Dementia enlightened?! A systematic literature review of the influence of indoor environmental light on the health of older persons with dementia in long-term care facilities

I. Goudriaan*, L. C. van Boekel, M. E. A. Verbiest, J. van Hoof, K. G. Luijkx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Light therapy for older persons with dementia is often administered with light boxes, even though indoor ambient light may more comfortably support the diverse lighting needs of this population. Our objective is to investigate the influence of indoor daylight and lighting on the health of older adults with dementia living in long-term care facilities. A systematic literature search was performed within PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science and Scopus databases. The included articles (n=37) were published from 1991 to 2020. These articles researched the influence of existing and changed indoor light conditions on health and resulted in seven categories of health outcomes. Although no conclusive evidence was found to support the ability of indoor light to decrease challenging behaviors or improve circadian rhythms, findings of two studies indicate that exposure to (very) cool light of moderate intensity diminished agitation. Promising effects of indoor light were to reduce depressive symptoms and facilitate spatial orientation. Furthermore, there were indications that indoor light improved one’s quality of life. Despite interventions with dynamic lighting having yielded little evidence of its efficacy, its potential has been insufficiently researched among this study population. This review provides a clear and comprehensive description of the impact of diverse indoor light conditions on the health of older adults with dementia living in long-term care facilities. Variation was seen in terms of research methods, (the description of) light conditions, and participants’ characteristics (types and severity of dementia), thus confounding the reliability of the findings. The authors recommend further research to corroborate the beneficial effects of indoor light on depression and to clarify its role in supporting everyday activities of this population. An implication for practice in long-term care facilities is raising the awareness of the increased lighting needs of aged residents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-937
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
Volume16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Dementia/therapy
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care/organization & administration
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes/organization & administration
  • Phototherapy/statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities/organization & administration
  • Sunlight

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