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The Impact of Architectural Design on Dementia

Exposure to natural light can be therapeutic, even healing. It is not a new concept that exposure to daylight is good for the soul, but it is also essential for our health. Studies have shown that workers in offices with daylight exposure are more productive and more content. On the flipside, research has also shown that people who work the night shift are more likely to have Type 2 diabetes or be obese. One study found that inadequate natural light in homes contributes to an increased risk of depression and falls.  New research from USC Assistant Professor Kyle Konis reinforces the benefits of architectural design to maximize natural light for aging adults with a variety of health issues. Konis’ study looked at approximately 80 residents of dementia communities in California and found that those who had early morning exposure to natural light had improved mood, reduced depression and fewer psychoactive symptoms. Memory loss is just one of the devastating challenges facing senior adults living with dementia. Depression, agitation and difficulty sleeping are common with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Inadequate exposure to daylight only exacerbates these symptoms, while pharmaceutical drugs can affect the quality of a person’s life.  Could a change in environment make a difference, slowing cognitive delay and mitigating associated behavioral issues? Although more research on the impact of daylighting on dementia is needed, what we do know is that exposure to daylight may reduce depression for residents of memory care facilities. At The Cottages, we believe exposure to natural daylight is essential for physical, emotional and mental health. That’s why each of The Cottages communities...