up, we hope to see a positive effect on their sleep, mood, health, and behavior,” she said.

The full name of the E.U. group helping to fund the project is typically shortened to AAL — Ageing Well in the Digital World.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.