LED lighting installation. (Photo courtesy of Lumenant LLC)
New air purification technology being installed in ALG Senior’s managed communities is a game-changer for the industry, according to a company executive.
The Hickory, NC-based senior living provider’s 150 independently managed communities are installing air purification and light therapy systems to “improve the resident experience” and provide peace of mind to residents and their families.
Vice President of Operations Edward Burton called it a significant investment with no upfront cost that is being accomplished through an existing monthly service agreement with Charleston, SC-based Lumenant. But the investment is already producing positive effects for both residents and staff, according to the provider.
In some ways, the air purification investment was a response to COVID-19, Burton said, but it was more about ALG Senior’s efforts to continually find unique ways to improve the resident experience.
“We want to make sure that, for our guests with compromised health, we do all we can to ease the burden of air quality concerns,” Burton said. “It’s an intrinsic savings not tied to a dollar amount, but certainly tied to better health for our employees and residents.”
One resident with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease reported better breathing quality, and another resident commented about improved allergy symptoms the same week the units were installed, he said.
The air purification system, which has been installed in at least 50 communities so far, features dielectric barrier discharge bi-polar ionization. Lumenant Director of Technology Rob Swiers said the technology is a way to clean and purify the air as well as fortify it against airborne contaminants.
“Essentially, bipolar ionization technology releases charged atoms that attach to and deactivate harmful substances like bateria, mold, allergens and viruses,” Swiers said.
ALG Senior said the air purification system helps prevent the spread of airborne illnesses, helps the HVAC system run more efficiently and improves air quality. Burton said the system is providing a $10 to $20 per resident monthly savings in air quality monitoring costs.
Lighting solutions adopted by ALG Senior include upgrades to new LED fixtures and the addition of circadian lighting that mimics natural day and night cycles. The technology has been shown to improve sleep cycles, reduce anxiety and agitated behavior, and increase engagement in activities, according to the company.
Lumenant said that the lighting upgrades provide an inexpensive solution to make spaces safer, with a “marked” reduction in falls in senior living communities. Modern lighting and smart controls also reduce energy use per fixture, providing cost efficiencies, the company said.
In clinical settings, light therapy technologies have reduced the use of psychotropic and sleep medications for people living with dementia. The circadian lighting providing the daylight effect has benefited ALG residents living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Burton added.
“Every light in the system is individually programmable to allow each room to wake or sleep at a different time, giving residents a choice in their daily routines,” Swiers said.