Sunflowers and Summer Light

It is the first of August and summer is in full bloom!  Sunflowers always make me smile and think of the beautiful days of summer.  Sunflowers reach for the sun, we could learn from them. 

I am making an effort to be outside and enjoying the sun and colorful skies as much as possible.  From my morning walks, spending time in the garden, bicycling and eating lunch and dinner outside.  I love sitting in my backyard and being entertained in the evening by the humming birds that love the flowers that I planted for them.  By being outside I am able to take advantage of the blue morning and early afternoon light as well as the yellow and reddening light in the evening.  I am sleeping better than I have in years and I contribute that to being more in sync with natural light and it’s dynamic, changing qualities throughout the day.  I have more energy throughout the day and am more productive. 

Just as the sunflower feeds my soul, I am experiencing refreshment from this wonderful world of light we are blessed to live in.

What If?

Just over a year ago this was the question that was the foundation for what would become Lumen Element.  What if light could enhance the lives of those living with Alzheimer's and dementia diseases?  What if light could give them and their families a little more time together?  What if light could decrease some of what are seen as difficult behaviors associate with those diseases?  What if light is an unmet need for these individuals?

These are also questions I began a presentation at the local Community College with last week.  What I have discovered in the past year is that light does have the ability to impact the lives of those living with Alzheimer's and dementia disease.  The research is being done and the results are amazing.  The right light at the right time of day has a positive impact on sleep, sundowners, agitation, caloric intake and more.  To see some of what I have researched check out the articles on my website:   Lumen Element  , I am adding more as they become available.

Another thing I have found is that light is important for me and for you for our health, productivity, sleep, learning and so much more. As with so many things the answering of one "What if?" leads to many more.

 

When Do You Think of Light

It is spring time in the Pacific Northwest, which means along with gray days filled with rain showers we have a few days thrown in with beautiful sunshine.  The kind of day that fills me with energy and optimism that Spring will be here.  I am surprised by the response that I sometimes receive when I mention I am a light researcher, some people think that this is a topic that is of interest in the winter.  That light is only of concern when we think of illumination or the the lack of it.  We are surrounded everyday by a wonderful sea of light, this light impacts our productivity, our wellness, our emotional outlook, our sleep, our appetite, how we learn and so much more.  I hope you don't wait until the dark days to consider the light that you are living in everyday.

Go Outdoors for Light

I have just read an article by Jack Carman, on “From Inside Out: Gardens Meet Unmet Needs”,  in this article he talks about the value of gardens to improve the quality of life for elders, in that it helps with appetite, sleep, Vitamin D absorption, balance, circadian rhythm and more health benefits.

 I appreciate this article as I love to garden, the sense of contentment and joy I receive from being out side and having my hands in the dirt and seeing plants grow is hard to replicate in any other experience.  I also enjoy the fresh air, the sound of birds and the warmth of the sun.  So this is no surprise to me that gardening can enhance and improve the lives of all of us as we age.

The majority of these benefits come from the experience of being outside and it is free.  Even on a cloudy day there is light that our eyes take in as well as is absorbed through any exposed skin.  These outdoor light levels are rarely available indoors in either a home or care community.

Quality of life is improved as exposure to the outdoors increases, unfortunately not everyone has access, for seniors who are dealing with mobility issues, loss of vision, or are living in a home in which accessibility to the outside is difficult.  Senios may live in a care community that doesn’t offer outside areas or the assistance to enjoy ones that are present.  These conditions can limit the ability to move inside and out.  This is something that must be considered and once the importance of being outside is recognized hopefully obstacles can be addressed.

Being outside for as little as 20 minutes a day can have a direct impact on some of the issues that can accompany the aging process, falls and broken bones, loss of appetite.  Having access to the natural light cycle can help with sleep, a staggering 80% of senior’s report problems with their sleep patterns.  Not only do gardens have the ability to meet unmet needs, sitting outside can help with some of these needs as well.