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Statistics from the National Eye Institute reveal that 6.5 million Americans over 65 have severe vision impairment. As we get older, our eyes also have decreased ability to adjust to sudden changes in lighting intensity. The average 60-year-old will need three times more light to see than the average 20-year-old.
For seniors who want to age in place, your home’s lighting should remain fairly consistent from room to room and throughout the day. In this article, we’ll discuss ways to achieve that consistent lighting.
The Best Lighting For Different Areas Of Your Home
Each area of your home should have the right type of light for the tasks you need to do.
Living Areas And Throughout Your Home
Senior Homes recommends you use uniform lighting in living areas from wall fixtures. Be sure to place TVs and computers in areas so that these screens don’t reflect the lighting in the room. Pay close attention to stairways and hallways to prevent falls and other accidents.
Different types of lights should be used in your home: floor, ceiling and table. Ambient lighting, which Lamps USA defines as, “general diffused background light, which fills the room and raises the overall light throughout the room,” is critical in this room. Read their post to see how best to light your living room.
Layer your light in the kitchen. This means using multiple light sources to minimize glare and shadows. For example, place overhead lights in key areas including above the sink and over your eating space. Learn more do’s and don’ts for lighting your kitchen to better age in place from Progress Lighting.
Since 80 percent of older adults experience a fall in the bathroom, lighting in this room is critical for safety. It’s also commonly the first room people use in the morning, so proper lighting can set the tone for your day.
Natural light in the morning helps set the circadian rhythms that regulate your body’s wake and sleep cycles, according to Proremodeler.com. Of course, you’ll also need overall bathroom lighting and vanity lighting as well as proper lighting for bath, shower, and/or water closet. Finally, night lighting requires a low wattage light so you don’t interrupt sleep patterns. Read their tips on how to choose the best options for safety and health in each of these areas.
- Ambient Lighting: You need to ensure that your lights do not give off too much glare. Use indirect and diffused lighting to avoid glare issues.
- Task Lighting: Install LED lights in areas where you need to do motor tasks such as cooking, reading, or sewing. For example, you can use strip LED lights under your kitchen cabinets.
Make sure you choose the best LED light bulbs for the various rooms and tasks in your home. You need to consider how bright the bulb is as well as color “temperature,” which is an indication of whether the light is warm (yellow) or cool (blue). According to Earthled.com, blue light waves produce serotonin, which keeps us awake, while warmer, yellow tones allow our brains to produce melatonin to help us sleep. Read their suggestions on which LED lights to use for each room in your home.
High-Tech Lighting Solutions
To achieve many of these goals, there are high-tech solutions that can help you automate lighting so you can age in place more easily. For example, you can use a smart light switch like this one from Wemo to control your lights via a smartphone app. That means no more stumbling around in the dark searching for a light switch.
Other options include a Clapper or motion sensor lights (indoor and outdoor) to help control lighting with ease.
Aging in place is doable with the right lighting solutions for each room of your home. Choose wisely for safety, convenience and better vision.