Recently, our friend Ric Johnson of Right at Home Technologies blogged about a new possible home technology market: Aging in place. It made us think about Shades and Home Health. You can read Ric’s post here.

Ric says this of the most frequent questions his company has received over the past year: “While the number one question this past year has been about natural lighting and its control, number two has been “Personal Emergency Response” systems and number three has been about monitoring the movement of dementia patients inside the home — and tracking that patient if they wander outside.”

Draper_Shades_Home_HealthMore people are deciding they prefer to remain as independent as possible, and design and build homes where they can age on their own terms. In his blog, Ric goes on to discuss how that includes a need for more natural light, especially with dementia patients. With the need for bigger windows and more light also comes the need for solar control.

Just as Ric points out, window treatments impact healthcare because they help manage daylight, taking advantage of the positives and helping mitigate the negatives associated with the current trend of using lots of windows for natural light. Having access to natural daylight and being able to see outside views have been shown to reduce patient stays in healthcare facilities, reduce needed pain medication, and improve mood and productivity, but unshaded windows can also introduce problems such as discomfort, glare and heat gain. Draper offers many solutions for handling these issues. For instance, our Bottom-Up FlexShade lets you enjoy natural light through the top of the window opening, while providing protection from glare—or even privacy, depending on the fabric—on the lower portion of the window.

One item we include in any discussion of shades and health is Draper’s ability to provide window shades with Phifer fabrics containing Microban. Microban is a type of antimicrobial protection infused into fabrics during the manufacturing process. It inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. These fabrics are popular in healthcare facilities, for obvious reasons, so they should also be considered when designing the perfect home for aging in place.

Speaking of fabrics, another consideration is view-through, as mentioned above. Darker fabrics allow better view-through to the outside, but they also allow more heat in. Lighter fabrics block the heat and glare better, but are harder to view through.  There are a couple of ways to tackle this. One is to use a duplex fabric, which has a lighter color on the outside, and a darker color on the inside, so you get the best of both worlds. You can also use Mermet fabrics with KOOLBLACK Technology. These are dark colored shade fabrics with the reflective properties of lighter colors!

Don’t forget that Draper motorized shades can be tied into home automation systems to retract or close at certain times of the day, or in response to changing weather conditions.

If you’re looking at this home health channel as a possible new market, consider how Draper shades can help you design the perfect living space for aging in place.

For more information on Draper’s shading solutions for the home, visit our Residential Technology website.

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