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Article Archive >> Senior Life

Natural Light for Sight...and Bones, and Mood, and Safety and Energy Savings

Natural Light for Sight...and Bones, and Mood, and Safety and Energy Savings

(ARA)- According to the Center of Design For An Aging Society in Portland, Ore., older people need more light (about 3 to 5 times more than younger people) for both vision and maintaining health.
Seniors are well aware that as they age their eye lenses thicken and their pupils shrink. This causes their eyes to adapt more slowly to changing light conditions and increases the need for more light, and not just for vision and safety.
Many seniors don't get outside enough, so there are even more reasons to consider bringing more natural light in. They need vitamin D for calcium to be absorbed by the body to strengthen teeth, bones and tissue to maintain a healthy skeleton throughout life. Two sources of vitamin D are diet and sunlight. In healthy human bodies, 80 percent of vitamin D is produced in the skin when it is exposed to natural light. A vitamin D deficiency can contribute to the brittle-bone disease osteoporosis, a major issue of aging, particularly for women.
And the benefits of having abundant daylight in our homes aren't just physical. Studies show that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), evidenced by emotional depression, a drop in physical energy, increased appetite, and need for more sleep, is directly linked to a lack of sufficient daylight.
Some researchers are concluding that light therapy may help to alleviate SAD symptoms faster than antidepressant drugs. In a review of clinical trials of light therapy, Dr. Daniel Kripke and his colleagues at the University of California, San Diego reported that light therapy benefits not only SAD patients but also people suffering from other forms of depression.
Sunlight can enter our dwellings through windows, doors and skylights. According to Joe Patrick, product manager with VELUX America, skylights admit 30 percent more light than vertical windows in dormers, and provide the drama of a sky view that can't be achieved with vertical windows. "Skylights also offer much more privacy than vertical windows without taking up valuable wall space that can be used for decorating or storage," Patrick says, "a real benefit as seniors downsize living spaces."
"And from an economic standpoint," Patrick points out, "venting skylights admit light from above, which is free and reduces energy costs, while transforming living areas into bright, safer spaces and providing a dose of the medicine that daylight and fresh air offer," he says. "It's also a way to stretch fixed-income dollars," Patrick says, "by making a one-time purchase that pays benefits over time by maximizing the ability to see, helping to maintain health, and holding down energy costs."
For more information on the benefits of natural light and skylight selection call (800) 283-2831 or visit www.veluxusa.com. For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit www.energystar.gov, and for independent agency information visit www.nfrc.org or www.efficientwindows.org.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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