Failing our elderly

The lighting in many extra care housing schemes does not comply with specialist guidance, according to research released by Thomas Pocklington Trust

The study, Extra care housing for people with sight loss: Lighting and Design, found only one – designed specifically for people with low vision – out of the 11 buildings surveyed complied with specialist design guidance.

The design of extra care housing in relation to the needs of people with sight loss was examined. It confirmed that sight-loss-specific design guidance has a huge impact on quality of life, if implemented correctly. Yet, the research found more extra care schemes do not follow the advice or implement any measures to aid sight.

Nine lounges were lit to only half the recommended level, only one scheme met lighting recommendations for bedrooms and only one met them for halls and entrances.

Only the scheme designed for people with sight loss made extensive use of contrast – recommended to help with visual tasks and way finding. This scheme scored more than 70 per cent success in this area, while all the others scored between 18 and 36 per cent.

In a bid to reverse this poor showing, the sight loss charity today launched a new tool, Evolve-for vision, which tests how well housing performs for older people with sight loss and highlights which areas can be improved. The tool was developed as part of new research at the University of Sheffield.

The tool provides a room by room checklist of almost 400 design features relevant to quality of life for older people with sigh loss.

The Evolve-fo vision tool is available for download here.

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