The Re-emergence of the "Glass Conservatory": Improved Indoor Lighting for Healthy Aging

By Julie Whitmore.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 17, 2014 $US5.00

The growth in the population of adults over the age of 65 is projected to double over the next thirty years. Additionally, the trend towards increasing dependence on community-provided support for the elderly must compel us to initiate new ways to support healthy aging. Circadian (twenty-four hour) rhythm disturbances have been associated with symptoms of cognitive decline in the elderly including mood, behavioral, and sleep disturbances (Riemersma-van der Lek et al. 2008). There is prolific research indicating the impact of light on the immune system. Advances in the field of neuroscience have documented cells in the eye that are sensitive to blue-shifted white light, and which through the suppression of the hormone melatonin are now understood to be critical in resetting circadian systems in the body. This article presents a theoretical approach for combining the fields of physiology and psychology to create an adaptive lighting system for a “common room” that supports health for the segment of the population fifty years and older.

Keywords: Daylight, Melatonin, Healthy Aging, Mood, Circadian Rhythm, Dynamic Lighting, Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), Sympathetic Nervous System, Parasympathetic Nervous System, Glass Conservatory

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 3, Issue 3, July 2014, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 17, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 469.629KB)).

Prof. Julie Whitmore

Assistant Professor Interior Design, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Arts and Science, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, USA