6 Lighting Tips for Aging in Place

Jeff Peterson
Jeff Peterson
Published on March 22, 2019

Authored by: Hazel Bridges

As we age, a home that we have lived comfortably in for many years can become a risky place. In order to age in place safely, there are many home modifications that the average house will need to undergo. Low lighting, in particular, is a recipe for disaster. It can obscure objects in your way and confuse the eye so that, before you know it, you have had a nasty fall and need to be rushed to the doctor. One of the best ways to prevent falls is to ensure that the lighting throughout your house is suited to your evolving needs as a senior citizen.

1.Understand the Aging Eye

Before you start changing bulbs, it may be useful for you to understand why exactly your lighting needs are changing. As your eyes age, the pupil becomes smaller and less responsive to changes in light, while the lens of your eye becomes less flexible and turns yellowish, affecting your perception of color. These effects can easily be countered with the right choice of light.

2. Know Your Lightbulbs

When it comes to home lighting, most of us feel much more comfortable picking out the best fixtures to match our decor than we do selecting light bulbs. Choosing and buying light bulbs can feel complicated and technical, but it’s actually quite straightforward once you know the terminology. This guide by Lowe’s breaks it all down nicely.

3. Use Different Lighting for Different Rooms

You do different things in each room of the house, which means that you should be using different lighting solutions depending on the situation. For instance, kitchen lighting should be task-oriented with easy-to-clean fixtures, while vanity lights in the bathroom should be concentrated around a mirror to avoid harsh overhead lighting.

4. Keep It Consistent

According to HomeAdvisor, seniors have more difficulty adjusting to changes in light intensity, meaning that sudden bursts of bright electric night can be uncomfortable or temporarily blinding. Your lighting should be more or less consistent throughout the day, especially in high-traffic areas of your home, such as hallways and stairs.

5. Look Into High-Tech Options

Smart tech is the future, and seniors are set to be one of the main groups to benefit from this revolution. There is a wide variety of smart gadgets that can make an older adult’s life easier, but smart lighting solutions are particularly popular and useful innovation. These can be easily adjustable for different intensities and ambiances, seamlessly monitored through an app, and voice or motion-activated so you never have to fumble for a light switch again.

6. Adjust Lighting for Low Vision

If you are visually impaired, there are a few specific considerations you need to look at in addition to the above. You will probably need more task lighting, and your lighting sources should be adjustable wherever possible. A bright light bulb can only get you so far, and fixtures that allow you to bring the light source to your focus rather than the opposite are much more practical. For example, a flexible reading light that you can move closer as needed is much preferable to a standard bedside lamp. Lighting should be one of the first home improvements you tackle when making your house safe for aging in place. You will be amazed at the difference that well thought-out lighting can make to your life. It doesn’t just reduce the chances of you getting injured — by putting you in control of how much light you receive at any given time of the day, good lighting makes you feel more comfortable in your own home and more capable of pursuing the activities that make you happy, whether it be reading, crafting, or making a lovely meal for your family.

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