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Published on April 19, 2017

Light therapy brightening lives

Residents with dementia at Gundersen Tweeten Care Center in Spring Grove, Minn., are seeing blue for better care.

Gundersen Tweeten's new light therapy project is aimed at helping these residents make better transitions from day to night and improve their mood.

"Our main hallway lights are on a program that changes the level of blue lighting in our building depending on the time of day," explains Michelle Borreson, administrator at Gundersen Tweeten. "In the light spectrum, blue light helps our body create alertness and cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress and low blood-glucose concentration."

The energy-efficient LED lights mimic the outside environment with medium light levels in the morning, higher levels mid-day, medium levels in late afternoon, low levels in the evening and lights off at night.

The low-level lighting takes out the blue light and forces our bodies to make melatonin, a hormone that allows us to fall asleep. Prior to this program, Gundersen Tweeten used fluorescent lights, which contain very little blue lighting.

"This program promotes better sleep/wake cycles for our patients," says Michelle. "Research shows better sleep/wake cycles can lead to a reduction in falls and use of psychotropic medications, along with better mood for residents with dementia."

Michelle and her staff have noticed changes in several residents already. "Some residents in our dementia household appear to be more alert during the day," she says.

Gundersen Tweeten is believed to be one of the first care centers in the area to utilize light therapy for dementia patients. It's just one of the many innovative services they offer to meet the individual needs of their residents. They also utilize:

  • Music and memory programming
  • Essential oils
  • Senior fit program
  • Compassionate touch and more

For more information about services at Gundersen Tweeten Care Center, call (507) 498-3211.

In addition to our care center in Spring Grove, Gundersen Harmony Care Center also cares for residents in Harmony, Minn. and Gundersen Tri-County Care Center serves patients in Whitehall, Wis.