All Press Releases for July 10, 2009

Seniors Need More Natural Light

Vision, Mood, Safety, And Fixed Incomes Among Considerations

    FORT MILL, SC, July 10, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- According to the Center of Design For An Aging Society in Portland, Oregon, older people need more light (about 3 to 5 times more than younger people) for both vision and maintaining health.

Seniors know 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 light.

Many seniors don't get outside enough; another reason to bring more natural light in. 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 conclude 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 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 and be balanced through the use of windows, doors and skylights. According to Joe Patrick, senior product manager with VELUX America, studies conducted in Denmark show 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. And balanced natural light from multiple sources can help to reduce glare, a particularly disorienting nuisance for people of all ages with glaucoma or cataracts.

"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."

He points out that venting skylights, utilizing their natural chimney effect to exhaust rising, stale air containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other indoor pollutants to which older people are particularly sensitive, can contribute to a healthier indoor environment.

"And from an economic standpoint," Patrick says, "ENERGY STAR qualified venting skylights admit natural light from above and reduce energy costs while transforming living areas into bright, safer spaces. And they provide 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, "with a one-time purchase that pays benefits over time by reducing the need for artificial lighting and cutting energy costs."

In areas where traditional skylights aren't needed or won't fit, cost-effective, passive light to further reduce energy cost is available with a tubular model like the VELUX Sun Tunnel skylight. These less expensive units can be installed in a weekend morning by a handy DIYer and are particularly useful in hallways, closets, interior baths and other smaller, confined areas needing more natural light.

For free information on the benefits of natural light and skylight selection, or for free house plans incorporating skylights, call 1-800-283-2831 or visit For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit, and for independent agency information visit or For seniors housing information see

Image Caption - Researchers McFarland and Fisher report that to accommodate the adaptation of the aging eye, the amount of light required for visual acuity doubles for each 13 years after age 20.
VELUX America Information Series No. 22/08/F - Seniors Benefit From Natural Light - Apx. 525 Words

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