Seniors represent the fastest-growing segment of the population with over 40 million Americans over 65 (U.S. Census Bureau, The Older Population. 2010), with over 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day. The over-40 population represents approximately 89 million people and of those, 63% have vision problems (National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health 2010).

Published by the Illuminating Engineering Society, Lighting and the Visual Environment for Seniors and the Low-Vision Population (RP-28-16) is intended to increase designers’ understanding of age-related vision loss and the importance of their design decisions that could impact the safety and independence of this growing sector of the population.

In the 2007 edition, applications were primarily directed at housing and senior care facilities, but in the 2016 edition, coverage has been expanded to new areas of interest including offices, hospitality, healthcare, commercial and places of assembly. RP-28-16 has also been revised to serve a wider range of users, including individuals, design professionals, owners/managers of commercial buildings, code and regulatory agencies and legislative bodies.

It is well understood that healthcare costs will increase as our elderly population ages. As the United States braces for this huge economic impact, appropriate lighting and a supportive visual environment should be considered as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of falls, sleep disorders and long-term care, and therefore given a top priority by all code officials, governmental agencies and the tax-paying public.

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