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Designing for your future self – and surprising facts about my favourite birds

“We all become disabled at some point in our lives”.

A quote from the brilliant Kat Holmes, author of Mismatch- an excellent read Mismatch (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life): How Inclusion Shapes Design Paperback


How can light help?

  1. Make the most of windows and views of the sky
  2. That means investing in shading and blinds too
  3. Offer  separate controls for ambient and task lighting 
  4. Go for visible buttons not another ‘app’
  5. Check for glare for  wheelchair and other unusual seating positions- the standards are based on a ‘standard’ person – if you know any of those!

Design a space you want to live in yourself- we’re all going there someday!

Time to take care of the carers too. 

Around 13% of front line nursing staff work shifts in the UK (Care sector has the highest number of night workers, report finds)

Around 76% of informal care-givers say they struggle with sleep (How Adult Caregiving Impacts Sleep: a Systematic Review)

Arne Lowdon’s paper offers an excellent balanced perspective on how lighting for the night shift can help (Considerations on how to light the night-shift)

To paraphrase :

  1. Measure light based on biological effectiveness rather than visual brightness. 
  2. Account for shift patterns and timing in light exposure plans – including darkness at home
  3. Offer flexibility and control

Join me on the Technology stage Senior Care Show on 30th June to talk more about how the right light at the right time can help our carers get the rest they deserve. It’s free and should be a great discussion 


Night owls eat faster – it’s your parent’s fault!

Morning types spend longer over lunch – while evening types eat faster and tend to have a poorer diet too. Eating speed, just like your chronotype, is at least partly genetic (How Fast Do “Owls” and “Larks” Eat?) but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it – this excellent blog, Can You Change Your Circadian Rhythm?, suggests five simple tips to manage your natural sleep-wake preference. It doesn’t have any tips for chewing your food though!

  1. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day – including weekends
  2. Bright light – daylight is best – and boost with artificial lights in the winter months
  3. Eat earlier and avoid late night snacks
  4. Get plenty of exercise
  5. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol, especially later in the day


Swallows on the wing

Hunting swallows are an awe-inspiring sight in the UK at this time of year. I’ve always wondered how they could catch insects on the fly – and researching this post was an excuse to find out! 

  1. Swallows have two fovea with incredibly high density photoreceptor cells- like bifocal glasses.  That allows them to perform their aerial acrobatics without bumping into each other.
  2. Swallows see a range of almost 180 degrees – so they can spot prey, predators, or obstacles without needing to turn their heads.
  3. Swallows move their eyes with incredible speed – they see a lightbulb like a strobe light- so they can catch a fly on the fly
  4. Swallows perceive ultraviolet (UV) light so they can spot subtle patterns and locate food sources and identify potential mates based on UV markings.
  5. Swallows can see polarised light – so they use subtle shifts in patterns produced by the sun to navigate over long distances, even when it’s overcast. 

Here’s an article about Swallows you might enjoy – Swallows on the Hunt


Enjoy this spring sunshine!

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