As we age, our need for enhanced lighting increases. Changes in eyesight include color distortion, an inability to focus as the lenses of the eye harden, and a sensitivity to glare. But it’s easy to address these changes with a little education and updated lighting.
Here are 5 lighting tips for updating your home lighting to help aging eyes.
Increase Ambient Light
With increased age, we need 2 to 5 times more ambient light. Ambient light is the overall light level of a room that allows you to move safely from point A to point B. A typical fixture for ambient light is a chandelier or flush mount ceiling light, which disperses light throughout the room. Check overhead lighting to see if the wattage of this fixture can be increased, for instance from 40W to 60W. Replacing old incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs allows you to increase the overall ambient light, while not increasing the electric bill. Remember never to exceed the recommended wattage of the fixture.
Add Shaded Lighting
Increasing the level of ambient light is a good start, but it must be well-shaded to prevent glare. Consider adding shaded wall lights along a hallway or in darker corners. A quick and easy way to add more light is a table or floor lamp – as long as the cord is tucked away so it won’t cause falls. Select an opaque shade that sheds diffuse light, avoiding glare.
Use Light Controls
It’s a good idea to install motion sensors that automatically turn on lights when someone enters a room. Look for motion-activated lighting or prominent wall plates with luminescent switches to make them easy to spot. If you’re installing new wall plates, remember to place them low enough to be managed by someone in a wheelchair. Motion-sensitive lighting is especially helpful at night when seniors are navigating from the bedroom to the bathroom and back.
Install LED Light Strips
LED tape lighting is an excellent tool for lighting stair treads, under bathroom counters or under kitchen cabinets. Stairways are one of the areas of the home where older folks are at risk for falling, so tread lighting focuses light and increases safety. Tape lighting in the kitchen provides focused light for cooking or eating, while LED strips in the bathroom – around the mirror, for instance – add extra light for grooming or shaving.
Don’t Forget the Outdoors
Remember to increase the light levels outdoors, too. All the same recommendations apply: increase ambient light, use shaded fixtures, increase wattage, add layers of light, and light stair treads. An added benefit of updated outdoor lighting is to discourage strangers from lurking in dark areas.
With these changes, you and your family are ready to age gracefully and safely.
Wolberg Electric Supply, staffed with professional lighting experts, can assist you at any of their 3 showrooms located in Albany, Saratoga Springs, or Kingston NY. Click here to learn more www.wolberg.com.