Enhanced Lighting Provides Smart and Simple Aging-in-Place Solutions

We are pleased to present another article from author and caregiving authority June Duncan.  Difficulties with vision is a common problem for aging adults.  In this article you will learn some interesting and straight forward ways that improved lighting can make your home environment safer and more pleasing.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

If you are like many people, you would like to remain in your home as you grow older. Making accommodations for aging eyes can go a long way toward keeping you safe and comfortable. Here are some of the ways to use enhanced lighting for seniors who wish to age in place.

Fading Eyesight Is Normal

Aging and vision loss go hand-in-hand. According to some studies, by the time most people enter their fourth decade, there is a noticeable decline in vision. You might need reading glasses, have difficulty distinguishing colors, or you might notice glare more than you used to. Seniors are also more inclined to have other vision-related issues, such as floaters, dry eyes, or tearing. By making adjustments in the quality of in-home lighting, you can increase safety, efficiency, and comfort; ensure more independence; and decrease risk for falls.

Increase Your Options

One of the best ways to help you stay more comfortable in your home as vision issues arise is by creating flexibility in your rooms. As Progress Lighting points out, by layering your lights, you can adjust your environment to your task. For instance, ambient lighting combined with task lighting allows you to navigate through a room comfortably, then perform a specific chore in brighter light. Keep in mind that it’s important to keep your electrical fixtures and wiring well-maintained, and it’s best to hire a professional to address issues or to install new fixtures.

Rooms and Ideas

Different rooms are often most comfortable with different kinds of lighting. Here are some suggestions for matching fixtures with particular spaces:

Kitchen. A ceiling fixture with a dimmer switch allows you to use the room comfortably for gatherings and meals, and under-cabinet task lighting helps with meal preparation. Also, consider overhead track lighting that can brighten specific work areas.

Bathroom. Recessed lighting brightens small or dim areas, and track lighting in strips provides optimal, even brightness over mirrors. Opt for frosted shades to soften the glow. All lights should be rated for damp areas.

Bedrooms. Lamps on nightstands or wall-mounted with arms allow for reading in bed, and ambient lighting helps with personal tasks such as dressing and hygiene. Consider nightlights for safe maneuvering in the dark.

Living room. A combination of ambient, accent, and task lighting is usually appropriate in a living room, with the task lighting in areas where people lounge for reading, playing games, doing homework, or other pursuits.

Throughout the home. There are some lighting recommendations which can be applied throughout your home. Make sure there is ample ambient light, and avoid bare bulbs since they can cause glare. Steer clear of dramatic contrasts between spaces, since going from a very bright area to a very dark space can be hazardous. Choose contrasting colors to help with shape perception. Take advantage of sunlight as much as possible by eliminating window coverings wherever you can.

Bulbs Matter

In addition to choosing the right fixtures, you should also put some thought into the selection of your light bulbs, as temperature and brightness can affect your performance and comfort during certain tasks and activities. As an example, warm, dim lighting is relaxing and appropriate for your bedroom, while in a workspace like your kitchen or office, brighter, cooler bulbs can improve energy levels. Lowes points out that you can also employ technology for enhancing your home’s lighting, such as with smart bulbs. You can use your phone to make alterations in the lighting of your rooms, such as brightness and bulb color.

Waning eyesight can be challenging, but a few smart, simple adjustments in lighting can help seniors stay safe in their homes. Make a careful assessment of where improvements could be made. Well-chosen bulbs and fixtures can make a difference in staying safe and aging in place.

June Duncan, is the author of The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.